Do you want to be a leader? Do you want to be successful in your career? Successful leaders in business, in politics, or in any endeavor have one thing in common: They are all confident in themselves. If you have a realistic understanding of what you can and can’t do, you’ve got one of the keys to your success.

But when we speak of self-confidence, we’re really speaking of challenging ourselves and pushing the boundaries. After all, most of us, barring any physical problems, are confident that we can walk, eat, breathe, etc. Athletes are confident that they can run, catch, and throw. So when we talk about developing self-confidence, what we’re really talking about is becoming reasonably certain that we can handle something that pushes beyond our comfort zones.

Activities that are commonly understood to be challenging and which self-confident people might best accomplish include:

  • Speaking in public
  • Starting a new business
  • Managing people or businesses
  • Beginning a new career

Setting Goals and Practicing Will Help You Develop Self-Confidence

Setting goals is important to developing confidence. Define for yourself something you want to accomplish—something that is challenging and will push your abilities, but something that is still reasonably possible for you. Then work at it until you’ve completed the goal. What you gain from this is experience. When you have enough experience doing something, then you become confident that you can do it.

Tying shoes is an example. Most children are challenged when they first begin learning to tie their shoes. Many are frustrated. Lots of kids will exclaim, “I can’t do it!” But when they keep at it, often with the encouragement of their parents, they eventually figure it out. First, they tie somewhat sloppy bows and sometimes a knot results, but over time they get better and better at it. Long before the child has become an adult, they’ve stopped thinking about the process of tying their shoes—they simply do it. And they do it without thinking about it. If they were asked, they would surely acknowledge that they feel confident about their shoe-tying abilities.

It’s the same for public speaking, interviewing, managing, and anything else that is a repeated activity—at first it’s challenging, then it’s accomplished (but perhaps not perfectly), and eventually it becomes second nature.

Brian Mitchell was a National Football League star (Washington Redskins 1990-1999, Philadelphia Eagles 2000-2002, and New York Giants 2003) for 14 years. He developed a successful post-NFL career as a television and radio host. How did he do it? He set goals and worked to accomplish them. If you are part of a group that would benefit from Mitchell’s inspirational presentation about the values of reputation, self-confidence, and more, contact him at 703.434.0734.

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