I’ve always wished I were more like my sister.

I envy how easily she strikes up a conversation with a perfect stranger.

How quickly she picks up new skills.

How confidently she deals with any new situation she finds herself in.

I totally missed out on the confidence gene. I’m shy, awkward and afraid to take risks in case I fail and make a fool of myself.

It’s not that I don’t know what to do. I do. But, my Inner Mean Girl holds me back.

She loves to point out all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. She says they’re proof I’ll never do anything right.

She says that because she’s scared. Because when you try something new, there’s no way of knowing how it’ll turn out. You could miserably fail. You could succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

You can do both. You’ll likely do both. Failing miserably is how you get to extraordinary success.

Let me explain.

Why Competence Is Key To Self-Confidence

Your Inner Mean Girl ties your self-confidence to your self-worth. If you can’t do something well or learn a new skill quickly, she’ll start screaming you’re worthless.

But self-confidence and self-worth are two different things.

Self-worth is your sense of value as a person. It’s unchangeable. Whether you believe it or not, you are as worthy and valuable as everyone else. Your worth doesn’t depend on what you do or how well you do it. It’s something you’ve always had and always will. But if you don’t believe it, you’ll screw up your life big time.

Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgements. Self-confidence is changeable. You can feel super self-confident when you ride a bike and have 0 self-confidence when you’re learning how to snowboard. You’re a pro at the first by now, but you’ve never done the latter. It’s as scary as hell.

But, do you remember what it was like when you first learnt how to ride your bike?

The excitement of going on your first bike ride was tinged with the fear of falling down and hurt yourself.

You did fall down. Even though your parents were there, gently guiding you and helping you along the way, you fell down again and again. You bruised your knees. Cried out in pain. And then got back up and on the saddle again.

Little by little, you were able to ride longer distances without falling. You learned to go faster without losing your balance.

As you mastered your bike, your confidence grew. Now you get on the bike knowing you can go wherever you want, with no fear of falling down.

Self-confidence is tied to competence. The more competent you are in a particular area, the more confident you’ll feel in that area.

How To Become Self-Confident

To become self-confident, you MUST build competence.

To build competence, you must practice. When you practice, you make mistakes. You fail. And then do it all over again and again and again until you master it.

There are no shortcuts.

But, there are a few tricks you can use to make the process easier and more fun:

1. Accept You’re A Beginner

I remember when I first started learning English. I’d buy a few magazines in English and tried to read them. I’d get a word of it here and there but most of it made no sense.

It was so frustrating! I knew girls younger than me who could speak (and read) perfect English. Why couldn’t I?

My Inner Mean Girl tried to make me feel like I was flawed. But, I wasn’t. Just like those girls weren’t superheroines.

They had been learning English for years while I was just starting out. Of course they could read the whole thing while I was struggling to comprehend even a short article.

I had created an impossible expectation that I should master an entire language in a few weeks and then beat myself up for not fulfilling it.

I needed to accept I was a beginner and start from the bottom. Learn my ABC and build from there.

Don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20. Live out your story and you'll get there.

Related: 5 Ways To Deal With Comparisonitis

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2. Break It Down

Learning a new language (or any other skill for that matter) is overwhelming. There’s so much to learn, you feel like you’ll never get there.

The trick is not to let overwhelm turn into paralysis. The easiest way is to break down your goal into smaller milestones.

For example, when I was trying to learn English, I would focus first on learning common colloquial expressions, then I moved onto pronouns and adjectives and then the present tense.

As I mastered a new group of words or a grammatical rule, the language started to come alive in my brain.

Don't focus on the big picture. Break it down into smaller steps and climb your way up one step at a time.

3. Look Back

Sometimes it feels like all your hard work is leading nowhere. You practice over and over but you’re not making any progress.

Look back. Look at the milestones you've reached. How much you've accomplished so far. You're more ahead than you think.

This is just another block in the road. You’ll overcome it, just like you’ve overcome so much already.

If you need some encouragement, keep a list of all the milestones you’ve already reached. Hang it somewhere you’ll see it often. Look at it when you feel like giving up.

Don’t give up. You’re almost there, gorgeous. I believe in you.

Over to you, now. What are your tips and tricks to gain self-confidence? Share them in the comments below.

With love,

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