Developing self confidence is a process of self-discovery. No one is born with it. Our life experiences and messages play a key role in building self confidence and in maintaining it. If a lack of confidence is holding you back, in your career, relationships, and ability to get ahead, this article offers psychologically proven ways to build or restore it. Follow these ten tips for immediately increasing your self-confidence.

1.Act confidently and you will feel more confident. This is a simple concept. Envision yourself as you would like to be rather than who you think you are.

2.Show determination in your body language and the non-verbal clues that you send to others. Studies show that mugging victims often send unconscious messages to potential perpetrators because they carry themselves in a timid manner. Timidity can convey the message: “I am weak and vulnerable.” When walking, remember to stand tall, walk briskly, and hold your shoulders back. You’ll look self-confident—and feel that way!

3.Mentally rehearse situations in advance and how you will handle yourself. This technique has been used by sales professionals for decades. For example, if your aim is to persuade someone, practice your approach, rehearse your opening, and how you will convey solid facts to support your request. It is also important to anticipate questions or possible objections. Practice how you will respond not only to help make the request logically, but with confidence.

4.Never depend solely on opinions of others in making decisions. Yes, their input can help broaden your perspective, but trust your intuition and “gut feelings.” As you rely more upon yourself, you will begin to feel more confident about yourself, your actions, and ability to make decisions.

5.Look your best for the situation or circumstances. When you feel comfortable about your appearance, it helps to strengthen your self confidence.

6.Give yourself credit for the accomplishments you have made in your life. Many individuals, particularly women, frequently find this difficult and practice self-limitation by deflecting compliments received from others, with statements such as: “It was nothing.”; “No big deal.” when a simple”Thank you!” would be sufficient.

7.Open yourself to new experiences. Each new experience helps you to learn more about yourself and develop new interests. Self knowledge helps you to be more confident.

8.Don’t try to be perfect. Perfectionism is self-defeating. Strive for excellence instead. Be realistic in what you can and cannot do.

9.Identify role models and seek mentors where possible. Emulate people whose traits you admire and make their good qualities those you strive for.

10.Let go of self-centeredness. People who lack self-confidence usually have a pre-occupation with themselves. Expand your thinking so that you concentrate on the project at hand, or being of service to others.

At one time or another everyone, has feelings of inadequacy or lack of confidence. Fortify your ability to be self-confident with these suggestions. Other resources and helpful references include:

Anthony, Robert (2001). The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence (Revised) (Paperback). NY: Berekeley Publishing Group.

Horn, Sam (2000). What's Holding You Back?: 30 Days to Having the Courage and Confidence to Do What You Want, Meet Whom You Want, and Go Where You Want. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Lundy, Janice Lundy (2008). Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be. Notre Dame, Indiana: Sorin Books

Author's Bio: 

Bette Lawrence-Water, M.S., CPC, is a community health advocate and certified professional coach with more than 25 years experience in helping people and organizations reach optimum performance. She is recognized as an educator, public speaker, and master collaborator. She embraces the philosphy that "To lead is to serve." and facilitates dynamic workshops on personal improvement, leadershiup development, volunteer recruitment.