Ever wonder how to be successful and happy (at the same time)? It’s about your self-confidence levels. Let’s talk about why building self-confidence is important to building success that actually feels good.
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The Interrelationship Between Self-Confidence and Success From the Inside-Out
You’re a high-achieving doer. You never do things half-way, but strive to do your best in everything you touch. As a result, you’re successful… at least on paper. Yet you crave something more and feel guilty (even a bit ashamed) about it.
What’s worse is that you often grind over decisions, only to second-guess them after they’re made. You might believe that your guilt relates to your achievements and that it’s somehow bad to be so ambitious. But that’s not what’s really going on. The problem is that you’re lacking in self-confidence.
What Is Self-Confidence?
There’s a myth that I want to dispel that says you can’t be successful if you lack self-confidence. There are different layers to being self-confident and you can achieve high levels of success (at least by society’s terms) without being confident in who you are. Being confident in who you are requires a deeper level of self-confidence, and is what leads to success that feels great (what I call success from the inside-out).
The type of self-confidence I’m talking about comes from trusting yourself. You have faith in your decisions and feel good about them, even when in uncharted territory, when taking a big risk that could fail, and when you don’t know how everything will turn out. This type of self-confidence requires you to have a deep understanding of who you are. And it only comes by accepting yourself as-is while simultaneously striving to be better.
To be self-confident in this way, you must be:
- realistic about your strengths, skills, and talents;
- fully aware of and willing to admit to your weaknesses;
- open to criticism and new opinions;
- capable of taking calculated risks without fearing failure.
This requires you to shift your mentality to be more growth-oriented and mentally resilient. You understand that you’re not perfect yet want to do your best to be better. It’s what helps you to accept yourself and to be unafraid to be 100% yourself.
Successful + Happy = Inside-Out Success
How does this relate to feeling good about being successful? You’ll never truly enjoy life and feel fully fulfilled if you:
- constantly question your own decisions;
- often feel guilty about your success;
- crave something “more”;
- are uncertain about what you really want out of life.
If you want to stop doing these things and finally feel fulfilled and happy (and bring real joy to your everyday life), then you MUST do two things: (1) understand your own needs, values, strengths, and weaknesses and (2) act accordingly. The second part (acting to meet your needs, honor your values, utilize your strengths, and acknowledge your weaknesses) is where self-confidence comes into play.
If you want success in both your career and life from the inside-out, then you must be willing to take control and go out on a limb. You must do things on your own terms. It’s the only way to create success that’s sustainable, fulfilling and fun. And it requires loads of self-confidence.
The good news is that success from the inside-out is what brings you happiness. It will give you more meaning because you’ll be better able to make an impact by using your unique gifts and strengths to the best of your ability. That’s what happiness really is. It’s not about being positive or up all the time, but instead about understanding yourself completely and being content with who you are and how you’re living your life.
[Recommended Reading: for more about what happiness really is and how to be happy, read How to Redefine Yourself Into Happiness].
What Happens When You Lack Self-Confidence
There are negative consequences to having little self-confidence in who you are. Although you might find some level of societal success (i.e., make good money while moving up the career ladder), you’ll never be as successful as you could be with a full dose of healthy self-confidence.
When you lack confidence in who you are and how you make decisions for yourself, then you’re likely to:
- compare yourself to others and feel like you never quite measure up;
- allow your fears to hold you back;
- excessively ruminate over decisions;
- second-guess yourself;
- play your mistakes and failures over and over in your mind; and
- feel more stressed and anxious.
That’s not exactly a great way to live, is it? Moreover, people won’t see you as a leader. Although you might move up the corporate ladder, your low self-confidence levels will ultimately prevent you from going beyond a certain point.
[Related Reading: Want to make a big change or take a big step, but don’t feel ready? Read Five Reasons to Start Before You’re Ready].
Why Building Self-Confidence Is Important to Achieving Success From the Inside-Out
High levels of self-confidence often leads to higher levels of success. I’d add that the right kind of self-confidence (trusting in yourself and your abilities, while also acknowledging your weaknesses) leads to high levels of success that’s fulfilling and more fun.
If you want to achieve success from the inside-out, then you must understand the reasons behind why building self-confidence is important. Because the why leads to the how.
#1: Self-Confidence Creates More Awareness
Being confident in who you are requires you to be self-aware. That means that you’ll better understand yourself and your motivations. And you’ll also have deeper knowledge around how you affect others (and how you’re perceived).
But there’s more to it than self-awareness, because real self-confidence makes you more aware of other people’s emotions, motivations, and needs. It allows you to be more open and accepting of these things. And that’s a necessary component for inside-out success. Think about how this could help your leadership abilities and your relationships.
What’s most interesting about self-awareness and self-confidence is that they feed one another. The act of becoming more aware of what motivates you can help you to become more self-confident. You’re more likely to accept yourself if you understand the reasons behind why you feel the way you do.
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#2: Self-Confidence Provides Motivation
When you’re more self-confident, it’s easier to:
- keep going when things get hard;
- get back up after you’ve failed; and
- leverage your mistakes into new successes.
Confidence breeds motivation. And motivation doesn’t just keep you going, but further builds your self-confidence. Something happens when you realize that you’ve learned something from a mistake that you can leverage into a new success. You’re more likely to feel good despite your mistake and be curious about what will happen next.
That’s when the magic of motivation kicks in to keep you going. And it’s also why you’re able to build further self-confidence by being motivated. By continuing on you’re telling yourself that you believe in your abilities and that you can get through anything.
#3: With Confidence Comes Inner Strength and Resilience
Having confidence in yourself and your abilities enables you to stretch yourself and take educated risks without fear of failure. That’s because, to be fully self-confident, you must have a fail-forward attitude that allows for failure. It’s important to note that this willingness to fail isn’t something that’s planned for or expected. You won’t want to fail, but will accept that it will sometimes happen as part of your journey to success despite your best efforts.
[Recommended Reading: for more about what it means to fail-forward, read How To Begin Feeling More Self-Confident After You’ve Failed].
This attitude breeds inner strength and resilience from within and (yet again) will further increase your confidence levels. By becoming more mentally strong and resilient, you’ll be taking control of how you think. What that means is less negative thoughts, more realistic positive thinking, and much more self-confidence.
The benefits of this can’t be understated, as you’re more (1) likely to say “no” without guilt, (2) able to argue for yourself, and (3) willing to express your opinions. And you’ll be more calm, clear and creative instead of reactive to fears and emotions.
#4: Confidence Leads to Better Relationships
Healthy levels of self-confidence is attractive. It makes sense, given that self-confidence means:
- being happier and more positive;
- trusting in yourself and your decisions;
- not being threatened by differing opinions; and
- not obsessing over negative experiences.
Understanding yourself deeply while acting accordingly is viewed by most people as an admirable quality and will increase people’s trust in you. Your self-confident, mentally resilient mindset will help you to form stronger, healthier relationships.
Not only that, but you’ll be perceived as a better, more obvious leader (because you’ll have the qualities of a good leader).
#5: Self-Confidence Helps You Make Better Decisions
Being confident in yourself means trusting that you’ll make good decisions. That doesn’t mean that your decisions will always be right.
What it means is that you (1) will plan around your weaknesses, (2) won’t be controlled by fear, and (3) will take other people’s opinions into consideration. And that will help you to make the best decision you can in the moment, given the circumstances and what you know. After all, that’s all you can do.
How to Start Building Your Self-Confidence Levels Now
I’ve written other articles on how to build your self-confidence levels, and have linked to several of them below. If you’re serious about becoming more self-confident so you can achieve success on your own terms, I recommend that you read them.
But not just yet… because there’s something you need to do first.
If you look at the reasons behind why building self-confidence is important, you’ll notice that self-confidence is nothing other than what you believe about yourself. Do you believe you can figure things out regardless of what might happen? Do you trust in yourself to make the best decisions you can, given the circumstances?
That means that you need to learn how to take control of your thoughts. Luckily, I have something to help you with that. Start taking control of your thoughts and convert mental chaos into clear, calm thinking, with 5-Minute Stress Solutions. This free resource contains 8 proven strategies to help you drastically reduce stress, convert chaos into calm, and be more mentally resilient. Grab it now here: