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Articles - How self – confident are you?

Improving Self-Confidence by Building Self-Efficacy

Do you feel energized about life?

How self-confident do you feel? Are you full of it, or do you wish you had more of it?

Whether someone demonstrates self-confidence by being decisive, trying new things, or staying in control when things get difficult, a person with high self-confidence seems to live life with passion and enthusiasm. Other people tend to trust and respect these confident individuals, which helps them build even more self-confidence – and so the cycle continues.

Albert Bandura is one of the leading researchers into self-efficacy. His self-efficacy theory explains the relationship between the belief in one’s abilities and how well a person actually performs a task or a range of actions. Bandura says that ‘self-efficacy’ and ‘confidence’ are not quite the same thing.

Therefore, self-confidence – by way of self-efficacy – often affects how well you perform, and how satisfied you are with the choices you make. This is why it’s important to understand your current level of self-efficacy, particularly in the context of your belief in your ability to perform in a variety of situations. In so doing, you will be able to identify areas where you can improve, and make a plan to do so.

Building Self-Confidence

No matter what your self-confidence level is right now, you can probably improve it. But you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities before anyone else will.

Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy is a great place to start looking for ways to improve the way you see your abilities. According to the theory, there are four sources of self-efficacy:

-        Mastery experiences – things you have succeeded at in the past.

-        Vicarious experiences – seeing people who are similar to you succeed.

-        Social persuasion – hearing from others that you’re capable.

-        Emotional status – staying positive, and managing stress.

The more success you experience, the more success you’re likely to enjoy in the future. But if success comes too easily, it probably won’t contribute to your self-confidence. Mastery experiences are those achievements where you know that it was your hard work and effort that brought about success.

To enjoy these types of experiences, work on motivation, toughness, and determination.

Motivation and self-confidence are connected. When you have more of one, you’ll probably have more of the other. You can generally increase your motivation by doing the following:

-         Thinking positively

-         Developing effective goals

-         Creating a motivating environment.

To begin to develop mastery experiences, do the following:

-         Ask for assignments that will be challenging, but that you can succeed in.

-         Assess your skills and abilities. A personal SWOT  analysis is a useful tool.

-         Improve your problem solving and decision making skills. This will help create a general feeling of confidence in the choices you make.

-         Commit to personal and professional development to stay current and informed.

Observe Others

If you view yourself as similar to someone else, and you see his or her accomplishments, you’re likely to apply that to yourself, and believe that you can achieve similar success.

The more alike you think you are, the greater the influence. So, if your boss has a similar education and work background, it can improve your confidence. If you see others working hard and succeeding, that can also motivate you and build your confidence.

The opposite may also be true. If you see people make great efforts and not achieve anything that can hurt your confidence – especially if you think your talents and abilities are similar to theirs.

Try the following tips:

-        Network, and surround yourself with accomplished, successful people.

-        Seek a mentor who has a background similar to yours.

-        Learn from those around you. Note what they do that’s successful.

-        Choose to work for companies and industries with growth potential.

Key Points

Self-efficacy is an important part of self-confidence.Some people seem to be naturally confident, but most of us need to improve our confidence – and we have the power to do so.

Focus on the experiences in your life where you were successful. This can give you the ability to see the positive side of your mistakes and setbacks. Choose to believe in yourself, and surround yourself with other positive and confident people. The more you see the success of others whose skills and abilities are similar to yours, the more likely you are to believe that you can also achieve that success. Combine all of this positive energy with great stress management strategies, and you’ll soon improve your levels of personal confidence.