The roller coaster reality of success in sport, business or life provides a constant assault on one’s confidence.  Few would dispute the claim that success is more easily achieved with confidence than without. As Henry Ford so poignantly put it “Whether you think you can or think you can’t–you’re right.”  And the research is clear: in most cases confidence comes first, and achievement follows.  Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay did not reach the summit of Mt. Everest and then believe they could do it.

Is it possible to achieve or increase confidence?  Absolutely.  While there are many ways confidence can be gained, here are 6 strategies that have proven particularly helpful over time and circumstance.

  1. Competence: Possessing the skill, knowledge and experience to accomplish the task is an important confidence booster. Having accomplished similar tasks, or having demonstrated skill and/or knowledge in a practice or trail situation can be sources of confidence.
  2. Preparation: It is difficult to feel confident when undertaking a task if proper preparation has not been completed.  Being prepared for the nuances of the task conditions goes a long way in bolstering confidence.
  3. Recovery Strategies:  Something will go wrong–it almost always does.  Having a strategy to recover from a distraction or disaster increases one’s confidence heading into the task.  This can be something as simple as refocusing on the purpose of the task or having a slogan, mantra or motto you can repeat to yourself.  Recovery strategies function to get you quickly back on track and moving forward in completing your task.
  4. Goal Setting: Confidence stemming from goal setting is rooted in knowing both the direction and method of the action to be undertaken.  Goal setting provides clear focus on the task at hand.
  5. Imagery: If you can imagine yourself doing it, you have mentally convinced yourself that it is possible.
  6. Positive Self-Talk.  Hearing positive and reinforcing comments is always helpful when undertaking a task; and self-encouragement is a powerful force.  Saying to yourself “You can do this!,” “You’re ready,” or other fortifying comments may provide that small dose of confidence that will make the difference and bring success.