Building Self-Confidence

Building Self-Confidence: Taking Those First Steps to Greatness

Many writers, bloggers, and freelancers have a lack of self-confidence in the beginning. This can lead to missing opportunities or not putting in sufficient effort to succeed. What can you do to raise your opinion of yourself?

Well, I can tell you right now that it’s not going to be something you can just instantly change overnight.

In fact, a lot of authors on social media still battle various forms of imposter syndrome despite being quite successful. And it can be ultimately debilitating, especially for those who have some hefty goals.

To tell you the truth, I had very little self-confidence when I started my writing career. And yes, I missed out on a lot of opportunities because I didn’t think I was good enough.

Today, I am far more confident in my abilities due to the amount of effort I put into changing my mindset. It wasn’t easy, and it took a bit of time. But the destination was worth the journey.

Confidence Without Being an Arrogant Narcissist

Sometimes, people confuse arrogance and confidence. Someone who is confident understands their abilities but doesn’t go out of his or her way to make others feel inferior.

Something else to consider is that someone who is confident also understands there is always something more to learn. No one knows every possible facet of a particular topic.

The confident person has faith in his or her abilities but is not afraid of making mistakes or saying, “Sorry, I’m wrong.”

At the end of the day, people are more likely to work with someone who has a healthy level of self-confidence over an arrogant narcissist. Not to mention the sheer amount of opportunities that present themselves when you have faith in what you can deliver.

First Steps to Building Self-Confidence

When I began my career in 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anything about AP Style English and had very little knowledge of SEO. Needless to say, I had a lot of doubts about what I could deliver as a freelance writer.

But over the years, I turned a very shy and doubtful person into a self-confident professional who created a successful career as a writer.

It wasn’t easy, and I had to change a lot of my mannerisms and behaviors. However, who I am today is far better off than who I was more than a decade ago.

So, what did I do to change that mindset and boost that level of self-confidence?

Change How You Reply to Compliments

For me, the first step in improving my level of confidence was changing how I responded to compliments. Instead of saying, “I try,” I started replying by saying, “Thank you.”

As simple as it sounds, that change had one of the most profound impacts on how I viewed myself. It was a shift from the timid writer I was at the time. It was all about acknowledging the compliment and understanding someone else was appreciative of my work.

In other words, saying thank you was less derogatory toward myself as a writer. Instead of doubting I could do the job, it was more to the point of realizing I could do the job.

Keep Track of EVERY Accomplishment

Next, I started keeping track of everything I accomplished, no matter how small. It’s those small victories that help you build momentum both as a creator and on a personal level.

For example, each goal I accomplished, I made a big deal of it. Every year when I surpass my record for the number of words written, I relish in it. Every time anyone thanks me for something I created, I file that away as an accomplishment.

I am proud of everything I’ve accomplished and can look back knowing that I did my best, and it shows. That’s a big part of boosting your self-confidence – being aware of the goodness you’ve provided.

Continue to Learn All You Can

When I began my writing career, I decided I wanted to be the best freelancer to my abilities. So, I spent a lot of time diving into my craft and learning everything I could about AP Style English, SEO, and whatever topic the client needed.

I am someone who is in a constant state of self-improvement. I am continuously researching and learning all that I can to provide the best information possible.

The point is that you should never assume that you know everything about your trade. There is always something more that will make you more valuable whether you’re blogging, freelancing, or self-publishing a book.

It’s arrogant to think otherwise.

Realize No One Is Perfect

You are going to make mistakes. I know some of you out there will try your best to make every piece of content perfect. The problem is that perfection is impossible.

That’s because of the nature of being creative and how the human brain works.

A “good” book or a blog post is subjective to the reader. What one person believes to be golden, another will view as crap.

So, you see, perfection is impossible for a writer. All you can really do is put in the best you can and let the cards fall where they may.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

One of the biggest destroyers of self-confidence is ourselves. Many of us are exceptionally hard on ourselves should we make a mistake or don’t perform to our expectations.

Remember what I said about perfection – you’re not going to be infallible.

When things do come apart, and they will, don’t dwell on them. Instead, figure out how you can improve it for the next attempt. Don’t think of it as a failure but more of a learning experience.

Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

I see so many people on social media make some incredibly lofty goals for themselves. And shooting for the moon isn’t necessarily a bad thing…as long as you have both feet firmly planted on the ground.

Setting realistic goals for yourself prevents you from setting yourself up for failure. They are based on improving on your past experiences, not what someone else has achieved.

Even if you just barely managed to meet a goal, keep in mind that it is still technically a victory.

For instance, I consider it a success if I beat my annual word count record by a single word. You don’t have to smash a record in order to feel accomplished.

Only Compete with Yourself

It’s OK to aspire to be like someone. We all have idols that can help drive motivation and determination. However, you also need to remember that you’re only in competition with yourself.

Sure, I poke fun when I say how I can out-write Stephen King word for word throughout a single day. But I also know that our situations are vastly different.

For one thing, Stephen King doesn’t blog nearly as much as I do, which is far easier than cranking out another best seller. It’s merely a funny gesture, and I highly doubt I will have as many best-sellers under my belt when I am done.

In reality, I strive to better myself. I work on personal records and achievements. Yes, there are a lot of other more successful writers out there than I am. However, I have surpassed my own expectations every year – and that’s what really matters.

It’s Not an Instant Fix

Building up your self-confidence isn’t something you can do in an instant. Every one of us is different, and it could take a considerable amount of time to gain momentum for great things.

The trick is to not expect instant gratification. No one is going to wave a magic wand and cure you of self-doubt.

For the most part, a lack of confidence is essentially a poor vision of yourself. And for many of us, how we view ourselves is not what others see. You need to think of yourself more objectively.

Having an Objective Viewpoint

That’s perhaps one of the most difficult things to accomplish, really. An objective viewpoint means that you’re taking emotion and misconception of yourself out of the equation.

For instance, objectively, I can see that I accomplished a lot throughout the year as I surpassed more than 742,000 words written in 2023. That includes blogs, books, video scripts, and client-ordered articles.

There is no disputing that because it is a hard fact. And those are the kinds of things you should focus on the most.

It doesn’t matter if I thought those pieces were “good.” As I said, writing is a subjective medium.

The facts remain at the time of this post that I:

  • am on track to write more than 800,000 words in 2024
  • have self-published two books
  • accumulated more than 2300 subscribers on YouTube
  • have been complimented by several professionals on my work
  • am respected by many in my field

This isn’t a list to brag, but they are objective elements that demonstrate my abilities to myself. Looking at the hard facts discredits arguments I may try to make to myself that I suck.

Believe in Yourself and What You Can Offer

If you truly want to have a successful career, improving your level of self-confidence will make a monumental difference. You’re more likely to see opportunities that arise, others are more interested in working with you, and you’ll be happier while being proud of what you accomplish.

The time you take today to work on your mental health will impact tomorrow. Don’t let negativity prevent you from achieving all that you want in life.

Being confident will open all kinds of doors you didn’t even know were there.

Michael Brockbank
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