Challenge: Let’s Talk about Random Acts of Kindness

Have you heard of random acts of kindness? It’s the idea to do something nice and kind for someone else without a lot of advanced planning or expecting anything in return. I’m sure you’re already doing random acts of kindness here and there. Think about the last time you’ve done something nice for a neighbor, friend, or even a total stranger. How did you feel after you did something kind? You felt pretty good about yourself didn’t you? You’ve felt proud and accomplished. And most importantly, you started to feel better about yourself.

Doing random acts of kindness is a great way to boost your self-confidence. It makes you feel important. It makes you feel like you’re part of the community, no matter what that community may look like or consist of. We are social creatures who benefit from cooperation and working together for the common good. Feeling good about showing someone else a kindness is programmed into our DNA. Take advantage of this fact by being kinder and doing random things that benefit others. It’s a nice way to boost your self-esteem and benefit your community at large.

Start by keeping your eyes and ears open. Pay attention to the people around you and your environment. Offer to help bag and carry out the groceries for the elderly shopper in line with you at the grocery store. Help the young boy in your neighborhood study for his big math test. Offer to run an errand for a sick neighbor or stop by with some pre-made meals. Pick up the trash you come across on your daily walk. Offer to babysit for your friends with little kids who haven’t been out on a date in months.

When you start to pay attention to “kindness opportunities” throughout your day, you will start to notice them everywhere. They don’t have to be anything big. Something as simple as holding the door open for someone else, or handing a glass of iced tea to the mailman on a hot day won’t take you more than a minute, but they brighten the other person’s day and make you feel good about yourself.

My challenge for you today is to start paying attention to the random acts of kindness you can perform. Do your best to do something nice for someone else every single day. Send an email or text to a friend letting them know you’re thinking of them. Make a phone call to check on a friend or family member. Send out a fun card, or buy a coffee for a random stranger who looks like he could use it. Give it a try and see for yourself how good these kind acts make you feel and how they boost your self-esteem.

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Challenge: Confidence Hack: Sometimes You’ve Got to Fake It

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Fake It ‘Till You Make It”. It’s most often used in the context of entrepreneurship and entertainment. The idea is to act like you’re a big deal and great success until you actually are. While it may sound odd at first, it turns out that faking it actually works. It makes you pay attention to what the people that have already made it in your chosen business or career, do on a daily basis. How do they act, talk, dress, and what are their habits? You have to first start to pay attention and figure those things out, and then you start to model or copy them. In the end, you start to develop some of the same habits successful people have and as a result you yourself will hopefully become more successful. Of course being perceived as a big deal by those around you doesn’t hurt either.

Here’s where things get interesting for us. It turns out that faking confidence works to make us actually feel more confident. Let me repeat that. Faking confidence makes you more confident. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? That’s why it’s today’s confidence hack. Here are a few ideas on how we can tap into this idea and use it to our advantage.

The basic idea is to simply start acting confident. Stand up tall, and go for it. Keep pretending to be self-confident until you start to feel it for real. Ask yourself what the confident and courageous version of yourself would do and then do it.

If you don’t feel very confident at the beginning stop and ask yourself what you would do if you were more confident. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you’re at a social gathering where you don’t know anyone but you should be mingling and meeting new people. The shy version of yourself wants to go hide in the corner and fade into the background. What would a confident person do? He or she would walk in there tall with a big smile and start making small talk. That’s exactly what you’ll be doing. Pretend you’re confident. If this seems hard, or intimidating, make yourself fake confidence for five minutes. You can do this. After those five minutes, you’ve talked to at least one person. That may be just what you need to get comfortable in this new situation and no matter what happens, you’ll start to feel more comfortable and confident after this little exercise.

The surprising thing is that once you get in the habit of faking confidence, you will start to feel more self-confident for real. I encourage you to give it a try and to start implementing today’s confidence hack of faking it until you make it. Before long you’ll be more self-confident and courageous in anything you decide to tackle and that’s a great thing.

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Challenge: Put Your Shoes On in the Morning and Other Good Advice on Self Confidence

Today’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of sharing one big confidence and courage boosting concept with you or one of the “confidence hacks”, I have a couple of small pieces of advice on self-confidence for you. They may seem like small things at first glance and it’s easy to dismiss them and move on. I encourage you not to skip over these little tips. They are actually quite powerful and a great way to make you feel better. Try them and see for yourself.

Shower and Get Dressed in the Morning

Make it a habit to shower and get dressed nicely in the morning, even if your job doesn’t require it, you work from home, or it’s the weekend. It gives you a feeling of pride and confidence, and more importantly it signals your mind that you’re ready to go and seize the day.

Lounging around in your PJs or yoga pants and an old t-shirt doesn’t have the same effect. Dress for success and notice how this one little act increases your self-confidence.

Put On Your Shoes

Putting on your shoes even when you’re not headed out for the day has the same effect. It always amazes me how well this one little trick works. If you need to tackle some dreaded chores, simply have a lot on your plate that day, or a little confidence boost to talk yourself into doing something, lace up your shoes and get it done.

Do Something To Feel Pretty or Well Groomed

We feel much more confident when we feel pretty or well put together. Go do something that gives you that feeling. Get a fresh haircut, put on your favorite lipstick, or put on a clean, fresh pressed shirt before a meeting, date, or task your nervous and anxious about. Do something, anything to make yourself feel pretty and well-put-together.

It can be helpful to have a list with a couple of things on it that you know will make you feel good about your appearance. Keep mental tabs on that list or write it down and refer back to it whenever you need a little confidence and courage boost.

Self-Care Isn’t A Waste Of Time

Last but not least, let’s talk about self-care. These are all the little things we can do for ourselves to make us feel better. It could be taking a bubble bath, spending an afternoon reading, going out for drinks with good friends, watching the ballgame, or losing yourself in a good computer game. It’s the things we do to recharge and take care of ourselves. Often, we consider them a waste of time, or put them on the backburner in favor of more urgent work, business, or family tasks. That’s a big mistake that will lead to burnout in the long run. Take the time to take care of yourself regularly. Self-care has the added benefit of boosting your confidence. You’re showing yourself that you’re worth the care.

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Challenge: Confidence Hack: “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?”

Today I want to share one of my favorite confidence hacks with you. It’s something that never fails to bring things back in perspective. It’s simple, but very powerful. Here’s what you do:

Ask Yourself: “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?”

Sit down and really put some thought into this. Imagine everything and anything that could possibly go wrong. Use your imagination and go all out. It may seem counterproductive at first, but there’s method to the madness.

When you lay it all out, you force yourself to face the worst possible outcome. One important reason why this simple little mental exercise is important is that it makes you realize that the worst outcome isn’t all that bad and something you can live with. Just as important is that you discover that this “horrible” outcome isn’t terribly likely. While you’re mulling things over, chances are that you remember all the things you have to gain from taking action. Even if everything doesn’t go perfect, chances are that you’ll get something out of taking the risk to do something. This realization alone will give you a boost of confidence, or at least the energy and desire to do something.

You may be wondering why imagining the worst possible outcome is such a good confidence and courage strategy. Here’s why it works:

We’re More Scared Of The Unknown Than The Worst Possible Scenario

On a psychological level, there’s nothing we fear more than the unknown. This is why this strategy works so well. By thinking about and imagining the worst possible outcome we take away the element of the unknown. When that happens things suddenly don’t look nearly as bad anymore. We know what we’re facing. We know what it will take to overcome the obstacle or dig ourselves back out of the hole. We can start to come up with an action plan for recovery. We do this all the time when something bad or unexpected happens. Why not tap into the same idea to gain the courage to “try it anyway”?

That’s your confidence hack for today. Whenever you try to talk yourself out of doing something because of an undefined fear, or when you’re simply reluctant to do something, take some action or try something new, ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen”. Then make your peace with that worst case outcome and go do it anyway. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find how well this works.

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Challenge: Confidence and Courage Are a Balancing Act

Self-confidence and courage are strange things, and there can be a balancing act you need to perform to make sure you’re making the progress you want to make. When you don’t have enough confidence in yourself and what you’re getting ready to do, you won’t have the courage to take action and get started. When you have too much confidence and courage on the other hand, without the knowledge of what to do, it’s easy to get yourself in hot water. Here’s an example.

Let’s say you decide to go into business for yourself, designing and maintaining websites for small businesses in your area. If you don’t have enough confidence in yourself and your abilities, you won’t get the business up and running. You won’t be comfortable approaching the small business owners in your area until you get more knowledge and expertise. And if you do, you won’t sound confident and convincing. The net result is you won’t get your first handful of clients, and the learning opportunities creating and maintaining actual websites that working with clients brings. This definitely isn’t a good thing.

Now let’s look at the other side of the scale. What if you have too much confidence in yourself and your abilities and the courage to approach a bunch of business owners and tackle even the most difficult projects? Your idea is you’ll figure it out as you go along. While that can sometimes work, there’s also a lot of risk in this approach, and if you take it too far, it’s easy to mess up royally. This in turn could cost your customers a lot of business and hurt both their reputation and yours. This is also not a good thing.

The key is striking a balance and finding that middle ground where you have enough courage and confidence to get started, get some experience, and learn “on the job”, without getting too cocky and getting yourself in way over your head. There’s a lot to be gained from saying yes and then figuring out what you need to do and what you need to learn, but it needs to be tempered to a point where you’re not way outside of your area of expertise.

Where are you right now regarding this balancing act? Considering that you are taking part in this challenge, I’m assuming being over confident isn’t an issue for you. I hope this far into the challenge you are steadily moving toward that perfect middle ground. Keep going, keep working on getting that self-confidence and courage and start taking action. You may just surprise yourself and find out how much you’re capable of.

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Catch up on any posts you miss during the challenge. Here’s the link: confidence and courage challenge posts.