If confidence is a trust in one’s abilities, self-assurance is trust in oneself.
Self-assurance means you know the kind of person you are, what you’re capable of, and how much you can do. In essence, it’s knowing your character.
There are many aspects that contribute to being assured in yourself. You need to understand your values and beliefs, your passions, your purpose, and what drives you. To become a self-assured person, you need to delve into these different parts of yourself and become comfortable with what you find.
We’re going to look at four areas in detail.
- Know your passions.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
- Learn how to accept praise.
- Develop yourself.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others, Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval, Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu
Know Your Passions
First of all, it’s imperative that you know your passions and devotes reasonable time on them.
Ideally, one of your passions will also be what you base your career on. If not, it’s still essential to make sure you’re spending time on the things you love and not just living to work.
There is a huge difference in working to survive and working because you love to do so. You’ll feel less stressed. You’ll actively seek to improve your skills. Most importantly, you’ll be able to spend eight hours a day on a subject you love.
If you’re not in the position to work on one of your passions, then it’s still as important to make sure you’re devoting time each week to work on what you love.
When we do this, we’re fully immersing ourselves in activity and continually growing our skills in that area.
This is really important with self-assurance. This is because we’re reaffirming what’s important to us and the commitment we have to make that happen.
How to Identify Your Passions
If you don’t work on your passion and you can’t think how that could possibly happen for you, just take a few moments to think. People perform career changes all the time, at any stage of their career. All it requires is the will to identify what you love and the commitment to make it happen.
Say, for example, you love flowers and have quite a talent for flower arranging. You can’t think of anything more exciting than spending your days being immersed in that world. Helping others make the right bouquet.
So, you start thinking of ways to make that happen. You can’t just give up your job, you need to money—this will have to be part-time initially. You can’t afford the rent of physical premises—it has to be online.
Breaking it Down into Simple Steps
Therefore, you’re going to need to build a website that can take orders while you’re working. You don’t know much about building websites. But from your research, you believe that if you find a template for your needs and take a course on navigating WordPress, you’ll be able to operate effectively.
The next thing you’ll need to do is phone suppliers and see who best suits your needs. A particular supplier catches your eye. They offer to ship small orders directly to the customer, so you don’t have to keep any stock on hand. This is perfect until you can work full time and have a physical store.
You sign up for the course, purchase your template, build your website, create the account with the supplier. Next, you add products to your website and commit to learning marketing to draw visitors to your website.
You now have a new business that’s running at the same time you’re working. You’re going to dedicate 1-hour a day to it and more at the weekends. Overall that’s 15 hours a week to spend on your passion and trying to turn it into your full-time career.
Now, the chances are that you don’t want to be a florist. But in this example, you can see how a passion is turned into a feasible career with some research.
Whether you’re starting a business, going back to college, or retraining, it will more than likely take a few years before you can call your passion your career.
This is the point where many people stop. They can’t wait for years. But you need to remind yourself those years will pass anyway. You can either be working in an area you love or working to survive.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
To become self-assured people, we need to dig deep and identify both our strengths and weaknesses and learn to love them both.
This is hard to do or even imagine initially. We’re taught that weaknesses are something to be ashamed. But the truth of the matter is they’re just things we haven’t yet learned how to master.
Anything can change and we can grow stronger in areas if we choose to do so. However, it’s important to remember that no one is good at everything. So, by understanding our passions, where our strengths lie, and what we like to spend our time doing, it becomes much easier to accept both our strengths and weaknesses and learn what kind of people we are.
Creating the ‘To-Do’ List
The first thing you’ll need to do is to list at least three of your strengths. Now look at them and think about how they make you feel. Do they align with your passion? Do they make you happy?
Now list three weaknesses. How do they make you feel? Do any of them jump out at you more than others? Are any of them based on what you love to do? If you identify weaknesses that cause you serious regret, it’s time to start another list and jot these down.
This is going to be your ‘To-Do’ list. Every weakness you identify relates to a passion or something you love doing. You’re going to jot down in order to set some time to get better at it.
To give an example of this. You might love to paint. You spend as much free time as you can create beautiful works of art. You’ve thought about trying to sell some of your works to see if you can turn it into a side income.
You know you can set up a shop on the online creative market place. However, you’ve stopped because you don’t have a clue about marketing. You’re not naïve enough to think if you post it, they will come. You know that you’ll need to generate buzz and drive traffic towards your new online store.
Doing Something About It
It’s been playing on your mind and holding you back from what you want to do. It’s also one of the first weaknesses you identified when creating your lists. As it’s preventing you from a potential full-time career doing what you love, it’s time to turn that weakness into a strength.
Find out what options are out there to help you learn and write down time-frames for completion. This is a really actionable list. When you come back and mark something as a strength, that’s an enormous feeling of accomplishment.
Now, not every weakness is going to affect you as much. For example, you might have stated that you’re quite a reserved person. Is that something you want to change? Does it make you sad? Maybe you prefer to be reserved in yourself, opening up to those closest to you, but express yourself vibrantly through your creations of art.
I know this example won’t apply to most of you. However, you should be able to tell the difference between a weakness that causes you a passing regret to one that causes deep sadness, or limits your future.
Ideally, you want to list about ten strengths and weaknesses in total. Once you’ve turned a few weaknesses into strengths you’ll feel more assured in yourself, the person you are and the ability you have to get where you want to go.
Learning to Accept Praise
Another issue that people seem to struggle with is accepting compliments. This can arise due to several issues. Some people don’t feel worthy of the praise, others are suspicious of it, and others still don’t want to come across as being big-headed.
It’s important that you not only learn how to accept compliments but to acknowledge and respond to them.
Every time you hear a compliment and brush it off, you’re signalling to yourself that it’s not true. Whether it’s because you feel you don’t deserve it, or you don’t want to seem egotistical, the result is the same.
Dismissing a compliment is the natural default in most people. However, it’s important to be aware when someone pays you one. Feel your initial reaction. Are you uncomfortable, embarrassed, awkward? Then ask yourself why you feel that way?
People rarely give compliments for the sake of it. The chances are that person saw something in you they thought was worth taking the time to highlight. This should be a good thing rather than something that causes us discomfort. Focus on the message. Acknowledge the statement made and try to change your thinking from embarrassment to gratitude.
A Simple Thank You Goes a Long Way…
If you find yourself mumbling some kind of thanks, or contradict what that person said, you’ll never be confident in your abilities.
Sure, most confidence comes internally. However, letting other people provide validation for your accomplishments is not a bad thing. On the topic of accepting the compliment, many people find this very difficult to do.
A simple smile and a thank you is perfect. You don’t need to put yourself down, you don’t need to offer a compliment in response, and you don’t need to get embarrassed.
Remember compliments make a person feel better. As well as receiving them, it’s also important to get into the habit of giving them. If you admire something about someone, make sure you take the time to tell them that.
It not only makes them feel better, but it also makes you feel better too. Just be honest, a sincere compliment is well received and most people know the difference between sincerity and flattery.
The last item we’ll look at is developing yourself.
Continual learning is essential in broadening your skill base and mastering self-assurance.
This aligns well with independence which we already covered. However, it’s mainly focused on gaining knowledge and skills that will help you become who you want to be.
Many of us put off upskilling or trying something new. We say we want to do it, but when push comes to shove we never take that final leap. This procrastination can harm your confidence in a number of ways.
Firstly, you’re sending the message to yourself, and others, that you’re not reliable. When you say you want to do something, you should really commit to it. Otherwise, you’re making statements that you never follow through on.
Soon, you’ll think of yourself as unreliable and may start justifying the reasons why you’re putting it off.
We’ve seen how important it is to develop yourself in certain areas, particularly relating to your passions. This isn’t a one-time endeavour. Continual learning means just that—it’s continual. You should always have some aspect of yourself you’re working on.
The Art of Self-Assurance
Self-assurance goes a huge way in growing your self-confidence. The four steps listed in this article will really help you to master the art of self-assurance.
It may seem difficult at first but once you start it only gets easier. Telling yourself your passions are worth spending time on, that you’re worth spending time on, is essential to self-assurance.
When someone tells you that admire a quality about you, being able to acknowledge that praise will really help your self-confidence. As you feel that confidence grow, you’ll understand just how important it is to give people a compliment of your own.
It all ties together, and with commitment and time you’ll find mastering the art of self-assurance isn’t nearly as hard as you thought.