If I had to choose one big caracteristic that all great leaders have in common, I’d probably say charisma or confidence. This is a common feature of someone that is highly successful in his life. No matter what situation you put them in, they’ll stay composed and handle it with no problem. As much as it may seem impossible to some people, this is nothing more than the visible part of the iceberg. These people started like everyone, and yet nobody acknowledges it. Confidence is not something that is being given to some people and not to others.  It’s something that needs constant improvement. How can you become confident, then? I believe there are a tons of ways to achieve self-confidence, but here are some of the most powerful techniques:

Know who you are

Knowing who you are is a very important part of the process. Think about it, how could you become confident if you don’t even know who you are? Leaders know who they are and what they’re good at, they don’t need for someone to tell them. Whether you like them or not is of no concern to them. It won’t change their life in the slightest, and they know it! In short, you must know what your true worth is. Being confident doesn’t mean conceited, I’m not saying that you should elevate yourself and despise other people. Confidence is knowing exactly what you’re worth. The moment you’ll give yourself some credit and know your true identity, you’ll make a huge step towards becoming confident.

You must know what your values and beliefs are, so that no one can shake them off you. A great leader, whether being told that he’s ignorant or stupid, won’t care. Why is that? Because he’s confident: he has his beliefs and values set and he already knows who he is. If you already know that 1+1=2, what happens when someone tells you that 1+1=3? You ignore them. This is how important this part is. It’s like a foundation, without it everything else collapse.

Acknowledge your successes..

I noticed that people who had little to no self-esteem didn’t even acknowledge their own successes. It sure is easier to acknowledge everyone’s successes but ourselves. Although words bear definitions, do you know that everyone attaches some (personal and different) nuances to it? If you think that to succeed means to make a hundred millions dollars, then you may want to think again about that definition of yours. Setting the bar too high will automatically lead to disappointment. If your objective is to make money, then be realistic. If you can’t make $1, you won’t make millions of dollars. It’s common sense, right?

Let’s say that you are making $2000 a month. Your primary objective should not to be making millions of dollars, but to slowly raise the sum. Try to make $2500 next month, then $3000 the month after, etc. This is a success to me. Even if you’re making $50 more than last month, I’d say It’s still a success. It’s just a matter of perception. Don’t beat yourself up, as it certainly won’t lead to confidence. Of course, I’m talking about money in this example but it works with everything else. What I’m trying to convey here is that even if you don’t reach your goals exactly as you had planned to, it doesn’t mean that it’s a failure. It all depends on you.

..and your failures

This one is critical, so make sure you pay attention. Failure is NOT bad. I’ll probably write an entire article on this since it deserves it, but failure is really important. I often see people getting discouraged after failing. Why is that? Failing is very good, it allows you to improve! Temporary defeat is not permanent failure! You’re getting stronger each time you fail. Why this need to beat yourself up? I love failing, as it allows me to grow so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love to succeed as well. But failing shouldn’t be your fear, it shouldn’t be your ennemy but your ally. Failure tells you what not to do.

I feel like not acknowledging your failures is not acknowledging a part of yourself. We all failed and we all are going to fail more in the future. This is inevitable. Even great leaders, professionnals and such fail. However, instead of fearing it you should embrace it. In my opinion, becoming confident is not only about being proud of our successes, but being proud of our failures as well. You want to be confident? Then allow you some room to fail.

Do not listen to other people

Especially since the ascension of Internet, people love to criticize. It sure is easier to insult someone without having to face the consequences. Other than that, people around you like your family or friends may criticize you as well. In any case, do not listen to them. You are not what people say you are or should be. You are the only one that gets to decide who you are and who you want to become. People love to criticize because it makes them feel better about themselves. If you lend an ear to what everyone is saying, then chances are you’ll never become confident.

I’m not saying to be all by yourself and not taking critiques into account. Critiques may actually be beneficial to you sometimes. What I’m saying is that you should know what critiques will allow you to grow, versus critiques who will put you down. You don’t need to acknowledge that “you are a looser”, right? If you had to listen to everyone’s critics, you’d be a stupid looser and sometimes a genius. It doesn’t make any sense, right?

Tap yourself on the back

It is so easy to beat ourselves up. Thinking that we must be stupid for doing this or that, but how many times have you been proud of yourself? Not so much, I bet. If you feel like your entire life is nonsense, then think again. No matter how big your failures are, I’m sure there are a lot of successes as well you weren’t aware of. Tap yourself on the back for those. These good memories should pump you up. Loosing confidence sure is simple, you just need to focus on the failures. Gaining it is a bit more difficult, for you have to focus on the successes.

Have a model

Having a model you can look up to is in my opinion very important. It allows you to see the way they behave in accordance to their confidence. A model is ultimately someone you want to become that you are not right now. I find that modeling is so powerful that everyone should have a person like this in their life. Whether it be an actor, a writer or a friend doesn’t matter, the more important thing is having someone whom you can look up to. A model is a source of inspiration and inspiration is one of the two strong driving force that can lead you to your goals.

Act as if you were

This one may seem a little weird, but I assure you it works! Just do as if you were confident. Start walking, with a confident step and the face looking at the horizon. That way, you’ll start feeling confident. I believe that physiology plays a great part in the feelings you experience. Let’s do a little experiment right now. Drop your shoulders, lower your head, and start acting sluggish. Not very motivated nor confident, right? Now, try to seat comfortably as you stand up straight, your torso being put to evidence and start making powerful movements such as hitting one hand with the other intensely. Feeling better, right?

It’s what I’m telling you: act as if until you become. This is a very powerful technique you can use to your heart’s content.

Get out of your comfort zone

Obviously, you won’t get anywhere if you stay in your comfort zone. As I like to say: “If you keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting the same results.” Preparation is good, but you must put yourself in situations where you feel incomfortable. This is when you’ll get the most out of. If you already feel confident with your friends, it’s not by constantly hanging out with them that you will grow. Instead, doing stuff you’re not comfortable with will be much more effective.

I think that we all want to stay comfortably, it’s human nature after all. No one wants to go out and get killed. Instead, we want to provide for our family and stay with them. These patterns are fixed within us since time immemorial, but we have to adjust them. In today’s society, we have to grow, otherwise we’ll be left behind. Voluntarily doing things we’re not comfortable with is not easy but way more rewarding.

Confidence is not acquired the moment you’re born, it’s something that needs constant improvement. Even the most confident persons in the world have been through this path. Real confidence is acquired by reaching certain traits and mentalities as well as experiencing tons of different situations. I listed a few techniques you can use to facilitate your journey towards confidence, but you’re the only one who can take actions and become the person you want to be.