Understanding confidence and cultivating it can have a transformative effect on your life. Far from being an in-born trait, confidence is an evolving skill, one with different aspects.

At times you may find yourself wishing that you could boost your overall confidence, but don’t know how. You might find yourself feeling naturally self-assured in some situations, but not others. Wherever you are at the moment, read on to better understand confidence and apply these lessons to your life.

Confidence is a skill like any other

If you were to meet a mechanical engineer, accomplished in their field, you might assume that they have a natural aptitude for their specialty. You’d never doubt that they had to study and practice for years to learn and develop those skills.

Similarly, a person who seems to naturally exude confidence was not necessarily always that way. Believe that with some practice, dedication, and self-observation, you can be as confident as anyone.

Confidence is multi-faceted

Confidence has more dimensions to it than is often discussed. Not only can you have confidence in yourself, but in others and in the path that life takes you. Notice and value the accomplishments of those around you. Furthermore, understand that life holds a greater purpose — that of developing you as a person, though the road may be a winding one.

This kind of trust is not synonymous with blind faith. Confidence always goes hand in hand with wisdom and responsibility.

As applied to investing, confidence means acting rationally and calmly. You can approach the market calmly and deliberately by relying on past results, well-researched data, and predictable long-term trends. Here at LexION Capital we prioritize these principles to give you the confidence to know that your money is in good hands.

“Fake it ‘till you make it”

Successful lawyer and blogger, Jennifer Taylor, writes about the experience of working as a mediator for the first time. “During my first mediation, I was very nervous… I had to fake confidence. And boy, did I fake it… Don’t worry if you’re not an immediately confident person in every scenario that life throws your way. No one is.”

Taylor is an advocate for the principle of “fake it ‘till you make it”. Deep down, she probably knew that she could perform her duties well or she wouldn’t have put herself in that situation in the first place. She simply rode out her doubts by projecting the confidence she needed to get the job done.

Harvard professor and best-selling author Amy Cuddy takes it a step further by advocating for “power posing”, or adopting confident body language. According to Cuddy, scientific research suggests that your body language actually influences your state of mind.

Confidence is an inner and outer skill

Confidence has both an inner and outer aspect. When cultivating confidence, you can begin with whichever side you’re more predisposed to. What you work on in one domain will inevitably affect the other.

While projecting confidence is an outward-led approach, an inward-led approach can be equally effective. Stay in touch with your values, as well as your own personal self-worth. By focusing on inner confidence, you will ensure that your outward actions will impact and be noticed by those around you.

Cultivate confidence with empathy

If you are feeling self-doubt, you’re probably also lost in your own thoughts in your own head. If you’re around others, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand and explore their wants, needs, and fears.

Empathy can appear spontaneously, but if you are striving to develop yourself, transform it into a practice. “Willed empathy” forces us to slow down and understand someone else’s thoughts without being consumed by them. When you rise above your own limitations, your confidence will naturally grow.

Other practices to develop confidence

There are countless strategies and practices to develop confidence. Experiment with these methods over time to discover what is most effective for you.

First, turn positivity into an active activity. When you find self-doubt creeping into your mind, be proactive. Use self-talk to affirm how you’d like to see yourself and what you’d like to accomplish. Record your thoughts on paper in clear, empowering statements.

Second, don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, celebrate their accomplishments. When you resent other people, you get caught up in a mindset of failure; when you feel genuine happiness for their achievements, it inspires you. Inspiration breeds confidence.

Third, express yourself and make the decision, no matter how small. If you are in the habit of deferring to others, this may take some practice. Even if it’s as simple as telling a friend or partner where you’d like to go out for dinner, you’ll be granting yourself the self-agency you deserve. Being assertive is always good when you’re acting in line with your core values.

Apply confidence to different areas of your life

Make sure not to limit confidence to a single aspect of your life. When you are with friends, a partner, or spouse, use generosity as a tool to generate good will and elevate the moods of others and yourself. When preparing for work, rehearse your new mindset and personal goals. What you intend is what will manifest.

In the area of your personal finances, place your money in areas that you feel confident in. Make sure that you rely on the experience of financial experts so that you have the peace of mind to let go.

With confidence as the center of your experience, you’ll find yourself happier and on an upward trajectory in all aspects of your life.

Originally published at medium.com