Self Confidence & Self-Esteem

For most people, these two subjects are often thought of as the same thing. Although gaining self confidence in one area can help with one's self-esteem, they are actually two different subjects. Let’s explore these two subjects in greater detail, starting with self-confidence.

The first time you make a sales call, test out a new recipe, hit a golf ball or try anything unfamiliar, it can be a real challenge. However, if you keep at it the process becomes easier and suddenly, you’re making your sales calls with determination, you’re improvising on that recipe and you’re hitting the golf ball nicely on almost every swing. This is how self-confidence is created; though repetition. The more you try something, the more self-confident you become when doing it. You just have to get through the initial difficulty of any task. It’s really the first times that are tricky. The first speech I made, for example, was horrendous. The podium was small and it wasn’t secured to any base. Rather, it sat on top of a table. At one point, I was shaking so badly the unsecured podium was moving. After that experience, I learned the importance of using a full sized podium, one that was properly secured during speeches. I also decided to wear a blouse and jacket instead of a dress when delivering a speech. The dress that I wore during my first experience with public speaking had a perspiration stain that ran all the way down to my wrist.

While my first speech experience wasn’t easy I persevered and now, hundreds of speeches later, I actually enjoy the process. I think I finally calmed down after 20 speeches. Having said that, you have to bear in mind that public speaking is one of our greatest fears. According to some people, it’s actually scarier than death. Be patient with yourself you try your first sales call, recipe, sport or speech. Remember, first times can be tough. If you find the courage to keep yourself going, it does get easier and sooner or later, you can do it—you are doing it. You’re developing self-confidence whenever you’re doing it.

As for self-esteem, that's a whole different subject. I define self-esteem as what you really think about yourself, inside. Since many of us (myself included) come from challenging or even dysfunctional family backgrounds, we have developed self-esteem issues. I actually have this little test to help you determine whether or not you have low self-esteem. Just after you brush your teeth, wash your face and do what ever else you normally do to get ready for bed, look at yourself in the bathroom mirror. What is your internal dialogue? For those of us with low self-esteem it may sound like, “I'm too fat” or “My nose is too big” or “I have so many wrinkles!” Those of us who have low self-esteem always find fault with something about ourselves. However, you can change your internal monologue and I’ll tell you how in my next blog.