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10 Strategies to Boost Self-Trust & Succeed on Your Own Terms

10 Strategies to Boost Self-Trust & Succeed on Your Own Terms

Do you trust yourself? 

Yes…no…maybe? 

Whatever your answer, one truth is clear: 

If you want anyone else to trust you, you must first trust yourself.

Is low self-trust sabotaging you? 

Let’s explore how low self-trust often shows up. If you can relate to any of the following, you may be struggling with a lack of self-trust. 

Maybe you: 

  •       Don’t keep commitments to oneself
  •       Rely excessively on a “fake it till you make it” mindset
  •       Have trouble making decisions with confidence
  •       Don’t speak up or fear taking risks
  •       Have a loud (sometimes roaring!) inner critic

 All that overthinking, analysis paralysis and self-doubt is exhausting! And it doesn’t stop there. Others may perceive you as inauthentic, inconsistent, or even, overly confident.

So, how do you trust yourself? 

Before we jump into strategy, let’s decompose trust as the combination of Character + Competence, adapted from Stephen Covey’s infamous “Speed of Trust.” 

As a quick primer, the two types of trust are:

  •       Predictive trust: The “ability to predict and count on others based on observed character and previous performance.”
  •       Vulnerability-based trust: The “ability to be open, honest, and transparent based on who you are as a human being.”

 From Predictive Trust, we get Character and Competence:

  •       Character: your integrity, intentions (motives) with others, what you stand for
  •       Competence: your capabilities (talents, skills) and the results you achieve – your proven track record

 This is a very easy way to look at trust (for more on research and frameworks for trust, check out my previous blog post here

When we look at the types of trust and Character and Competence, strategies to build more trust with yourself become more intuitive. Over the years, I discovered something interesting in my coaching clients: You would be surprised how many of them end up needing help with self trust after we unpack the original goal they came to be coached on. 

Here are my best tips to develop your self trust, based on what has helped me and the many clients I have worked with over the years. 

Let’s get straight into it… 

10 Simple Strategies to Cultivate Self-Trust

1- Identify and double down on your unique strengths ⇒ A tool I recommend is the StrengthsFinder assessment or WorkingGenius  (Note: the Clifton StrengthsFinder was rebranded to CliftonStrengths). For $60 USD, you can gain insight into your CliftonStrengths themes, which are your talent DNA. They shed light on the ways you most naturally think, feel and behave. Your unique combination of strengths remind you what unique gifts you bring to the world, like no one else. Working Genius helps you identify and appreciate your natural zone of flow in work settings. 

Not ready to take the assessment yet? No worries! Try just writing down your proudest achievements along with times of feeling in flow vs. drained so you can review them and assess your strengths. 

Investing in your strengths and talents creates a higher level of energy…it makes you happier and propels you forward. 

2- Love and be open about your weaknesses⇒  One of the big culprits behind a lack of trust is the fear of being seen as vulnerable. Yet, it’s in that vulnerability that we discover an inner strength – and even come to accept what we perceive as our weaknesses. 

When we hide our weaknesses, we create invisible walls between ourselves and others. It feels like we always have to protect ourselves to prevent others from seeing us as we really are. We can’t let our guard down. Sound familiar? 

When this happens, we avoid saying things like: 

“I don’t know.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I need help.”

This causes us to experience the feelings of being an imposter, like we’re not authentic. Unchecked, it sets off a cycle of consequences: we don’t trust ourselves > others don’t trust us > relationships are eroded > team performance is hindered.

What if your weakness is critical to your job performance? Find a way to delegate or make up for it, or even reassess job fit ( otherwise, it might drain you) 

 3- Do an honest scan of your relevancy ⇒ Assess your competence: How relevant are you to your industry? Be very honest with yourself. This is a tricky one because many of us are constantly trying to be so relevant, that we’re left feeling empty – like we’re never good enough.

Use my favorite rule here – the rule of 1! Identify the biggest improvement you need to make that will have the biggest impact. Then pick just ONE thing to learn in 6 months or a year’s time. Don’t overwhelm yourself or lose focus by trying to improve too many things at once – you’ll really only sacrifice progress when you do that. 

4- Know & live your values ⇒ This is one of my favorites! Everyone has values that drive them. Identifying your values helps you establish your own definition of success, makes decision-making easy, increases happiness, explains your frustrations, and reminds you why you might be making different decisions from others.

When you’re honest with yourself about who you are, what your values are, etc., outer things don’t trigger you as much – or at all. You can imagine how much this helps you cultivate self-trust.

Explore your values for achieving leadership success and fulfillment by downloading my free Core Value Worksheet here. 

5- Set realistic goals for yourself, and keep commitments firm  When you break a commitment you’ve made with yourself, what happens? You lose that sense of self-trust. And so many of us are guilty of that. The same is true when someone else breaks a commitment they’ve made to you – that sense of trust is eroded.

You are the most important person to keep commitments to!

We have been bombarded with messaging to set big, audacious goals. And while I love the idea of big dreams, start small. Set goals with yourself that you can truly wholeheartedly commit to. Are you really going to wake up every morning at 5:00 am to do a workout? Or are you setting up yourself for a constant sense of disappointment? What is instead, you take a look at your calendar, your lifestyle and priorities and set a cadence & timing that works for you and firmly honestly commit to that?  

6- Embrace mistakes & failures as part of becoming your best self. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way,” wrote Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning.

Wishing you could just go back and change a situation? Well… You can’t! As Frankl reminds us, that is when we face perhaps our greatest challenge – to change ourselves. A seeming “failure” can become one of the most powerfully transformative events of your life. 

The only way to avoid mistakes and failures is to do the same thing, over and over again, but is that the life that is worth living? 

7- Choose an abundance mindset ⇒ In other words, “there is enough for everyone” versus a focus on scarcity and lack. 

We are no longer in a zero-sum game of traditional economics – we are now liberated into the world of abundance. Abundance is not related to wealth – it is a way of being. 

        When I am negotiating, I truly believe there is a win-win for everyone.

        In the corporate world, I believe there will always be enough opportunities, even if they are not visible to me now.

        In meetings, I always believe there is enough recognition to go around.

 Trusting yourself more is a skill  

8- Trusting yourself is a skill ⇒ I’ve said before: “Trust is the invisible power that leads to visible results.” Treat it as a skill and set an intention to practice it!

 Skilled athletes don’t just magically make it to the top of their game – they make a commitment to develop their skills and they don’t get totally derailed when life throws a curveball their way. Follow this same strategy when it comes to cultivating self-trust – and the results just might surprise you.

 Start small and build on it:

  • Pay attention to what whispers you hear, to what your gut tells you – even if you are not ready to act on it yet.
  • Pick one of the strategies from the list, and actually do it!

9- Make space to hear yourself  Give yourself permission to:

  1. a)   Embrace Nature – take yourself away from the decisions for a little while to activate different parts of your brain to generate new connections and insights 
  2. b)   Be Still and Know – from Untamed, by Glennon Doyle who asserts “If you just stop moving, you will start knowing” 
  3. c)     Ask Your Heart– we take enough orders from the mind already, put your hand on the heart and just ask what it wants to do in a particular situation. 

 10 – Choose trust & surrender to better outcomes  Most of us know that outcomes are not truly within our control. We do, however, have the power of choice.

 Because research proves that trust begets itself, we know that if we choose to trust someone, the results can produce a ripple effect of positivity: if you choose to trust someone, not only do they perform better, they rely on you more, leading to you doing better in your interactions as well.

 Now apply that same concept – and make a conscious choice to trust yourself, too! 

Choosing trust is always the most courageous choice you can make.

Trust is a big part of my personal story. I feel I found my way back to myself through learning to trust. I know that will be true for you, too. As you start using these 10 simple tools, always remember: how can anyone else trust you – if you don’t first trust yourself? 

Ready to put this into practice? Get a practical set of tools you can start using right away to help you build greater self-trust…Check out my recorded LinkedIn Live, How to Trust Yourself. 

If you found this article helpful, consider signing up for my newsletter, A Cup of Connection, packed with observations and practical tools for your career & life. 

Let’s connect! Find me on LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/nataliyabecker

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