Create your own cheering squad.

Illustration: I Love Dust

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Having a passionate group of supporters fosters a sense of belonging, which can translate to a feeling of security—something that helps us build confidence. I'm not saying you can't be self-assured if you usually think of yourself as a lone ranger. But there is often strength in numbers, and identifying the right people to root for you can make a significant difference in the way you approach challenges. Athletes competing in high-pressure situations gain a measurable confidence boost from being cheered on by their peers; it can literally help propel them to victory, according to researchers. It's important for you to feel just as encouraged as you go through life.

But finding the right allies is a little like picking out a perfect mate: Sometimes you can spot a keeper right away; most of the time, you stumble upon one through trial and error. To focus your search, consider these questions when you meet someone new:
  • Do I feel a real connection to this person?
  • Am I comfortable opening up to her?
  • Has she ever said anything that would make me doubt myself?
Once you find your fans, remember yours isn't a one-sided relationship: As your cheerleaders champion you, you'll be inspired and required to return the favor.

Dr. Phil's latest book is Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World (Bird Street).

Next: Dr. Phil's 6 rules of communication