One of the biggest things that held me back from pursuing my dreams was a lack of confidence. From the outside, I appeared to be confident but I knew I didn’t own my confidence and that was something I knew was essential to be successful. If you have ever heard the term “fake it until you make it”, it actually has a lot of merit behind the saying.
Confidence is a state of mind, a forced action and it is the one thing you are totally in control over. Every one at some stage has faced fear and the only way to overcome it was to show confidence, whether it was real or not. Learning to own your confidence helps put you back in the drivers seat and gain better control over your life.
How did I begin to own my confidence?
For some people this is easier than others as it comes quite naturally. For me it was easier to shy away and use the excuse I am not a confident person. However, I knew that anything in life worth achieving usually required lots of work and I knew I was a hard worker. I began to realise that owning my confidence wasn’t as scary as I thought once I found ways to help me overcome my ability to stop hiding behind excuses.
It’s all in the presentation.
Confidence begins and ends with you. If you present yourself well by dressing nicely and grooming, it is only natural that at least from the outside you will appear to be confident. The difference you will feel when you leave the house knowing you have done everything to make yourself feel good will be amazing. Heels and makeup are my secret weapons. When I have beautiful heels on and take the time to put on a little lipstick, I feel like a woman who can handle any challenge.
Eliminate negative self-talk.
Nothing good ever happens from negative self-talk. The more you tell yourself that you cannot do something or that you are not good at something, the more you will actually believe it. Tell yourself you are smart. Tell yourself you are capable. Tell yourself you can do this. No one else has to hear you talk so say whatever you want as it’s between you and you. I still fall victim to negative self-talk but when I hear myself using words that will achieve nothing, I pretend I am talking to my best friend and soon the words change from ‘you are not good enough’ to ‘Go girl, you will kick arse’.
Understand how your body reacts to fear.
A great way to begin to own your confidence is to understand how you react in a stressful situation. Are you a sweater? Are you a nervous fiddler? Do you mumble? It doesn’t matter how you react just know what it is and this is where you work hard to eliminate. If you sweat, make sure you have the best deodorant and a suitable outfit to disguise the evidence. If you fiddle, make sure you hold something in your hand at all times like a pen. If you mumble, practice talking in front of the mirror. For me, my hands tend to shake when I am talking in front of a group. So now I always hold a pen (not paper as it shows you are shaking) and this takes my attention away from the nerves.
When the body is hunched over it is like a protective mechanism and creates negative thoughts. By opening up your body, pulling back your shoulders and taking deep breaths, it gives the feeling of being positive and when you feel this way, your confidence will grow. I have always walked tall and I am aware of folding my arms in a negative way when in a crowd too.
Take time to think before you speak.
Many situations involve speaking either in a crowd or in front of a group and this can destroy any confidence you build up. However, by taking your time before responding to question or talking with others, it allows your brain to decipher what has been said correctly and create an intelligent response. This one I fail at often as I can get all tongue tied and start talking before I really understand what the conversation is actually about.
Gift yourself with knowledge.
By empowering yourself with information, when it comes to your time to speak, you will feel confident that you know what you are talking about and others will not laugh. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not know the answer, it is better to admit you are unsure but you will find out the answer for them. I was told as a child that information was power and having that power in your hand can only build confidence.
Have a solution.
It is great to have all these ways to build confidence but what happens when things don’t go your way. The best solution is to have a ‘worst case scenario’ and have a plan to deal with it. That way if something doesn’t work out as planned, your not left standing there looking and feeling ridiculous. This is something I have always feared, not knowing what to do when things go really bad. I can laugh at myself but when I’m trying to build myself up, it no longer seems funny when people are laughing at what I have done.
The mind is powerful but sometimes it needs a little helping hand. To think positive you need to read positive affirmations and surround yourself with positive people. Start slowly but if done on a regular basis, you might be surprised how the glass starts to look half full all the time. Everyday I read positive affirmations and everyday (well most days) I see the world in a positive light so it makes challenges easier to handle.
The most attractive asset I see in any person is their confidence. I notice a confident person walk into a room and I am naturally drawn to them. This is the person I strive to be, the one people want to be around and capture some of my confidence.