Confidence is one of those things that some people just seem to be born with. We all know someone like this; the person who walks into a room, instantly commands the attention of the crowd and nothing seems to faze them.
For some of us, though, it can sometimes seem impossible that we could ever embody this kind of self-assurance. Don’t give up just yet; there are a few habits you can start incorporating into your life to help skyrocket your confidence.
Below are five tips to help you improve your confidence.
1. Do It Anyway
Being brave or confident isn’t the ability to ignore fear or anxiety in a situation. Instead, it’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Start with small things that make you a bit uneasy and push through until you start to become more confident in that situation. If you need some help with ideas on things to you can read the following posts Try Something New and Do Something That Scares You!
It can be daunting at first, but try starting with something as small as saying good morning to someone you don’t know well, or introducing yourself to someone new.
2. "FAITH" It ‘Til You Make It
We have all heard that term, “Fake it till you make it”. I want t say don’t fake it but use “FAITH” instead.
You may feel like an anxious mess inside, but by portraying confidence on the outside, people will start to see you this way. This will have a positive effect on you and, in time, you will start seeing yourself in the same way others do. This is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – your mind is your superpower!
Put a smile on your face, keep going even if things start to appear uncertain, stand tall, energetically fill up a space, and try to remember a time where you felt more confident and externalise this feeling.
According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, channeling a moment when you were genuinely captivating can make you feel (and as a result, act) more confidently. Over time, this will begin to become a habit, and you will find that you’re no longer faking it, but it’s how you actually feel. Confidence isn’t a dirty word, btw.
3. Ask Others For Input
It’s often hard for us to see the good in ourselves, which can sometimes make us feel like we aren’t successful at much, especially if we are comparing our bed-head selves with the air-brushed highlight reel of others on the internet. Asking trusted friends or family to be honest and tell you some of the good traits they see in you can really help boost your confidence if you let it!
Be prepared to be surprised. You may find that some of the things you think you aren’t good at or aren’t good about you, others recognise as some of your best qualities.
Quit hanging onto any negatives you’ve had said to you, or you believe to be true about you, and focus instead on believing the positives. More poise, posture and power will come to light for you the more you celebrate even the smallest positives!
4. Use An Anchor or Totem
Confidence is a psychological tool that can help you work better and feel stronger. By creating a psychological anchor or totem, you can help to re-centre yourself when you feel like you’re in shaky territory.
For example, every time you feel confident, create and use an anchor like clicking your fingers to reinforce the feeling (this is my personal fave as it can be done pretty discreetly too).
An example of a totem, would be wearing glasses. When Clarke Kent, takes off his glasses, he stops being nerdy Kent and becomes his superman person. This concept is better explained in the book Alter Ego.
Soon, this feeling will become a habit. When you’re feeling nervous, take a moment to use the anchor/totem of your choice and soon your body will automatically react by kicking in with more sureness in your step and spirit.
Intentionally use this anchor/totem until it rewires the pathways in your brain to be as natural as breathing. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, and when it comes to creating courage on cue, can be extremely value career-wise too.
5. Practice In A Mirror
Confidence is a mental attitude. However, it is easy to tell if someone isn’t feeling confident through their physical appearance. For example, they may slouch, avoid eye contact, and look like they are trying to blend into the background. To avoid this, practice talking while standing in front of a mirror, or take a video of yourself.
Take note of the way you stand, where you are looking when you speak, your hand gestures and whether you do other small, uncertain gestures. For example, do you fidget, or look down often? Once you identify these, practice a little every day and try to eliminate the unconfident cues and replace them with more confident ones. These little things will help you appear more assured to others and boost your self-esteem as you see them respond positively.
As social psychologist and body language researcher Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, your posture can also increase confidence-boosting testosterone in the body and be a potential indicator of success. How cool is that!
So when you walk past a mirror today, strike your favourite superhero pose and claim those powers as your own!
A Final Thought
Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. Self-confidence is something that you learn to build up because the challenging world of business, and life in general, can deflate it.
Here are resources I highly recommend for more reading on this topic…