5 Ways You Can Feel More Confident Today!

Standard

An asian women in a blue bikini top holding up her arms and letting a blue scarf stream behind her

Confidence doesn’t come all at once, but little by little, the small changes that you make today will become the things you do naturally and you won’t have to think about feeling confident, you just will. Every work day for the next week, think about using one of these tips, and just watch your confidence grow.

  1. Walk Faster
    One of my favourite TV shows as a teenager was The West Wing. It taught me a lot about politics, but mostly I learned that the people in charge walk like they know where they’re going. Confident people walk with purpose, because they know where they’re going and why. So stride out with purpose and see how much more confident you feel.
  2. Compliment Other People
    When you’re not worrying about your own skills and talents, you have so much more time to notice the great things being done by those around you. Conversely, when you’re trapped in a cycle of negative thinking, you often pick at those around you. Make sure you’re focused on the positive when working with others and you’ll naturally focus on the positive within.
  3. Sit In the Front Row
    People who know they have something to add to a conversation sit in a place where they can take part in the conversation. Those who are afraid of being noticed because they’re afraid to be called on sit at the back. So when you’re in a meeting or a presentation, take a seat in a place where you can be part of the conversation, because you’re thoughts will add a perspective to a debate that’s otherwise missing.
  4. Write A Personal Elevator Pitch
    Those veterans of networking meetings will know that every business needs a 30 second pitch which explains what they do, and why they can help to any audience. Why don’t you have one that explains you? Take some time to come up with a brief pitch that explains who you are, your interests, and your talents. Even if you just deliver it to yourself in the mirror, you can’t help but feel good when you explain what you do better than anyone else.
  5. Speak Out
    Those voices which are usually the most valuable in a discussion, are often the ones missing. When we don’t feel confident, we lose our voices to the fear of being wrong or being different. Whether it’s joining a conversation, putting your point across in a meeting, or writing that email that you’ve been wanting to write, speaking out is vital. As soon as you do, you’ll be amazed as how valuable others find your contributions, and that will give you the confidence to keep doing it.

If you’ve got any great ideas on how to build confidence, let us know! You can drop us a comment here, tweet us @tnw_hants, find us on Facebook, or email us at TheNextWordHampshire@gmail.com

Image by Flickr user Yakobusan used under a Creative Commons Licence

 

Advertisements

‘Doing’ Confidence

Standard

Wonder Woman standing with her hands on her hips

Confidence doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, for some of us, and that definitely includes me, it never comes naturally. Sometimes it feels like I’m forever fighting the doubters in my head who tell me I can’t do it, it’s too hard, or it will make me look stupid. I’m learning not to listen though, and that makes a difference.

One thing I have learned though is that it’s not enough to just try not to listen to my own fears and doubts. As humans we always learn better by doing. Activity sticks in our mind, and ‘doing’ confident is a huge leap forward in the battle to be confident.

I’m not always the biggest believer in self-help techniques, but I heard about this one last year, and it actually works. Did you know that by adapting a power pose – one which is open and expansive and has non-verbal cues which are interpreted as dominant – we can increase the hormones that make us assertive, and decrease the ones that make us stressed? In other words, stand like Wonder Woman, legs a shoulder width apart and with your hands on your hips and you will naturally feel more confident and in control. There are very real, biological ways in which by ‘doing’ confident we can ‘be’ more confident.

If you’re a verbal learner then there are ways to ‘do’ confidence too. We hear our fears telling us we’re not good enough, so many confidence coaches suggest looking in a mirror and telling ourselves the truth: we are good enough, our businesses are good enough, we deserve success and praise for the things we do well, and when things go wrong they don’t devalue us as people.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘Fake it til you make it’. I don’t think this means we should lie about who we are, but that sometimes we have to do something before we can really believe we can do it. So this week, try and ‘do’ confidence. You might just find that suddenly it starts to come naturally.

Confidence Comes from Community

Aside

Three women standing together and smiling

I’m not really one for slogans, but this is one I really and truly believe in: Confidence Comes from Community. Confidence is hard for pretty much all of us, at one time or another, it’s a universal experience. And while the first step in increasing your own confidence is to make a decision to value yourself as much as you deserve in all avenues of life, getting started entirely on your own is impossible.

How often have we all found that we can’t see the wood for the trees. The things we can see least clearly are the things closest to us, and whatever kind of work that you do, I’m sure you’ll find that getting a fresh perspective from a trusted colleague or mentor can be the most useful way to get past a block that’s come up in a project or task. The same is absolutely true in getting past a block in confidence.

Most people are far more critical of themselves than they are of those around them. When we look at ourselves, the flaws we see tend to overwhelm us and distort the picture. A photographer in Chicago noticed that many of her clients hated having their picture taken, telling her that they hated to see pictures of themselves and making self-deprecating remarks about their appearance. Working with a makeup artist friend, she created a project where she’d take two pictures of people, the first with makeup used to enhance all the things that the model felt were wrong with their appearance, and the second with no makeup at all. The pictures are staggering, and show just how huge the gulf is between how we see ourselves and how we really are, and showing us how much help we can need to see ourselves as we really are.

The first step to real confidence is deciding to be confident, the second step is asking trusted colleagues, friends and mentors to help us see our own strengths. Nobody is perfect, and we all have areas of weakness. In fact, even our strengths are things that we should be constantly striving to improve on. But we should appreciate the things we’re good at and recognise the ways in which we contribute, both at work and in our wider lives.

This week you’ll probably be paid a compliment. It might be at work, or it could be at home. How many times, when we’re paid compliments do we try and shrug them off, as if we somehow feel that the compliment is undeserved. This week, when you’re paid a compliment try just saying thank you, trusting that this person recognises your strengths, and when you have the opportunity to make those around you aware of their own strengths, make sure you take it. Little by little, as we learn to trust those around us to help us see our strengths, we can build a community that helps us all be confident.

The article about the photographer is here.

Photo from Flickr user Albonet and used under a Creative Commons License

Taking Action on Confidence

Standard

5215562371_8dff3566ba_b

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.” – Dale Carnegie

In business, as well as in life, taking that first step is one of the hardest things you can ever do. The things that hold us back are as individual as each of us, but if we were brave enough to admit them we might find that we have many of them in common. One of those things which we would probably all admit to is a lack of confidence.

To be successful in business we have to have confidence in ourselves, in our businesses, in our products, in our services, in our colleagues, in our subordinates, in our partners… The list goes on and on, and when our confidence fails us – at whatever link in the chain – then we’re unable to give our businesses our all, we limit what we think we can achieve and therefore limit what we can achieve.

It’s been well documented in the press over the past couple of years just how much the confidence gap between men and women hurts the achievements of women. It’s causes have equally frequently been discussed. But if we all know we lack confidence, and we all know it’s hurting us, how can we change that? At times it feels like an insurmountable task.

The simple answer, although it never seems simple, is that we have to choose to take action. Each of us has to make a conscious choice to realise that so many of the negative thoughts we have come from our fears, not from our rational analysis of the situation at hand. To really acheive the success we deserve, we have to accept that we are good enough, our businesses are good enough and our products are good enough. After all, if we don’t have confidence in what we’re doing, how will our customers?

There are a lot of practical ways to work on confidence, and a lot of ways in which improving your confidence will provide huge rewards for your business. Over the next few weeks The Next Word will be looking at some of them, so we hope you’ll join us.

 

photo via Francesca Guadagnini on Flickr, used via a Creative Commons Licence

Afternoon Inspiration

Quote

Decide what it is that you are and then stay true to that thing. My brand is based very much on how I live my day-to-day life – Rachael Ray

The first thing you will ever sell is yourself. Spend time thinking about who you are and why people should do business with you rather than with anyone else. The have the confidence to tell the people you meet exactly that.