“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”— Marianne Williamson
Self-confidence and the aura that comes with it can be a tricky beast to tame.
One negative thought can be enough to knock you back down to square one and have you feeling like crap if you’re not careful.
Take it from someone who knows. I grew up as a painfully shy kid, often believing I wasn’t as good or as deserving as everyone else. Aside from when with a select group of friends my confidence was stuck at rock bottom.
Even as I got older I’d struggle to relax and interact in social situations, feeling that I was too boring and not interesting enough to contribute to the conversation.
I feared that I’d be shunned or worse, laughed at.
Over time I came to the realisation that my lack of confidence was influencing the way I perceived not only myself but also the situations I was in. I began to do some research on how to boost confidence and discovered a wealth of information out there.
What follows is a selection of tips that I’ve found to be either surprisingly effective or reliably good at boosting my confidence. Some can be done quickly, whilst others will require some consistent effort.
“You have no control over other people’s taste, so focus on staying true to your own.”— Tim Gunn
Have you ever noticed how throwing clothes on and running out the house can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious? It puts you on edge and makes you hyper-aware of your appearance. Stop doing it.
Take the time required to shower, shave (if necessary) and dress nicely for an instant confidence boost. If you look good, you will feel good and this will breed confidence and positivity when you’re out and about.
Besides you never know who you might bump into, so take the time you need before going out.
“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.”— Dr. Robert Anthony
Flex that imagination muscle and visualise important meetings or events before they happen to increase confidence.
Try and visualise the event in as much detail as possible, think about what you’ll see, what you’ll hear and how you’ll feel. Focus on imagining how well things will go and how confident you will feel. By doing this you’ll find you not only feel more confident but you’ll behave more confidently too.
If when doing this, you have trouble seeing yourself as confident then mimicking the confident actions of someone you know also works.
“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”— T. Harv Eker
Posture plays a huge part in feeling and looking confident. Standing tall with your chest up and shoulders back scream confidence and can even trick you into feeling more confident too.
Practice standing up tall, with your chest up and shoulders back. Try to imagine a string coming out the top of your head pulling you into an upright position. This will help you look taller and broader whilst making you feel more confident and capable in the process.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”— Brené Brown
If you’ve ever wanted to do something and had to fight the little voice saying, “no this is hard, let’s not do it” then you know what negative self-talk is. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough, that you should just stop now and choose the easier route.
As this voice or negative self-talk grows in confidence and strength you lose yours, it zaps your positivity and drags you down. Fortunately, the key to overcoming this is simple, you need to think positive. When the voice says “no” you say “yes”, you ignore the negative and override it with the positive.
How you want to do this exactly is up to you, you could imagine yourself crushing the negative thoughts, throwing them away or turning them into positive thoughts.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”— J.M. Barrie
Doing something confidently is often about knowing something inside and out and being familiar with the action. Whether it’s public speaking, martial arts or something else entirely you need to know what you are doing and how to do it.
To be confident in something you must practice it. No one ever felt confident doing something for the first time, the tenth or even the hundredth time. For example; fighters shadow box, working on their moves over and over before they ever fight someone and public speakers practice in the mirror reading their speech until it’s perfect.
It comes down to this, practice increases your ability and ability breeds confidence.
“Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have.”— Brian Tracy
Whenever you find yourself out of your comfort zone whether by chance or choice, try faking it.
Think about how a confident person would act in that situation and do what they would do, you’ll be amazed at how soon you find yourself feeling confident and capable.
“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”— Peter T. McIntyre
Your relationship with fear and failure can hold you back and cause your self-confidence to plummet.
To help prevent this you need to change the way you think about both fear and failure. Try to see fear as the opportunity to progress and failure as the chance to gather valuable feedback on what you need to work on.
By doing this fear and failure become tools for progression instead of reasons not to do something.
Another great tip is to try and adopt an abundance mentality and know that if something doesn’t go to plan that yes, you may feel like crap for a while but ultimately, it’s ok, you can learn from it and move forward stronger.
Doing this will remove some of the negative impact of fear and failure and help you retain your confidence.
“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”— Thomas Alva Edison
Imagine if there was a pose you could hold for 2 minutes for an immediate boost in confidence. How would it feel to have that tool in your arsenal?
Luckily for you, it’s possible. In 2012 Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor gave a TED talk on ‘power posing’, a way of changing your body language to increase confidence. Covered in her talk (which I strongly recommend you watch) are several poses that can be used make you look and feel more confident.
Give it a go…
To rapidly increase self-confidence at any time, adopt what’s known as a high-power pose by planting your feet shoulder width apart and stretching your arms up overhead in a V shape. Hold for 2 minutes and reap the rewards.
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”— Wayne Dyer
Ok so maybe this one is a bit of a cliché, but it really works.
You see us humans are social beings, we thrive on social interaction, specifically positive social interaction. It can make us feel happy, confident and contented.
Think about how your mood changes when someone smiles back at you, or even how it changes when you just crack a smile to yourself. Next time you feel low in confidence, try smiling.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s at yourself or someone else, you’ll soon be feeling better.
Confidence plays a vital role in your ability to achieve success and happiness in your professional and personal life. It affects almost everything you do from what you think, to what you say and even how you look.
Using the tips in this post you can teach yourself how to be confident in almost any situation and start going after the things you want most in life.