By: Sara Cruz
Confidence is the feeling or belief in one’s abilities or qualities. The truth is confidence can be a bit of a roller coaster, especially for a woman. Things are going great and you walk into a room like you own it, and then something happens that derails your confidence. You don’t walk quite as tall, don’t hold your head quite as high, and you don’t feel as empowered. Everyone can benefit from more confidence at one point or another, and I want to encourage you to implement these tips to catapult your confidence.
#1 Be willing to grow your confidence muscle.
It’s often in moments when you are uncomfortable that you are gifted the opportunity to grow your confidence. Think about the first time you drove a car. If you were anything like me, you were scared, awkward, and far from confident. I remember the more I practiced driving the more confident I became with my driving skills. This is the same with confidence. The more you practice acting and feeling confident, the more easily you will be confident. Become comfortable being uncomfortable and know that your first attempt may not be your best attempt, but it should be celebrated because you went for it. Raise your hand in that meeting. Offer to give the presentation. Learn a new skill. Talk to that stranger in the grocery store. Join that club or networking group. Commit to doing something once a week that puts you just outside your comfort zone, because that is where magic happens.
#2 Charm yourself before you harm yourself.
Are you speaking confidently? Think about it. You begin to believe what you say to yourself and to others about yourself. It may be unintentional, but if you are saying things like, “I can’t. I am not ____. I am nervous. I am uncomfortable,” you are brainwashing yourself and decreasing your confidence with the thoughts and words you are choosing. Think and speak confidently. When you notice those thoughts come up, stop yourself, and change it. Imagine you are saying what you are saying yourself to your boss, your best friend, your sister, or your daughter. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, you are no longer allowed to say it or think it about yourself.
#3 What you focus on grows.
When you are constantly focusing on pleasing others, you are feeding your worry and self-doubt and not feeding your confidence. When you focus on one negative comment or one person’s negative opinion, you are turning down the volume on all the great things that people have said about you. You are creating a habit of focusing on insecure feelings. Not everyone will love you, and that is totally okay, but focus on the good things that people say about you. I used to be the woman who could hear 100 compliments and ONE negative comment, and that ONE negative comment was all I focused on. Confidence train, derailed! Don’t ever derail your confidence train. You are amazing, brilliant, unique, and an expert with all that you do. Focus on the good, never the bad. Create an “I’m a ROCKSTAR” folder. What compliments have people given to you? What “thank you” messages have you gotten from people? If you have clients, what testimonials do you have from them? What have people said about you or to you that boosted your confidence? Make a list of at least ten compliments that you have received that made you feel amazing. Now take your list and create a file on your computer, on your phone, or in a physical folder of your ROCKSTAR status. This becomes your “I’m a ROCKSTAR” folder. Look at them frequently to boost your confidence. In moments when you are feeling less than stellar, take 30 seconds and read something from your “I’m a ROCKSTAR” folder. These comments and compliments are your new confidence arsenal. These are your focus. Build an impenetrable fortress around them. Stop dwelling on the negative comments and make it a habit to focus on the positive comments that boost your confidence and keep your confidence train moving along.
#4 Confidently own your expertise.
How do you do that? Write down everything that makes you an expert in your field. Include formal education and credentials, but also include your personal experiences. Some people will want your credentials, some people will want to feel like you understand them, and some will desire a combination of both, so include them all.
#5 Find a confident role model.
We all have women in our lives that we view as confident. Women we admire. Women we look up to. Think about who you view as confident and why. Think about how you are similar to them. That will catapult your own confidence when you consciously choose to recognize how you are similar to them. Also, think about 3-5 ways you can be more like them, and actually commit to doing it.
#6 Be interested and engaging.
In groups of people it becomes easy to blend in when you were born to stand out. The easiest way to feel confident and portray confidence in a group setting is to be interested and engaging. The loudest person in the group is not necessarily the most confident. Classy confidence is quiet, welcoming, and engaging. Don’t lead with your resume. Smile. Give and receive genuine compliments. Ask questions. Create a list of questions that you can ask in any situation, questions that are unique and thought provoking. You will stand out and be remembered.
#7 Wear it with confidence.
What you wear matters. If you don’t feel fired up and red carpet ready in what you are wearing, you won’t portray yourself as confident, powerful, and influential. As a woman, I have worn that dress that was less than comfortable. Maybe it was slightly tighter or shorter than I wanted, but I wore it anyway. It affected my experience and my impact at the event. I challenge you to open your closet and have a fashion show in front of a mirror. Find 3-5 outfits that are your POWER outfits. Prepare outfits you feel ready to take on the world in, and have them ready and accessible before you attend an event or a big meeting.
You are a powerful, brilliant, sophisticated, and confident woman. There are situations that can hinder your confidence, but only if you allow them to. Use these tips and own who you are, what you stand for, what you stand against, and empower yourself to stand tall, speak true and be a confident you.