What I find when I work with my clients on this particular issue, is that self-confidence doesn’t affect ALL areas of our lives at all—only some of them. Some of us might be terrified of speaking in public but have no problem cooking a four-course meal for 20 people. And if you’re confident in some areas of your life, then you can be confident in others, right? Our confidence is there, but sometimes it’s in the background. Here are just three ways you can bring it to the forefront when you need it…
- Exercise it every day
If you think of your confidence like a muscle that you’d like to define and strengthen, then you’ve got to work it. You’ve got to exercise it or it doesn’t get stronger. You’ve got to use it and challenge it a little more each week to build its resistance, instead of doing the same exercises, because if nothing changes, nothing changes. The best workout you can do to strengthen your self-confidence is to step outside of your comfort zone a little more each week, or with each opportunity you have. This doesn’t mean that you have to go sky-diving one week and climb Kilimanjaro the next, but it does mean that you’re going to set yourself weekly tasks to complete. Tasks could include speaking to a new person in a queue or going to a network meeting with the objective of delivering your elevator pitch to two people. Just make sure your confidence mile-markers are specific and measurable.
- Get Competent
Competence breeds confidence. When you think of a situation where you’re confident, I bet it’s an area you are competent or knowledgeable in? Get competent about your topic, get competent about your next presentation, get competent for that upcoming interview, because that gives you confidence. Speak to people who are already in the know, ask better questions, and carry out your research so that you can discuss your topic with confidence. This doesn’t mean that you have to know everything about your topic at all, because that’s unrealistic. I’m confident in what I do as a coach, because I’ve built up, and continually build on, my competence to do it. This also gives me the confidence to be honest about aspects of coaching I don’t have the answers to—yet!
- Fake it until you make it
You’ve probably heard of the “Superhero- Pose” or “Power-Pose” of standing with your feet hip-width apart with your hands on your hips? Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, found that taking up a short “power pose,” an open and expansive stance, can actually change body chemistry and make people feel more confident—allowing them to fake it until they make it. Yes, I’m aware that the science of these power-poses is an on-going study, but the evidence is there in the studies to show that in many cases changing your physiology does change how you feel. You don’t see people who want to project power and confidence with slouched shoulders and heads hanging low. They know that they’re judged on their appearance from the first glance before they’ve even opened their mouths and so making sure that their physiology is congruent with the image they want to portray is crucial.
As a Breakthrough Impostor Syndrome Coach, Linda works with executives to ignite their confidence, accept their seat at the top table and own their success. If you’d like to know more about how Linda can help you, contact her today for your free consultation at Linda@lindabonnarcoaching.com