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9 Keys To Confidence

9 Keys To Confidence

You see THEM all around you:

Walking confidently into a bar and asking someone for their number.

Expressing their views in a company town hall meeting.

Asking the dreaded question to their boss. All these folks are reeking of confidence!! Do you wish you had the confidence that they possess, to do the things they do and say the perfect things they say?

When you hear the word ‘successful’ who comes to your mind first? Someone on TV or real life who seems to feel no fear and says the perfect thing and does things confidently, right? Yes, Confidence is tied to success, and vice versa.

There are several assumptions we make about these confident people.
Firstly, we assume confident people are born that way and possess a natural ability to do or say things that you cannot do or say. They can walk into a bar and talk to someone, because it is an innate ability that they possess. Because of their ‘inborn gift’, they can go anywhere, say anything and do anything.

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Fortunately, that is not true! Confidence is a learnable skill. No one was born feeling confident or not confident. We were all born as clean slates. The years of social conditioning and all the other factors make us adopt certain mindsets. Would you be surprised if I told you that you can feel confident this very moment? Yes, you can tell yourself that you need to feel confident right now and you can probably turn it on like a switch. The only difference is that the switch does not stay on forever and will probably flick down in a minute after you adopt that attitude and mindset. The later part of this article will address how to adopt and sustain the confidence mindset.

Another assumption about confidence is that confident people are never scared. Again, this is untrue. Confident people can be scared like the rest of us; they have the same set of limiting thoughts and fears that make them feel not confident at times. What sets them apart is their ability to rise above these fears and forge ahead despite them.

The third assumption is that confident people are confident in all areas of their lives. This isn’t necessarily true. Someone who is confident to ask their boss for a raise may not necessarily feel confident to ask someone out on a date, or vice versa.

Confidence is not necessarily about knowing all the answers; it’s about being able to move forward knowing that you will figure it out. It is knowing that you can handle whatever comes at you.

Here are some strategies and tips for upping your confidence level to make it ever-lasting. Like with all mind-related work, these tools and strategies will produce results only if they are ingrained in the DNA of your being. That begins with consciously practicing them until living in this way becomes a truly ingrained habit.

1. Awareness of your strengths

Not many of us have consciously taken time to understand our own strengths. Being aware of one’s own strengths is an important tool in boosting confidence. There are many online resources and books to help you find your own strengths. StrengthFinder 2.0 is a great book and also provides an online assessment to identify your top strengths. You will be surprised at how spot on it is. The key for success with this strategy is to identify your strengths and constantly remind yourself of them. Make a a list of these strengths and keep it in a handy spot like your wallet, your work desk, or your mirror. That way you can constantly remind yourself of your strengths and play to them. Playing to your strengths will help in making you feel confident about your abilities and provide a constant boost.

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2. Confidence-competence loop

The more you do something, the better you become. When you first started riding a bike, you faltered and fell a few times. But you kept at it. The more you tried it, the better you got. And one day, you were able to ride successfully without falling, to the point that you now thoroughly enjoy riding the bike. This is the same competence-confidence loop that you can employ in other areas of your life.

Try it during situations that make you feel uncomfortable and not confident. If you hate eating alone at a restaurant, do it every day for the next 2 or 3 weeks. It’s going to feel weird and uncomfortable at first. The first few times you are not going to feel confident and the hour could feel long. But by the end of the third week, i guarantee you will feel more confident. If you fear public speaking, do it enough and you will see that fear disappear. Very soon, you will be delivering presentations with confidence and ease. This is also tied to the next tip.

3. What’s the worst that can happen?

Often times, that little voice in our heads stops us from doing something and asks questions like:

“Am I sure? Does this make sense for me? Am I capable of this? Do I know all I need to know to do a good job? What if I don’t succeed? What if people laugh at me?” and so on.

That’s when asking a simple question like “What’s the worst that can happen?” may offer a different perspective and a potential way to turn that voice off. What’s the worst that can happen when you try to ask someone out on a date? They could say no. Is that the end of the world? Filter your thoughts through the lens of abundance. Try the ‘whats the worst that can happen?’ tactic the next time that little voice in your head starts asking questions.

4. Past successes

“The more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones” – Jack Canfield.

Jack captures the essence of this strategy perfectly with this above quote. Even small successes are successes to be noted and celebrated. Every small step that is accomplished towards a major goal is still a step to be celebrated. Sometimes we are so lost in reaching the end goal, we forget to acknowledge the little steps that we take and the little achievements we reach on our path to the goal. Each of these successes from your past should be resurrected in your memory often, serving as a reminder about your abilities and again injecting you with a confidence boost.

5. Preparation

For certain tasks, just preparing well ahead of time soothes that negative voice in the head and prevents it from popping up again. Preparing for a speech that you do not feel confident delivering, or a meeting with your boss, or anything that can be prepared for, is definitely a surefire tactic for increasing confidence.

6. Say thank you for compliments

When someone compliments you for anything – for your work, the way you did something, the way you said something or simply for the way you look, how do you react? Do you shrug it off and say ‘it was nothing’, ‘I am not sure why I was given this award’, I don’t deserve it’, ‘I just got lucky this time around’… all these are indicators of weakened confidence.

You do not believe enough in yourself to accept compliments.

Switch out that thinking and start accepting compliments graciously. When given a compliment learn to say thank you comfortably, thanking the person for recognizing your efforts and offering support. It is a display of belief in yourself which repeated consciously over a period of time begins to deeply seat itself in your mind- leading to stronger levels of confidence.

7. Fake it ’til you make it

There are 2 opposing views on this strategy. Some advocates strongly believe that ‘faking it ’til you succeed’ can increase your confidence and thereby increase your competence. The opposing view believes that it is not ethically right to fake it in the first place. I suggest an in-between approach.

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You’ve heard of dressing for success. It is a form of faking it ’til you make it. You dress ‘up’ to get the job you want. That does not mean you are not competent or that you are faking it. It means that you want the job and believe you can perform well in that role, and you are displaying that attitude in your external appearances as it relates to the job. You can’t fake being a professional singer if all you do is sing in the shower. But if you are a great singer with true capabilities and experience, looking for better singing opportunities, using a little ’embellishment’ is not wrong. In fact, you are not even faking it at that point.

8. The power of affirmations

Affirmations are simple, positive, and specific statements written in the present tense with the sole purpose of changing one’s thoughts. These sentences help in strengthening and reinforcing beliefs you need to achieve success. Affirmations practiced faithfully rewire the brain and help us break negative thought patterns. The best thing about affirmations is that there is no limit to the number of affirmations you can create and say- and each affirmation can be unique for you and for the thought pattern you are trying to break.

The key to finding success with affirmations is through repeating the affirmations on a consistent basis, preferably multiple times- and saying them with conviction. Give this a power boost by standing in front of the mirror and saying these affirmations as you look at yourself. Some examples of affirmations for boosting self-confidence are:

  • I have confidence in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to;
  • I am discovering more wonderful things about myself with each passing day;
  • I truly like myself and this helps others to accept me for who I am;
  • I believe in myself completely;
  • I believe that I can achieve anything I want;
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless;
  • My potential to succeed is infinite;
  • I acknowledge my own self-worth; 
  • My confidence is soaring.

9. Gratitude

In today’s fast paced society, we are generally lost in the daily grind of life and the tendency is to focus on the negative and the bad things that make life a challenge at times. We forget to think about and appreciate the positive. Appreciating each and every small blessing in our lives becomes a task taken for granted and we even forget that those little blessings are in fact blessings that make our life beautiful in some way.

Another great habit to form is the habit of making time to be grateful. Start a gratitude journal and spend 2-3 minutes every night expressing 3-5 things in your life that you are thankful for. Write them down. The power of the written word has been constantly proven to be stronger than the spoken. What you are grateful for every night need not be something profound. Small things like the smell of freshly baked cookies, hugs from your kids, to big things like a promotion at work, or an hour of uninterrupted reading could be things to be thankful for. Some days, I am just thankful to be alive- healthy and kicking. There is no limit to the number of things you can be grateful for. Make this a daily habit and see a tremendous change in your attitude to people and life. You’ll also see your confidence surging ahead when you realize what a great life you have.

As mentioned earlier, all these strategies and tools involve conscious effort and repetition until they become ingrained into your life. But the effort is well worth it when you see a constant upsurge in your confidence levels.

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What other strategies do you use to up-level your confidence?

Featured photo credit: http://www.imcreator.com/free/business/suit-and-tie-2 via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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