“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Fear exists at the heart of every unfulfilled dream. If there is something in our life that we want, we are going to have to confront some fears in order to get it. Having confidence in our ability to achieve goals, to move forward in the face of fear, and to accomplish our desires, is critical if we are going to live a life that is personally fulfilling and meaningful. Not everyone is born with natural confidence. Some people struggle, and for many people, difficult circumstances in their own lives can really impact their self confidence.
So what can be done? Anyone can develop more self confidence if they take some simple actions and, more importantly, build these actions into habits.
Here are 10 ways to instantly have confidence.
1. Put a Little Effort Into Our Appearance
Sounds simple, but it really works. When we put effort into our appearance, our dress, and our grooming, we feel better about ourselves. Does this mean that we have to be savvy to all the latest fashions and spend a large chunk of our savings on wardrobe upgrades? Not likely. The most important thing is that we build a habit of doing the best with what we have, and small simple improvements in the ways we present ourselves will have a positive impact on how we feel and our confidence. A secret weapon when it comes to our appearance: shoes. Take good care of our shoes. Upgrade them if necessary. Good looking shoes go a long way for a good feeling person.Advertising
2. Do An Act Of Service For Someone Else
This is critical. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to our emotions. Many times, we feel bad about ourselves simply because we are focused too much on “our self”. Getting outside of the self can be truly refreshing, empowering and goes a long way to building your self confidence. Where to start? Look around, there are people everywhere. Find someone and do something nice for them. Then find someone else and do something nice for them. After a while, you’ll be amazed at how great you feel.
3. Be Prepared
Sometimes a lack of confidence is as simple as a lack of preparation. Nervous about that job interview? How well did we prepare? Nervous about that upcoming exam? How well did we study? Nervous about not making those sales targets? What was our preparation like? How effectively did we work? Action is the best antidote to anxiety and fear. Being perfectly prepared for whatever we are about to do will give us confidence. When we know that we have made the best possible preparations for what we are about to do, we will be more confident.
4. Take A Look At Our Posture
Seems funny, but it actually works. How do you stand? Do you slouch? What is your posture like when you are sitting? When you stand up straight, and sit with correct posture in your chair, you feel better about yourself. You’re able to breath easier and this oxygen supply does wonders for your brain and our body. You need oxygen to feel good and sometimes your lack of oxygen can be traced to poor posture.Advertising
5. Set a “Micro-Goal” And Achieve It
Confidence is based on a belief that we are capable of achieving things, therefore we don’t need to be scared. Sometimes we get into a rut where we don’t feel like we are capable of achieving anything. When this happens it can be hard to start, and big goals seem almost out of the question. So what you need to do in this instance is to set a “micro-goal” and then achieve it. A “micro-goal” is a very small goal that is in your power. For instance, if you have a sales based career, simply make a goal of picking up the phone and calling 5 people. Don’t even focus on making a sale. Just achieve the goal of calling. Why does this work? Because it gives you momentum and it signals the brain that you can achieve things. If you do it over and over and over again – set a small goal and then achieve it – you’ll will be pleasantly surprised at how you feel.
7. Change One Tiny Habit
When we get stuck in a “confidence rut” it can be very hard to change major habits. We just don’t believe that we are capable of change, and we don’t have the momentum to support our desire. So I’m not talking about changing big habits here, like “stop smoking”. I’m talking about tiny habits, like making a bed, or waking up 10 minutes earlier, or choosing a salad instead of fries. Tiny habits work because, like setting micro-goals, they give us momentum. Once you change one thing, you’ll want to change others, and best of all, you develop confidence from your past victories. Since you have changed one thing, you know you are capable of changing others.
Sounds trite, but it really works. When we smile we are happier. When we are happier we have more self-confidence. It’s also contagious. Think about you day-to-day life. When you go for a coffee break and the server gives you a warm smile, does it make you upset? Does it make you angry and really depressed? Not at all. Sometimes that little gesture is exactly what you need to make you feel better about what is otherwise a difficult day. When you smile, and when others smile at you, we all feel better. When you feel better, you have more confidence.Advertising
9. Make A List of 10 Things That We Are Grateful For
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools against depression and lack of confidence. What is one of the quickest ways to feel grateful? Simply make a list. Make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for. When the list is done, read it. By the time you’ve done that, you’re sure to feel better about yourself. You realize that life isn’t that bad and that there are many good things in your life, right now. This attitude of gratitude helps you feel more confident about moving forward and making new things happen.
10. Get Active and Start Exercising
As Tony Robbins has said, “emotion is created by motion”. If we want to feel good, we need to move and breathe. Moving increases our oxygen intake which increases our happiness and general sense of well being. Exercising cuts fat, builds muscle and improves our skin tone and appearance. We will instantly feel better because of the oxygen intake, but if we make this step a lasting habit, we will also soon reap the benefits of looking into the mirror and being pleased with the results that we see – results that we have created through our actions. This will increase our confidence.
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.
If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:
You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.
You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.
In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.
You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.
People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.
You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.
You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.
Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.
Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:
- Understand your own communication style
- Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
- Communicate with precision and care
- Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger
1. Understand Your Communication Style
To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.
In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.
Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.
2. Learn Others Communication Styles
Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.
If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:
“How do you prefer to receive information?”
This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.
To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.
3. Exercise Precision and Care
A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.
Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.
I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.
I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.
In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.
The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.
Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.
4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger
Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.
In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,
“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”
Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.
Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.
It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.
It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.
It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.
Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.
Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.
The Bottom Line
When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.
I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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