When I was a manager, I was never very good at speaking at meetings. In fact, I hated them! Now, thinking back to that period in my life, I think it was mainly a lack of confidence in my skills and abilities.
If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would concentrate on. If you can resonate with all this, here are 11 ways you can boost your confidence.
1. Your lack of confidence is not so obvious.
You probably think that everyone in the room is looking at how you behave, speak and move. The truth is that people are all too often, absorbed in their own thoughts.
They are thinking about their next move, future plans and what they are going to have for dinner! Keeping this in mind helps you to become less intimidated by the people around you.
2. Be your hero for a day.
Who is your hero? You can bet your bottom dollar that they are full of self assurance and confidence. It probably oozes out of every pore in the way they dress, speak and walk! The secret is to pretend to be your hero and ask yourself how she or he would deal with this awful problem which is nagging you.
Stepping outside that vicious circle where you and the ‘problem’ spin around out of control is really helpful. You can imagine a different, happier ending when you pretend to be your hero.
3. Take a philosophical approach.
The break up was unpleasant and has left you feeling un-confident. Take a philosophical approach where you think this has been a useful experience. You learned that this person was not for you, you will recognize the warning signs the next time and the right person is waiting in the wings.
It just takes time but why beat yourself up for something which was not entirely your fault? You cannot win every game in the championship. Just think that you are still on a winning streak because you have a lot going for you.
4. Build your support team.
“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles
Choosing supportive friends will be essential to help you boost your confidence. These are the precious friends and family members who are always there to tell you that you can do it when faced with a problem, challenge or minor disaster.
Avoid toxic friends who are likely to point out the buts and ifs, rather than tell you to go for it. The classic one is where they say that there will be stiff competition for that dream job. Your support team will be rooting for you and egging you on. That makes all the difference.
5. Take a humorous approach.
“Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Most speakers tell a joke or maybe laugh a little at themselves. Why do they do this? Laughter produces those endorphins which makes everybody in the audience feel better and it also relaxes them. A lot of the tension goes.
The audience warms to the speaker and are generally much less critical. If you want to feel more confident, just watch one of the funny videos here. You will immediately feel better. I love the one with Mayson Zayid whose talk is entitled ‘I got 99 problems … palsy is just one.’
6. Watch your body language.
Do you walk or slouch? Is your handshake firm? Making eye contact is vital when you are networking or speaking at a meeting. There is no doubt that body language sends a powerful message. Why not take advantage of it and convince others and, more importantly yourself, that you are confident and you can meet all the challenges with ease?
Watch Amy Cuddy on how important body language is when we want to feel confident.
7. Build a Pinterest board.
What does your future look like and how do you want your life to be? One of the best ways is to build a vision board. You can have a notice board in your kitchen with favorite quotes and pictures that inspire you. This is difficult to organize and you may not have the space you need.
Why not build a Pinterest board? Repin the images and the quotes that build your confidence and also that fit in with your goals. You get a vision of your future and this will help to build your confidence. Taking a few minutes a day to do this is much more fruitful than trying to keep up with all your Facebook ‘friends’.
8. Self-confidence is about you.
“Self-confidence is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.”- Nathaniel Branden
Think of it like this. Your confidence is like the motor that drives you. If that is defective in some way, then you will never even get into top gear. You are held back because of the fear of failing. But if you have a superb engine, then you are going to race ahead and achieve success. That is real confidence.
Watch out for the triggers that can affect your confidence level. You may be late for work and rushed into a meeting, in which your performance is dismal. Plan ahead so that these triggers do not get a chance to catch up on you.
9. Cut down on the negativity.
Everybody gets overwhelmed at times by the negative self-talk that we inflict on ourselves. There are about 80,000 thoughts that flash through the brain every day. Let us think of some practical examples. We may be assaulted by worries, doubts and problems. They crowd in on us.
But a good tactic is always to ask yourself if it is really true. Very often, the answer is that is based on a negative scenario which is like a contagious disease, infecting every train of thought. The secret is to cultivate a state of mindfulness and choose to take another road at the negative intersection. This is a great chance to build new, positive beliefs and stories about ourselves. “I have achieved so much,” needs to be your mantra.
10. Give yourself a daily mini confidence boost.
Listen to your favorite music or wear those clothes that make you look and feel really great. Read some inspiring poem or quote. Write it on a post it and place it on your computer at work. These little boosts of confidence can set the tone for a much more positive day.Try them out.
11. Teach others and benefit yourself.
When you set the example for your loved ones and colleagues by teaching them to be more confident, you will be surprised at your own results. Yes, teaching it by complimenting and encouraging people around you will pay you handsome dividends. Walk the talk and you find that your own confidence levels will soar as a result.
Featured photo credit: Mona Lisa Eyes/Emilio Labrador via flickr.com