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5 Ways to Feel Confident in Under 5 Minutes

5 Ways to Feel Confident in Under 5 Minutes

If there is one event that is sure to strike fear in every fibre of your being, it is having to deliver a best man speech. It’s a mixture of honour that you have been asked, but also dread that you have to not only talk in front of hundreds of people, but are expected to be at least a little bit funny!

About a year ago, I had to be that guy when I was asked to be best man and deliver a speech. On the day, the moment crept closer and closer with each hour that passed. Feeling nervous, I needed to utilise every confidence trick I had in order to not appear like a mumbling wreck.

What is confidence?

When asked what prevents aspiring actors and directors from fulfilling their ambition, the famed director Francis Ford Coppola simply replied, “self-confidence”. When people think of confidence, it is seen as an elusive trait that others have but they don’t. They tell themselves that lack of confidence is why they don’t have the job they want, the partner they want, or the skills they need.

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The truth is confidence is what appears after you go for what you want; it is the result of stepping into the unknown in spite of feeling nervous or fearful. This can take time, however, and in the meantime there are certain tricks you can implement that temporarily make you feel confident while you work on confidence being a default habitual state.

Below are 5 patterns my clients and I have used in order to feel confident quickly. Have a play and notice how much more confident you feel afterwards.

1. Tall posture

Walk around any city and as you people-watch, pick out the ones who lack confidence. 9 times out of 10 the people you choose will be looking down at the ground, shoulders hunched forward, taking up as little space as possible. How you hold yourself physically plays a big part in how your hold yourself mentally, so in order to begin to feel confident, you should hold your body in a way that communicates confidence. This means standing tall, shoulders & head back, being aware of what is around you, and keeping hand motioning to an absolute minimum. After ensuring you adopt this posture, don’t be surprised when people start to see you as a confident individual.

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2. Change your environment

Recent research aimed at those who spent their whole day in offices found that spending just two minutes walking in areas with a lot of greenery can have a positive effect on one’s mood. The reason this worked was because when you change your environment you change the stimuli that is going into your brain—this affects your moment-by-moment perception of the world.

An example of this would be writers who feel their most creative in bustling coffee shops. In order to make full use of this pattern, think of places you frequent where you feel your most creative, happiest, relaxed. Aim to go to these places when you feel low in confidence.

3. Do something you are good at

Whenever you are doing something new, like speaking in public or learning a new skill, you are putting yourself in a position where you might fail. Web humans like to protect our egos, so we tend to feel bad when we fail and ultimately wonder if we should quit, but any skill that’s worthwhile will always be preceded by failure as you go through the process of learning.

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By combining this process with doing something you are good at, you won’t find yourself in the depths of despair 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you do something you are good at, you feel good and your confidence is high. Be aware of your strengths and do them daily.

4. Reframe

Low confidence is always solidified with negative thoughts, and your thoughts will influence your behaviour and decision. A reframe can change the direction of your thoughts. The easiest way to reframe your thoughts are via questions: When you ask a question, your brain hunts for an answer, so you can take advantage of this by asking questions that can allow you to feel more confident. To give you a framework to make this work for you here are 3 starter questions;

1. How can I make this work in my favour?
2. What is the benefit that has come from this?
3. What is a more useful way of looking at this?

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Over the next week, when you catch yourself having negative thoughts, ask these 3 questions and notice how a change in your thinking has you feeling more confident.

5. Breath and future thought

Feelings that bring about low confidence like fear & anxiety can result in 2 effects; shallow breathing and thoughts of a disastrous future (seeing everyone laughing and throwing things at you as you speak, for example). You can counteract this by having periods of intentionally breathing deeply and visualising a future where you are handling situations in a controlled and confident manner. By doing this, you will begin to feel more confident in the present moment as a result. To get good at this so you can perform it in an instant, dedicate 5 minutes a day in a calm environment so you can rely on it when you need it most.

To conclude, we all have times when we need a confident boost. By regularly practicing these 5 patterns you will find yourself able to cope with those low moments much more efficiently and promptly.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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