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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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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