Confidence is a funny beast. One day you practically jump out of bed ready to show the world how awesome you are and meet every challenge head on and the next you just wish you could hide under the duvet all day, feeling you can’t face what the world has in store for you.
Sometimes you can go from feeling on top of the world to Miss Inadequate within the space of a few minutes, particularly if you are thrown a curveball which knocks you off your stride.
What these swings in your self-belief levels prove are that confidence is merely a state of mind – and that means some simple shifts in thinking can have back at the top of your game in no time and really boost your self-belief.
Here are my 10 easy hacks to boost your confidence right now.
Identify the triggers and harness the positive
Is there a particular situation or person that dents your confidence? For instance, does the thought of entering a room full of strangers have you questioning your abilities, or does a colleague have a knack of making you feel stupid?
Once you have identified the triggers to your feelings of low self-esteem you can begin to challenge the impact they have on you by some positive self-talk. Try to remember a time when you felt full of confidence – what were you wearing, what did you say, what was your body language like? Now harness those feelings and use them to overcome the negative ones when you next find yourself in your trigger situation. Remember – confidence is a state of mind and therefore within your control.
Face the fear and do it anyway
We all face situations at some point in our business or personal lives that make us question ourselves in one way or another. Do I look alright? What do I have to offer? Do I have the ability or skills? One way to overcome these self-doubts is by following my favourite motto – Feel the fear and do it anyway. Force yourself to walk into that networking event with your head held high or make that cold call to a prospective customer. The truth is that the first time is always the hardest and it is very rare that anything truly awful will happen if you actually go ahead and do the thing that frightens you. And, once you have and disaster doesn’t strike – or even better, you get a positive result – it’s much easier to do it the second time round.
Role play and practise
If your confidence is low about facing a certain situation, such as an interview or client pitch, ask a close friend or colleague to help you practise. Ask them to play devil’s advocate and ask those tricky questions or raise objections which you fear could catch you out in a real situation. The more you role play and practise the more confident you will feel that you will not be caught out and you will hone your presenting skills, which in turn will boost your e in lots of other aspects of your life and business.
Watch and learn
Identify someone who appears full of confidence. How do they speak? What do they wear? What body language do they use? What do they do that makes them appear confident. If there is someone you admire, there is no harm in modelling yourself on them and copying what they do. To start with this may not help you actually feel confident but it should help you to look confident, so you are halfway there. In other words, FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT.
Learn to argue
The biggest enemy to our self-confidence is that little voice in our head that is far too quick to pipe up with what sound like valid reasons to doubt ourselves. But think about if logically and that little voice does not have a mind of its own. It is your mind and you have control over what that little voice is allowed to say. When it pipes up with a “you’re not good enough” message, learn to argue back. Tell yourself you are good enough, identify the times you have been good enough and what you have achieved. Talk back to that little voice often enough with positive self-talk and it will soon learn not to answer back!
With all the bad things going on in the world and 101 challenges yo overcome every day, it can be easy to fall into a negative frame of mind which has nothing whatsoever to do with your own abilities. Make a conscious effort every day to find the positives in your life. Be grateful for the smallest act of kindness which comes your way and be sure to pay it forward – doing something nice for someone else and seeing what a positive impact it can have can be a real confidence boost.
We all make mistakes. It’s a fact of life, we’re only human after all. The key to not allowing mistakes – however large – knock your self-confidence is to acknowledge them for what they are – jJUST MISTAKES. However disastrous the outcome of your cock-up, I’m assuming it was not intentional. By all means carry out a post-mortem into what went wrong and how the mistake happened, learn from it and then move on. In fact, allow your mistakes to make you better and stronger than you were before. Forgive yourself and turn mistakes into a positive force for change.
Grow and improve
However knowledgeable you are, it’s an unquestionable fact that you do not know it all. There is always room to improve and the more you learn the more confident you will feel. If you lack confidence in certain areas of expertise required for your work, seek out some appropriate training or just pick up a book that will help you fill in the gaps. You know what they say, knowledge is power and that power lies at the foundation of confidence. Training and learning do not have to be formal to be effective. Get help from a mentor or even a friend who can help you acquire new knowledge. And it doesn’t have to be training in hard skills such as design, coding or marketing. Investing in your own self-improvement is never wasted as it translates to growth in all areas of your life.
Conquer Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome is where you feel you are a fraud and that you are about to be found out. It’s surprisingly common in successful women, who may seem to those around them to have life well and truly sussed. They may seem the very epitome of confidence and success but on the inside, they carry around a fear that a neon sign is about to light up above their heads denouncing them as a phoney, a fake, a fraud. They feel as though they are not deserving of their success, that they have reached where they are now by mistake and at any time someone will see them for what they really are – unworthy. Imposter Syndrome can often result in sufferers hiding away and failing to push themselves forward and own their hard work, abilities, skills and success. One famous sufferer was award-winning author Maya Angelou, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of five Grammy awards for her spoken recordings. She is quoted as saying: “I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they are going to find out now’.”
If you suffer from Imposter Syndrome one way of tackling it is – and no one said it was going to be easy – is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You are who you are, and however uncomfortable you feel about what other people may think of you, you can’t be anything else. Continue to be authentic. If you are only putting the “real you” out there, logically you cannot be a fraud in any sense. Understand that what other people think of you really has nothing to do with you – it is more about their own feelings of inadequacy or lack of self-belief. Be yourself – in Oscar Wilde’s words, everyone else is taken.