If you haven’t had a chance to read A Conversation On Confidence, I would start there before diving in to this blog post.
When I think about confidence and people who emulate it, I think of people like Oprah, Ellen, Anna Wintour, and Reese Witherspoon. People whose lights shine so brightly, and yet never dim the lights of those around them. They are people who have the ability to match the energy of those around them and adapt to the situations around them. They are people who make others feel more confidence in themselves. They are all different personalities and all have different approaches, but there is no question they exude confidence.
For me, confidence is a lot about the little things we do every day and how those little things affect the world around us. So looking at developing confidence from the outside in, how do we get there? Here’s my advice:
I am very much of the camp that true success doesn’t come in a moment, it comes in the hours and hours of preparation and practice that happen before. How many times have you walked into a situation and you felt nervous or unsure for no other reason than you were unprepared. Being prepared for what might come in your life or your business is one of the best ways to ensure that you feel confident. You can show up knowing you did your best, and even if you don’t “win” you still feel proud of what you did.
For me, this is brought to life by simple things like having a business plan. Having a life plan. Knowing what your goals are. Always showing up as ready as you can.
I also think that our lack of confidence comes from areas of our lives where we aren’t sure of ourselves or don’t feel knowledgeable or prepared enough. So pick an area of your life and create a self-improvement plan, and then put that plan into action. Break it down into small tasks everyday and get to work.
Track Your Progress
So many times when I am questioning myself or feeling unsure of who I am, it is because I am too busy comparing my success to someone else.
“They are a better business owner. They are a better parent,” are the types of things I tell myself that put my confidence on shaky ground.
But when I sit down and take time to look at how far I have come, I can’t help but feel proud of myself. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Write a letter to your teenage self or your 20-yr old self. Tell her what is coming and what lessons she is going to learn. Then reflect on how much you have grown since then.
- To keep your eye on the progress you are making now, take some time to sit down and list out all your accomplishments in your business. Then each week take time during your Review & Preview to add to the list. And remember, forward is forward. Whether we take one step forward each week or ten, we are still moving forward and should be proud of that.
Put Yourself Out There
This is probably one of the harder approaches, but it’s also one of the most impactful. Just start putting yourself out there. When I started my business, the hardest thing for me was small talk and networking. I am great in 1-on-1 coaching sessions, great on a huge stage, and great behind the scenes. Basically I am great in any situation where there is something to be accomplished or a task at hand, but invite me to a dinner party where I just have to socialize with people and you have found my kryptonite. I am paralyzed and become a ball of awkward insecurity.
So I had to work through it. How did I do it? I took other people’s advice, and started putting myself out there. Here are some of the things that I did.
- Made it a point to smile and say hello to every person that walked past me. No matter where I was. Church, an airport, a restaurant, any and every situation.
- Forced myself to small talk with anyone I came in contact with. The checker at a grocery store, the secretary in a doctors office, anywhere I went I just started to engage.
- Actively compliment people around you. Tell a woman you like her hair, her shoes, her blouse. Compliment people who do a good job when they post online. The more I sought out ways to compliment others, the more I saw their confidence grow and the more it helped me to be confident.
- Take a selfie and put it on social media once a week. Just do it! People want to see you and their love will feed you with little boosts of confidence.
And remember, just like Oprah or Ellen or Reese, being somebody who can make everyone else feel seen and like they are important is one of the greatest ways to share and show our confidence.
Empower The Right Energy
Our energy plays so much into how confident we feel. So we have to give power to the right types of energy. I do this in really simple ways…
- I created a soundtrack I call the AK Pump. It gets me in a great state of mind and helps me to feel like I can take on anything in front of me.
- Save quotes that make you feel more confident, strong, or proud of who you are. I am always saving quotes and I love the little boost they give me.
- Surround yourself with the right people. There is no greater source of our happiness and our confidence than what the people around us think about us. So if you are surrounded by people who don’t build you up, kick them out.
- Do the Superhero Stance. I know this seems cheesy, but it really works. Placing your hands on your hips and your chin to the sky, just like Superman, for two minutes will positively charge your neuroendocrine levels. There is interplay that goes on between our body, mind and behavior and let’s be honest posing like a superhero makes you feel like one! And remember that self-confidence can be a super-power, and once you start to believe in yourself anything can happen.
Fake It’ Til You Make It
I truly believe that sometimes just putting on a confident front will help you learn to have true confidence in yourself.
One of my favorite women, Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, said, “Even if I am completely unsure, I will act as though I know exactly what I am talking about, and make a decision.”
I think back on when I started my photography business, was I an expert photographer? No, but I acted like I was! When I started teaching was I a veteran teacher? No, but I acted like I was! If you exude confidence in who you are and what you are doing, people will buy into that, and you then give them the opportunity to support you and that support helps you gain more and more confidence with each step.
Also as you are developing your own confidence, rely on the confidence of others. Let people build you up and believe in you. Find people whose confidence you admire and pattern yourself after them. Think to yourself, “What would (whoever you admire) do?” and act accordingly.
Hopefully, this list will help you “look the part” when it comes to confidence. Following these tips will put you in situations where you can test out your level of confidence and build it step-by-step. I want to leave you with one more thought
Even if you don’t feel confidence in yourself, pretend you do, because it makes it easier for everyone around you to feel confident in you, and that is one of the best ways to build your confidence. Let one side build the other.