Be More Confident: Inside and Out
Confidence is about the energy you project. When you project confidence, people feel better about you and you feel better about yourself, too! Some people believe that you can be born with the ability to be confident, and that it’s possible to be missing that ability as though it’s a gene! Fortunately, that is completely untrue. And here’s a secret: some of the most confident people you know aren’t confident at all! We’ve all heard stories about Barbra Streisand’s stage fright or Carly Simon’s, too. Same thing for many CEO’s or even the most popular kid in your high school graduating class way back when. So when you’re feeling less than confident, try these strategies and soon you, too, will look and feel like the head of the class!
Build Confidence On the Outside
- Practice good posture. Stand and sit up straight every time you think of it. Correct your posture right now as you’re reading this article, and throw your shoulders back every time you walk through a door.
- Smile. Not all the time, not in a creepy way and not like you don’t have a thought in your head, but smile with your eyes and just the corners of your mouth. Project contentment and goodwill. You’ll start to feel it on the inside and people will notice on the outside.
- Make eye contact when you speak with people. It’s hard for most people to make and keep eye contact, and doubly so for people who consider themselves shy. Practice making eye contact with people you pass on the street or people you pass every day, like your letter carrier or doorman and say “hi”.
- Speak slowly. When people are nervous, they often automatically speed up their speech, tripping over their words. Make a conscious effort to slow down if this is your pressure point.
- Use pauses in a conversation to get the other person to talk. Don’t always rush to fill the gap. Giving the other person a chance to talk will actually put you in the driver’s seat of the conversation.
- Focus on making other people comfortable with you instead of trying to make yourself more comfortable. As soon as you begin a conversation with someone, notice something about them that you admire: a piece of clothing their hairstyle or something they have with them. “What a nice shirt you’re wearing. It’s a lovely shade of blue.” or “I really like your briefcase. Is it heavy?” A compliment coupled with a conversation starter helps put both of you at ease.
Build Confidence on the Inside
- Take note of your strengths and weaknesses. Doing this will make you proud of yourself and you won’t care what other people think. Think of 5 things you do well. Can’t think of any? Ask your mom or best friend! They’ll prime the pump.
- Work out your body, your mind and your psyche. Going to the gym or starting a fitness routine makes you feel better about your body and your ability to motivate yourself. Work on your mind through reading, writing, taking a class, or just trying to learn one new fact every day. That will make you feel like a better person. And work on your psyche: think of things you want to learn – play guitar, roller blade, cook, skateboard, knit, play chess… and teach yourself how to do it.
- Take risks. Saying hello to a stranger, going out for a job you don’t think you can land, singing karaoke, tackling a hike you know will be challenging… confidence comes after you tackle something that scares you. Being brave is not being unafraid. It’s being scared and facing your fear!
- Accept compliments. Accept that when someone praises you, you’ve earned it.
- Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed, and ignore people who at heart seem as though they want you to fail.
Above all, realize that everyone feels awkward on the inside at some point or another and that most people fake confidence before they feel it!