Did you know that confidence isn’t something you’re born with? Astounding – I know!
In our every day life, we’re exposed to so many stories and images of successful, confident people, that it’s easy to assume they naturally started out like that. And, that they’re confident all the time.
Take Sheryl Sandberg, for example. Being the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, you could easily think she’s never grappled with insecurity or self-doubt. But she revealed in her book, Lean In, that she has at times felt like an imposter.
Another example is Academy Award winning actress, Meryl Streep, who said to a reporter in 2002, “I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”
Despite what you may think, confidence isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something you learn through life experience, adapting to new situations, and doing those things you thought you’d never be able to do.
You can boost your own level of confidence, and here’s 6 tips to get you started.
1. Do Something New Every Day
It’s completely normal to want to stay inside your comfort zone and stick to what you know. But stepping over the barrier that separates you from “where you are now” and “where you want to be”, is a crucial step to feeling more confident.
You don’t have to take up skydiving or make a drastic move to a different country to stretch your zone of comfort. There are many simple, every day steps you can take to build your confidence just the same. Personally, if I want to add some adventure to my day, I pack up my laptop, walk into town, and visit a coffee shop I’ve never been to before.
This might seem simple, but the change of scenery and environment triggers a whole range of new ideas, new perspectives and newfound confidence inside of me. Take a few minutes to think about what you can do today to feel more alive and inspired.
2. Wear Confident Outfits
The way you dress has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself, and how others see you. If you wear clothes that are uncomfortable, restricting, or clearly too big for you, you won’t feel comfortable, and you won’t look confident.
On the other hand, if you wear outfits that mould your body comfortably, and you incorporate a splash of colour, you’ll naturally feel and look more confident. How do you create a confident outfit? There are two important elements you should focus on.
First, darker colours convey more authority. Second, high-contrast colours make you stand out.
When you put together your outfit in the morning, find a way to add black, charcoal, or navy blue to your outfit. Then, incorporate a contrasting colour, such as white, yellow or light blue.
3. Use Confident Body Language
We’ve all heard of Amy Cuddy’s TedX talk about power poses.
If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend you check it out here:
Although some may believe that you have to feel confident inside before you can project confidence to others, let me tell you through personal experience, it can work the other way, too. Power poses are perfect for business meetings if you’re tired of never getting your opinions heard.
They can also work in social situations when you’re trying to win an argument with your friend. The idea behind power poses is to take up more space and to use open body language postures. So instead of sitting down with your arms folded and your legs crossed, rest your arms on the armrests and claim your space.
4. Speak With a Confident Voice
Most people overlook the importance of their voice when trying to create a confident image. You might plan carefully the words you’re going to say, but it’s how you say them that matters more.
The biggest mistake I see, even recently with a television presenter, is the upswing. An upswing is when you create a rise in intonation at the end of your statements, making your statements sound more like questions.
For example, “On Saturday I went to the movies?”, or “On Saturday I went to the movies.” Repeat these two sentences, the first with a rising intonation at the end, and the second with a downward intonation at the end.
Which sounds more decisive and powerful to you?
5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others who have taken a different path in their life and have made different decisions is a sure-fire way to a downward spiral of never feeling good enough.
This is one of the most common confidence crushers because you’re always focusing on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do have.
Here’s what I recommend: create a gratitude list of everything you have (tangible or intangible) that you are thankful for. Whenever you start to compare yourself against a friend or coworker, take out this list and read it over three times to remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have, or have achieved in your life.
6. Use Positive Self-Talk Every Morning and Every Night
If you’re going to take away just one piece of advice from this post, this is the most powerful piece of advice you can take with you: commit to positive self-talk every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep.
When you start and end your day with positive, confident affirmations, you can really change your outlook on life. About a year ago I started this process myself. I created a mantra that I now repeat three times every morning and every night.
The mantra I use is really quite simple, and I invite you to use it too, if it’s the right fit for you. The mantra I use is, “I’m worthy of success”. If this mantra doesn’t feel right for you, you can create your own. But the most important part is to commit to repeating it every morning and every night, until it becomes a part of you.