Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” You know there’s something about a confident person. They are individuals who walk with a certain air about them….not arrogance or hubris, but a quiet confidence. They may not know how to do it all, but you wouldn’t know that by seeing them in action. I think of confident leaders I’ve known who were so certain of themselves that I was instantly drawn to them, as were others.
Confident people engage other people.
Well, how do you get there? What is it about confidence? What is that aura that is so engaging and compelling? And how do you develop greater confidence for yourself?
Confidence is a muscle that you can learn to grow and strengthen. Just like progressive resistance exercise which increases weights to build muscle, confidence grows as you use it more and more and in a variety of situations.
It can help you to sell your agenda, whatever it is. Whether trying to persuade your boss, or a hiring manager through an interview, a confident attitude can help you to succeed. Many times, the individuals you are meeting with are looking for that confident attitude in those situations. Demonstrating confidence goes a long way to “close the deal” on your behalf.
Here are a few exercises for that confidence muscle:
1. Think back to a time when you were highly confident and successful. What were you doing in those situations? What made you confident and self-assured? Find a way to bring that experience into your current one. If you could do it then, you can do it now. What would need to be present to feel like that again?
2. Sometimes a lack of confidence can equal fear about a situation. Understand and acknowledge the fear and hesitation. It’s there for a reason. Then (as a wonderful book stated), “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” (Susan Jeffers). That thing you most fear can be something that strengthens your confidence muscle, and becomes a “must do.” Now, if it’s something like public speaking, start small with speaking in front of a few people and work your way up.
3. Find a role model of confidence around you. It could be a leader or a peer or someone who just embodies that bold yet measured self-assurance. Think about how this person would handle the situation where you need more confidence and “channel” that person’s confidence to help you through.
4. Fake it till you make it. I’ve used this one many times in addressing large meetings. As you look out over the crowd, it can be intimidating. But when you take on a persona of confidence, it becomes much easier. It takes some practice, but I can tell you it is doable!
5. Take three deep breathes and lift your arms up in a V. Feel your power all around you. It’s who you are and it will bring you confidence. I suggest this to many of my clients, especially before an interview, taking some time alone and feeling your power. Amy Cuddy writes about power poses and how these can help lift the confidence factor. It’s definitely worth a try!
Confidence is an important skill to learn and build. It takes some practice to build but the benefits can affect every aspect of your life.
Time to express greater confidence in all that you do. Set a goal to move toward a more confident you this week by using some of the techniques here, or on your own.
I would love to hear your thoughts.