Monday Mornings with Madison

Build Confidence

Confidence is a topic that should interest anyone in business and every professional, executive and entrepreneur, male and female alike.  Confidence is an essential quality found in most successful people.  It is a quality that is not just fed by success, but typically precedes success.  Most successful people were confident even before they were successful.  It makes sense.  People are drawn to those who are confident.  Confidence is a magnet that attracts people, lures business and invites success.

Yet, for many, confidence is also elusive.  There is no point in telling someone who is insecure, hesitant or unsure to “just be more confident.”  To many people confidence is like a mirage in the desert… it is that vibrant place off in the distance, unreachable and unattainable. But if it is a precursor to success, then how does one go about boosting one’s confidence?  Are there things we can actively do to increase our own confidence?  Yes!

Defining Confidence

First, it is important to understand that confidence is really a combination of traits:  self-assurance (poise and self-reliance), belief and trust in oneself, and a certainty about one’s abilities.  But confidence is not something earned with perfection.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  Part of being confident is knowing that everyone makes mistakes.  Confidence is claimed by loving that which is quintessential and unique about oneself.  It’s been said that “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are”.  That lies at the heart of confidence… understanding that every person has unique gifts and talents and resting on that conviction.  Confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared.

That is why the more self confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.  Self perception has an enormous impact on how others perceive you.   Confidence in oneself inspires others to have confidence too.  The good news is that while, for many, confidence is elusive, it need not be.  There are many strategies to help develop self-confidence.

14 Confidence Building Tips

Dress for Success

To change the inside, start with the outside.  Your outward appearance impacts not only how others see you, but how you see yourself.  No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you.  Dressing shabbily or not being careful with hygiene and grooming changes the way you carry yourself, interact with others, and how others perceive you.  Dress with the intent of impressing.  Make sure clothes are clean and pressed.  Shine shoes.  Wear flattering styles and colors.  Wear clothes that fit properly.  Make sure hair and nails are groomed regularly.  Pay attention to odors and breath.

Have Poise and Purpose

How a person stands and walks says a lot about how he or she feels about himself/herself.  Stand tall with shoulders pulled back.  Don’t slouch.  Keep head held high.  Walk with purpose.  People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if not in a hurry, increase confidence by putting some pep in your step.

Exercise

Like appearance, physical fitness has a huge effect on confidence. Being out of shape can make you feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. Improving your physical appearance through exercise will energize you.  The self discipline to work out will also boost confidence in your ability to do something and stick with it.

Listen to Inspirational Speakers

Thanks to radio and the Internet, it is easier than ever to find and listen to inspiring speeches.  A motivational speech is a great confidence builder.

Inspire Yourself

Create a personal commercial. Write a 60 second speech highlighting your strengths and goals.  Recite your personal pep talk in the mirror aloud.  Or better yet, using an iPhone or camcorder, record yourself and play it any time you need a boost.

Compliment Others

Lack of confidence often causes people to project their feelings onto others in the form of criticism or gossip.  It is important to break the cycle of negativity.  Start by refusing to engage in gossip.  Make an effort to compliment others.   This is sure to increase your likeability, which should boost esteem.  By noticing the best in others, you can bring out the best in yourself and increase confidence.

Contribute

Make an effort to speak up at least once in any group discussion.  This will make you a better public speaker, increasing your confidence in your own thinking and ideas.  It will also help others see you as a leader.

Consider the Worst

In any situation where you need to have more confidence in yourself, ask yourself:  “What’s the worst that could happen?” Too often, we fear the consequences of an action more than is necessary.  If the worst case scenario is not that bad (ie I’ll be embarrassed; I’ll be turned down; I’ll be told ‘no.’), then go for it anyway.  Each time you have success in a situation where you lacked confidence, your confidence will increase.

Imagine the Best

In doing something for the first time, imagine you have already done it in the past. Vividly imagine yourself succeeding wildly at what you are really going to do for the first time. The mind does NOT know the difference between something vividly imagined and something real. Make it vivid by involving all five senses.  Seeing yourself doing it will give you the confidence to take the first step in going for it.

Imitate until you Radiate

Find someone who is confident in that which you want to be more confident.  Model as many of their behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the context of that skill, task or area.  For example, if someone is a very confident salesperson, discuss their beliefs and values with them.  Try to shadow them, if possible.  Study their behaviors.  Then imitate what they do until the same confidence develops in you.

Fake It Til You Make It

Consider how you would act if you were confident in a particular task or job.  How would you be moving? How would you be speaking? What would you be thinking? What would you tell yourself? By asking these questions, you are forced to put yourself in a confident state of mind. Then act “as-if” you are confident when in that situation. In time, it will become a habit and you won’t need to fake it anymore.

Adjust Your Perspective

When facing something that requires a lot of confidence, like a big presentation or a performance, consider the big picture.  Imagine yourself on your deathbed looking back over your life. Review your life. Is this situation even going to matter then? Unlikely. Keeping things in proper perspective diminishes fear and boosts confidence, even if this is a really morbid way of getting there.

Stop Negative Thinking

Like the little engine that could, confidence begins in believing that ‘you can!’.  Disarm the nagging, negative paralyzing voice. To disarm the internal voice, imagine a volume control and lower the volume.

Self Assess

Make three lists: one of your strengths, one of your achievements, and one of the things that you admire about yourself.  Try to get a friend or relative to help you with these lists. When your lists are solid, review them regularly.  Use them as a way to boost your own confidence.

In the end, confidence is all about self esteem and self perception.  Think positively about yourself. Remind yourself that you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself.  Identify things that you do particularly well.  Then identify things you want to do well and start practicing.  Practice makes perfect.  With greater abilities comes greater confidence.

Do these things for three weeks and see if your confidence doesn’t soar to new heights.

Quote of the Week

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Marie Curie

© 2013, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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