The other day I was at an event and introduced myself to this bright, enthusiastic woman. She asked me what I did and when I shared I was an executive coach, she smiled and said, “No wonder you’re so confident.” I later thought to myself – hmm, did my confidence come through in the way I carried myself or did my profession bear the weight of expectations?
The more I work with people, the more convinced I am that confidence stems from a mindset. It’s about overcoming a self-limiting beliefs which takes time, effort and discipline to develop.
“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” - Napolean Hill.
Yet, it’s so easy to shatter our self-confidence. Whether it’s an off-hand remark from a co-worker, a “no” from a potential client, a negative social media comment or our own imposter syndrome, especially in women that pops up when you least want it.
Battling those moments of self-doubt or that inner critical voice that just won’t shut up is not easy. It takes a conscious effort to combat our own and others’ judgement to emerge victorious. While there are several books and blogs that dive into effective strategies to boost confidence, let me share three simple but powerful practices that work for me.
#1 Focus on the positives
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Rejection and failure are part of growth. Understand it, own it and learn from it. At the same time, focus on all the things you have to offer. Remember you are your own unique person – your perspectives, your knowledge and your gifts are unique to you.
When my inner critic decides to rear its ugly head, I stop it in its tracks, take a deep breath and say out loud three positive things about me. These could be anything from “I’m brave to do this” to “Whatever the outcome, I know I’ll learn from this” or “I’ve accomplished things in my career that I’d never thought I would” or “today, I spent quality time with my child/friend/significant other – so glad for it.”
Find your positives. If you aren’t sure – call up that friend whom you can always count on, your loves ones and ask them what they like about you. Trust me, you’ll get a long list – write down those descriptors – good friend, loyal, reliable, funny….whatever it is – and show your inner critic who’s boss.
#2 Help someone else
When was the last time you helped someone else with no expectation whatsoever? Helping someone else shifts the focus from our own, sometimes self-created, issues. When we get immersed in helping others, we automatically start focusing on their positives, find ways to be helpful, which then makes us feel good to be able to make a difference in someone else’s life.
It may sound clichéd, but the benefits are tremendous. Try volunteering, mentoring or teaching, just because – and observe the growth in your self-confidence while doing so.
This is such a simple technique and when done right – so powerful! Visualization has been used by top athletes for decades – legends such as Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali have credited positive visualization as an important success tactic. The confidence-boosting effects of visualization are documented by neuroscientists who’ve observed that visualization is associated with the release of dopamine, the “feel good “neurotransmitter secreted by neurons in our brain.
My visualization technique is simple and entails finding a quiet moment, a comfortable spot and just a little imagination. Think about the outcome you desire – whether it’s nailing a job interview, delivering a business pitch, or making that speech that has your stomach in knots. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and imagine the outcome you desire then create some specifics around it. For instance, imagine getting high fives from your clients, applause from the audience, or getting that offer letter with the salary and benefits you had in mind. Imagine how you’d feel when that happens. Soak in the details – the room, the mood and the feelings you experience. Smile a little, feel your body opening up…and your confidence bubbling back up.
Remember, self-confidence is about the right mindset and overcoming negative self-beliefs. Taking the time to practice self-confidence boosting techniques makes success just a bit easier to achieve.