I have a client who I will call Bella. She is an amazing woman, seriously, this woman is FEARLESS. She continues to astound and amaze me with the life situations she takes in her stride that would have the vast majority of the rest of us cowering under the duvet. Cancer? Take that. Sick parent? Deal with it. Divorce? Get it done. Solo parenting. Boom. She does not miss a beat. The woman is indomitable.
But then, here’s an interesting thing. Like so many women who have had a career break, suddenly re-entering the workforce has her freaking out. Her confidence is really shaky, and it just goes to show a crisis of confidence can happen to the very best of us. And let me tell you this woman is truly one of the best.
Confidence can be a very fragile flower. It needs tending and watering and nurturing. If it gets ignored it can wither on the vine. Let’s face it, sometimes life can knock us around a bit. Whilst we might feel really confident in one area of our life we can feel horribly insecure in others. We might rock it out without a thought in the office but we might feel eye-wateringly under-confident when it comes to dating. Or we may confident and secure in how our body looks and moves but self-conscious and under-confident in our parenting skills. Or visa versa.
Then there’s real confidence that comes from an inner knowing about our value, and fake confidence of the ‘fake it til you make it’ variety when we are just winging it and hoping nobody notices. True confidence shines from the inside out. We can all spot a fake.
So, how can we improve our authentic confidence levels? Let’s face it, life is easier with confidence. Here are 7 techniques to raise your confidence you can start applying today:
1. Mirror your high confidence areas. Look at the areas where you DO feel confident in your life. What words describe you in that situation? Strong? Empowered? Capable? Efficient? These are all transferable skills honey child. You are that person in the office, it stands to reason you can be that person in the bedroom, the boardroom, or at the school gates. Channel the person you are in your most confident situations and know that you ARE her.
2. Channel a superpower. Think of someone who is super confident in the situation you find yourself under-confident in. Then channel them, take a moment to absorb the essence of them and “borrow” their confidence temporarily. After a while you will find it just comes naturally. I have to admit I used this technique A LOT when I did my first few live TV appearances. I. Was. Freaking. OUT. To put it mildly! But I knew it was a great opportunity to spread wellness goodness more widely and I wanted to do it. So, I thought about one of my role models – a very cool and composed kick ass New York business coach Marie Forleo, and I thought – how would Marie handle this? She would be open, and warm with everyone she meets, she would be confident in what she was saying, she would hold her head high and her shoulders back, she would think “OF COURSE I should be here doing this thing!” – the more I channeled Marie the more my confidence grew. If one smart woman can be confident on live TV, then I am a smart woman why should I be any different? Look for a role model who embodies the confidence you want to portray and “borrow” it temporarily to get you in the zone.
3. Fear can be soluble in information and preparation. Prep, Prep and Prep. Information and preparation can be extremely confidence building. Know that you know your stuff. Do your homework and then back yourself.
4. Don’t fall into the trap of comparisonitus. My client Bella had well and truly fallen down the rabbit hole of Comparisonistus which is explained in more detail in my post here. With her fledgling career she was looking at all the very established people in a similar field and looking at all the ways she didn’t measure up. OF COURSE YOU DON’T – they have been in the business for 3 years, 8 years, 20 years! Do not fall into the trap of comparing your Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 15. It will suck the confidence right out of you. Instead turn it right around – seeing loads of smart women succeeding in that industry just shows what a demand there is in the market! What it demonstrates is how eminently do-able it all is. Take confidence from that fact. Also none of them is YOU – you are bringing something unique and special.
5. Don’t fall into the Imposter Syndrome Trap. This is suuuuper important. You can read a whole post on it right here. Imposter Syndrome is that nagging feeling of nothing quite good enough on some level, or that you are going to be “found out”. It’s surprisingly common, especially in women. Get educated so you don’t get sucked into it!
6. What would you do/say if you knew you could not fail? It’s a good question to ask yourself to get out of your own way when you are feeling underconfident. If you could approach the situation with confidence and without fear what would you do or say? Who would you BE? Put your fear to one side and act as if that is the truth.
7. Know that You Are Good Enough. Are you perfect: no. Is anyone else? Also, no. We are all just doing the best we can being perfectly imperfect. Know that you have enough. You do enough. You are enough. Chasing the mirage of Good Enough is confidence destroying because it’s a mirage – it’s NOT REAL – you will NEVER reach it. Why? Because you are already there.
So, whatever that thing is where you are feeling under-confident know you have the tools to change that self-perception. Pick the one that resonates the most for you and put it into practice today, and let me know in the comments how you get on!