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We all have a measure of confidence, whether tiny or over grown. How you use it however, is the key. Whether you're facing a job interview, a business pitch, or going on a first date you need to be confident in yourself, and know how to express your confidence appropriately. Why? Because confidence opens doors, and compels people to positively respond to you. It's infectious. Confidence attracts people, resources, opportunities and good fortune your way. So why do some of us display less confidence than others, and what should you do to improve your own self confidence levels?
I watched a really interesting TED talk recently on power posing. The theory behind it was that if we adopt a powerful, authoritative pose such as standing with our hands on our hips, for two minutes a day it increased your level of confidence and positively effected the way you acted in stressful situations. Social scientist Amy Cuddy says it's well known that the mind can effect the body. She was curious to see if what we do with our body can affect our minds. Interestingly the results of her study showed that 'faking it till you make it' positively affected self confidence and could potentially improve your chances of success. So go ahead and assume a powerful pose for two minutes a day and see your confidence improve!
A gift or a skill?
My own personal experience of self confidence has always been rocky. I started off being a quiet and shy child; by the time I hit my late teens and all the way through to my early twenties, I had bucket loads of ambition. I was very self confident and I believed the world was my oyster. But slowly, over the years of adulthood I lost a noticeable chunk of my self confidence. I began to believe that confidence was a gift only for special and talented people, and not for the average girl like me. How WRONG I was! Confidence is not necessarily an exclusive natural gift for the special folks at drama schools. Its actually a SKILL that everyone can develop with some practice and determination. It's even been likened to a muscle which needs to be exercised in order for it to grow and improve. You have to keep using your confidence in order to maintain it. So what can you do to become more confident? And how can you maintain your confidence?
Tips and Tasks
If you are struggling to make lasting change in your life because you lack the confidence and self belief then the good news is you can remedy that by actively working on it. And here's how; I've put together some tips to get you moving in the right direction and help boost your confidence. They're also useful for keeping your confidence levels in check too:
1. Be yourself — don't try to be anyone else other than yourself. We're all unique so your quirks make you you. Only you can be you, as imitating someone else ain't cool.
2. Power pose for two minutes a day. Power posing increases testosterone and cortisol levels which have positive effects on your self confidence. It's recommended you use the technique just before you have a job interview, business pitch or any other important event. Just make sure you get there early so you have enough time to power pose in the toilets beforehand!
3. Encourage yourself with positive self talk. Be your own personal cheerleader. There are loads of affirmations you can repeat to yourself daily, check out Live Bold and Bloom for some useful positive affirmations you can repeat daily.
4. Don't worry if you make a mistake, you're human. Use it as a learning opportunity by asking yourself what you would do differently next time. Then move on from it.
5. Build confidence with little victories daily. For example strike up a conversation with a somebody at the bus stop, or put yourself forward as the lead for a project at work or in a social club/voluntary group you belong to. By putting yourself out there you will come out of your comfort zone, learn what you're good at, and develop your personal weaknesses.
6. Try to be the best version of yourself as much as possible. This doesn't mean putting on a mask and trying to hide your flaws, but make sure your unique personal qualities shine through in a variety of settings like in your workplace and social gatherings for example.
Why not try one or some or all of my tips to help you to become more bold in your life and self beliefs for the next two weeks? Note how much of a positive change it has on your confidence levels.