Often, at the end of a workshop I’ve just taught, women will ask how I “get so confident?” and I always respond… “well, it depends on the day!” There are days that I believe in my own power, and there are days that I struggle to tap into that belief.
Confidence is not a destination. It’s a journey. Confidence is not something you achieve and then POOF! you never have to think about it again. Confidence ebbs and flows.
Unfortunately, confidence can be elusive, usually right at the most inopportune time. You might start off self-assured and feeling good, with a spring in your step. Then, moments before you walk into the conference room to have that heavy hitting conversation at work, or before you walk out the door for a first date… BAM! You’re left wondering where all that boldness went.
So I’ve developed some tricks for getting into the right head space when my confidence isn’t as close to the surface as I need it to be.
- Strike a Power Pose! Amy Cuddy is one of my personal heroes with her revolutionary research into how the ways we hold our physical self affects our mental states. If you haven’t watched her TED talk yet, stop what you’re doing and watch it now! In a nutshell, if you physically make yourself bigger for 2 minutes it gives your brain a testosterone boost which makes you feel more confident. My personal favorite is the ‘Wonder Woman’ pose, which I’ve been doing naturally my whole life! [See the photo below, cape and mask are optional!]
- Use a mantra – Thanks to a certain kind of woo-woo new-age use, mantra’s have gotten a bad wrap. The key is to pick something that doesn’t feel out of the realm of reality. It’s tough to look in the mirror and say something you’re not even close to believing. But if you choose something that resonates with you, for example… “I can and I will,” then it will be easier for you to say it regularly and without irony. It doesn’t require any chanting or special ritual (unless you’re into that kind of thing!), but simply saying it out loud to yourself when you feel your confidence lagging can be an excellent ‘brain-train’ to shift your thinking.
- Listen to your theme song – If you don’t have a theme song yet, it’s time to pick one! Music is super powerful (just think about all the lyrics you’ve memorized and yet so many phone numbers you forget!) so using familiar songs as a ‘sense trigger’ works well, and works quickly. We all have a song (or three) that puts a little swagger in our step, so it’s time to formalize it. Choose a song (or three) that gives you a power boost when you listen to it, then make a playlist in your digital device labeled “Power Up” to rock out anytime you need to ‘knock one out of the park.’ I have a few theme songs, but my favorite two are ‘Titanium by David Guetta & Sia” & “Miss You by the Rolling Stones on the Austin Powers soundtrack.”
- Have a Confidence ‘Booster Buddy’ – Find a friend & be available for each other for 2 minute booster calls. Don’t get caught up talking about the situation or your feelings, but have some kind of code so that when you call, your friend launches into a 2 minute pep talk and after which you both promptly hang up! It’s a simple way to connect and can be an incredibly powerful way to lift your spirits. Of course you should be ready to offer your friend the same thing! Your “code” could be something direct “I need you to give me a confidence boost!” or can be something more under the radar in the spirit of a secret language, “My tree isn’t growing, I need water!” Whether the phrase is direct or irreverent, taping into (and hearing about) someone else’s belief in you is guaranteed to give you a boost.
This excellent comic is by Sarah Scribbles!