It is amazing how many people are held back by a lack of confidence in both their professional and personal lives.
Self-confidence affects so many of us at different times of our lives. Self-confidence is the difference between feeling you can conquer the world and feel you are completely out of your depth. How you view yourself will have an enormous impact on how others view you. After all, perception is reality. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? So I will post a few tips over the forthcoming weeks on how to build self-confidence so that you can go out there and conquer the world!
First impressions count.
Although we are told not to judge a book by its cover, how you look is the first thing people notice about you and will have an impact on how they initially view you. Apart from how others view you, if you get your clothing wrong, it can have a massive effect on how you feel. Whether you are over or underdressed for the occasion, if you don’t feel comfortable in what you are wearing, it will inevitably have an effect on how you carry yourself and how you interact with those around you unless you are already uber-confident.
Check the dress code.
If you are going to a particular event, check out the dress code first. If you turn up at a party wearing your best designer jeans but everyone else is in a cocktail dress, you will feel out of place and it will take a huge amount of confidence to pull off the look.
Wear clothes that fit well. How many times have you seen a woman constantly tugging down a skirt that is too tight for her and constantly riding up her legs? Wear clothes that suit your body shape. Just because A-line dresses are in this season doesn\’t mean you should wear one if you are the wrong shape for them.
Quality shows. And it makes you feel good. Put on a silk shirt and just see how good you feel in it and how that shines through in your demeanour And that doesn\’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Go for quality, not quantity. By investing in good quality pieces and creating a capsule wardrobe, you will spend twice as much money but buy half the amount of items, or less, than you normally would
If you go out with unwashed hair, dirty clothes and chipped nails, you will not feel as confident as if you were immaculately groomed. Now it is not possible, or necessary, to have your hair coiffured and a full face of make-up if you are taking the dogs for a walk, but if you are meeting people where your self-confidence needs a boost, take a bit of extra time on your appearance.
Always carry a compact mirror to check for food stuck in teeth, smudged mascara etc. Knowing you look good will give you an air of confidence that will be picked up by those around you.
Pay attention to personal hygiene also. There really is no excuse for not being fresh and clean when meeting others. For emergency cleanups, carry some baby wipes and deodorant in your handbag at all times.
Visit your hairdresser and dentist on a regular basis. Manicure your nails once a week. Basically, invest in yourself as well as your wardrobe,
Walk with purpose
Watch a self-confident person walk into a room. They don’t walk in, shuffle around in the doorway whilst glancing furtively around. They stride in with their head held high and walk to a certain point.
Plan your route for entering a room, whether to head straight to the bar, to a table to get a seat or just aim for the far end of the room so that before you reach it you will have hopefully seen someone you know who you can stop and speak to.
Watch people walking down the street. You can tell a lot about how they are feeling by the way they walk. Are they shuffling along slowly with shoulders hunched over and looking as they are carrying the weight of the world? Or are they walking with a purpose at a decent speed with energy? The way you walk can make you look and feel confident.
Practice your walk. Go out and hold your head up high and put your shoulders back. Put on a winning smile and walk with purpose. You will feel so much better.
Following on from how you walk, your posture will have a huge impact on how you look and how you feel.
Just try sitting in a chair slumped over with your chin down and trying to have a conversation. You will look and feel lethargic and uninterested.
Now sit up straight, put your shoulders back, chin up and lean slightly forward.
You will now appear and feel interested and energetic. Practice good posture in order to display an air of self-confidence that will shine through.
One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker in person are few and far between although there are quite a few on YouTube.
You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial of your own. Sit down and make a list of all your personal strengths and achievements. And yes, you do have some before I hear you say you don’t. Everyone has achieved something great in their life no matter how simple it may appear at first. Take most women who have raised a healthy child and run a home. At the very minimum, this gives you strengths of being organized, dependable, loyal, trustworthy etc.
Now write a 30-60 second speech that highlights these personal strengths. Go recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost.
Doing this on a regular basis will reinforce all the strengths and qualities you have pushing negative thoughts to the back of your mind. Constantly remind yourself of how great you really are.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try to focus on what you do have.
Focusing on what you want, but do not have, only makes you miserable. So make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for. Look at past successes, loving relationships, happy moments etc.
Be thankful for having a home, a car, food in the cupboard that you take for granted but so many people in this world do not have.
Start to appreciate the simple things you have in your life and make a note of which ones make you happy. I started to make a list of mine:
- Studying the stars on a clear night.
- Listening to the rushing of the water whilst sitting by the river.
- Hearing a child’s laughter.
- The smell of a freshly bloomed flower in the garden.
- Coming home to be greeted by my big furry bear of a dog who will always love me no matter what.
- Enjoying a candlelit soak in the bath after a hard days gardening
- The smell of freshly laundered sheets
- Sitting quietly listening to the ticking of the clock whilst having a cup of tea
Make your own list of simple things that you have and that makes you happy. When you are feeling down, re-write your list or get out your existing one and read it through again. You will soon see you have a lot to be thankful for.
Compliment other people
Have you ever heard the suggestion that people who are critical of others are actually projecting their negative feelings of themselves onto others? This has sometimes been referred to as a form of displacement. We displace our own negative feelings of ourselves by looking for the same flaws in others.
To counteract this, start to look for the good things in others and praise them for it. People will appreciate your kind words and this will then reflect back on you. You will start to notice that you receive more praise and compliments also as instinctively by looking for the best in others, you will bring out the best in yourself.
A word of warning though, compliments have to be genuine. There is nothing worse than a false compliment being given to try to curry favour.
Don’t be afraid to ask ‘stupid’ questions
How many times have you been in a meeting or at a conference and come away not really understanding all that was said but you were too afraid to ask questions for fear of looking stupid?
Many people try to save face by pretending to know what others are talking about but this leaves them with a fear of inadequacy.
I was once the only female manager in a room of 17 men. The subject that was being discussed had a lot of jargon that I was not familiar with. This was a common occurrence and I would always leave the meetings feeling I was stupid and then be nervous about going to the next one for fear of being asked something I didn’t know. One day, I decided to brave it and ask what the Chairman was talking about. I was shaking and terrified everyone would think I was the ‘dumb blonde’ asking a stupid question.
What actually happened was that after I asked the question, a number of other managers thanked me for asking as they had no idea what was being said either. The chairman praised me for making the effort to fully understand the subject matter and I went up in everyone’s estimation. So in future, ask stupid questions. Ask the questions that everyone else is afraid to ask. You will become more confident in yourself and be admired and recognized as a confident person.
How good do you feel about yourself when you have been going to the gym, have lost some weight and toned up? How low do you feel, when you have spent the last few weeks as a couch potato, put on 10lbs in weight and your clothes are all too tight?
When your body is out of shape you will feel unattractive, self-conscious, have less energy and this will have a knock-on effect on your self-confidence. Take time out to do some regular exercise to improve your physical looks and increase your energy levels. It takes a lot of self-discipline to exercise but the after-effects are worth it tenfold.
Anyone can fit some form of exercise into their daily routine if it is only running up and down the stairs every time a commercial break comes on the television. Exercise releases endorphins, a natural feel-good chemical in our body, which can boost your mood naturally. It has been proven that physically active people recover from depression more easily and exercise is recommended for anyone suffering the effects of depression. Go get moving and feel better about yourself instantly.
Give something back
Too often we get caught up in our selfish needs and focus entirely upon ourselves, forgetting those around us. If you can take a step back and look at helping those around you it can have a positive effect on your own self-confidence and will give a sense of belonging that creates inner happiness and contentment.
Too many people think that giving something back has to involve long hours and commitment such as working as a volunteer in a charity shop for a couple of days a week. It does not. Just small acts of giving something back can have a positive effect on our mental health. Try the following:
- Stopping to speak to a homeless person
- Smiling at a stranger
- Holding a door open for someone
- Taking in a plate of home baked biscuits to your neighbour.
Giving something back to others, helps us realize how much joy we can put into other people’s lives by such small actions. This can fill us with an inner confidence that we can each individually make a difference to society.
Go on out today and give it a go. Just start by smiling at someone and see how much better it makes you feel.