THE BLOG
05/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Confidence Alone

When I first left my full time job to go into my own business it was a little nerve wracking -- not only because I was hoping I could make it on my own, but because it was at times uncomfortable to be alone.

I had always worked with groups of people, had someone to eat lunch with, joke around with, and feel a part of. But when I found myself going it alone I felt, well, naked. I had to get used to calling on clients alone, traveling alone, and eating meals at a table by myself surrounded by pairs or groups of other people.

Now I travel all over the country alone and feel confident and comfortable pretty much anyplace I go. But for people who don't have to venture out on their own the thought of it can strike fear in otherwise surefooted folks. Odds have it that at some point you'll be in a situation where you'll have to go it alone whether you like it or not. No family, no kids, no friends or co-workers. So experiment in advance and it won't throw you when it does happen. At the very least you'll increase your overall confidence by doing so. Here are some things you can do to gain more confidence going it alone:

1. Force yourself to go eat in a diner, coffee shop, or restaurant alone even if it scares the heck out of you. Start at a counter first. Many times the folks that sit at the counter are alone too so you'll be in good company and can experiment with striking up a conversation with other people around you. Immediately ask for the servers name or read their name tag and use their name. Establishing rapport with the server or hostess will increase your comfort level immediately. Work to develop the gift of gab and an interest in other people.

2. If you're going to an event or a night out with friends - meet them there. Walking into a nightclub, bar, or concert alone can be intimidating. The only way to overcome this is to feel the fear and do it anyway as they say. And just don't go alone but get there early! Now you'll have to find your comfort zone, find a seat, get yourself settled and make some small talk. The more you do this the easier it becomes.

3. Be an observer; enjoy being a people watcher, without staring, of course. If you're in a crowded room alone, put a pleasant look on your face and scan the crowd, notice what types of people are there, count the men to women ratio, age range, who looks like they're having fun and who doesn't. By playing these little observation games you'll actually forget to be self conscious. You won't be hanging your head, trying to hide until your friends get there, you'll look confident and interesting.

4. Always carry a book, magazine, or newspaper with you.
This way if you get stuck alone somewhere you'll have something to do if there's not a lot of people watching or if interacting with others isn't possible.

5. Remember we all came into this world alone and we all leave it alone, we were brave enough to be born, brave enough to live, and hopefully brave enough when we're done here - so learn to enjoy your own company, when you can do that you actually end up having more to give to others, because you're stronger, more confident, and you'll find yourself thinking about how to make others feel more comfortable wherever you go.

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Patricia Stark is the host of Craving Confidence, a weekly show about confidence, life, and business skills. To subscribe to the show or the monthly newsletter, visit www.cravingconfidence.com