Confidence. It's that intangible thing which makes the difference between feeling scared and feeling powerful. When you feel confident, you are unstoppable and it seems like your path is laid out clearly in front of you. When you lack confidence, however, you can feel afraid, and sometimes all you can see ahead is the possibility of failure.
At some stage in our lives almost all of us will need to conquer our lack of confidence. (I've certainly been there!) The question is, how do you do it?
Oftentimes coaching and transformation can bring about an increased level of confidence. (One of the many great by-products of the process.) While this does not happen overnight and there is no magic pill, the following are some strategies I have found that work wonders when working with clients.
1. Get out of your comfort zone. When you do the things that you think you can't, your comfort zone will continue to expand. Even doing something seemingly small every day will lead you to something bigger. You will grow and will begin to feel unstoppable. Just take that first step.
2. Be yourself -- unapologetically. Remember, you can't control others or what they think. Wayne Dyer believes that if you ask 30 people their opinions of you, you are likely to find you have 30 different reputations. Strive to observe and witness others' opinions, rather than being attached to them. Find a personal style that feels great to you. Dress well, in the clothing you feel is very you. Live your life the way you feel is right.
3. Acknowledge your fears. Fear is normal. The key is to not let it debilitate you. Recognizing your fears will not make them come true. It's best to acknowledge and address the fears rather than not face them. Write out what you are afraid of and what you will do to mitigate those fears.
4. Let go of the idea of perfectionism. Striving to be perfect can cause self-doubt (as well as "stuckness"). Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Not allowing yourself to make mistakes will halt your growth. Overthinking can do the same.
5. Keep reminders of your awesomeness. Jack Canfield says, "Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments." Make a list of the qualities that are fabulously YOU. Acknowledge your own achievements. Revisit this list when you feel down.
6. Find what makes you feel confident -- physically. I recently worked with a woman who said that she literally gets a physical feeling when she feels confident. (I agree; confidence is not just in the mind.) I asked her to pay attention to what she is doing when she feels that feeling, and do more of that. One thing she came up with was listening to a specific song in the car. When she listens to it she feels awesome. Simple.
7. Be mindful of your body language. This takes a level of self-awareness and presence. As I took dance classes throughout my childhood, I frequently heard the teacher announce, "Heads up and shoulders back! Stand up straight and tall!" Give it a shot. Walk and move with purpose. It makes a world of difference rather than walking slouched with our heads down, which makes us feel low and sends out a negative impression to the people around you. Watch for folded arms and slouched posture, and for fidgeting with your hands. Smile and make eye contact.
8. Practice assertiveness. When you address your own needs, miracles happen. So ask for what you want. I dare you.
9. Think confidently. Placing your focus on the worst possible outcome can cause you unnecessary anxiety, and stop you taking action. Use your energy to acknowledge that there are an endless number of outcomes. What you focus on expands. See the results you want and they are likely to happen.
10. Forgive yourself when you're beating yourself up, and remember that you can begin anew any day. Your past does not predict your future.
Implementing some of these items can help you overcome the limitations that a lack of confidence imposes on you, and guide you as you find the power within to start changing your world. Feeling more confident is one part of living a happier, more fulfilling life.
What have you found to be helpful when it comes to feeling awesome?