Last weekend, I participated in journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s inaugural Confidence Code for Girls Conference in Baltimore. Katty and Claire wanted to take the concepts from their NYTimes bestselling book The Confidence Code and apply them to the girls who will be running the organizations, businesses and households of the future.
After lunch, I delivered a keynote on the topic of “owning your brand” and shared how girls can identify their unique strengths, pinpoint their passions and package all of that into a leadership brand or project. The idea being that creating a vehicle to regularly use one’s talents is a sure pathway to increased confidence. Because as Katty and Claire noted in their book, confidence is a muscle that gets stronger with use, and one of the best ways to exercise one’s confidence muscles is to find a way to regularly use your talents.
I was inspired by the many talks on the day of the conference and naturally began thinking about the role confidence plays in our lives, especially those of us who are building our brands, opening business and tackling new frontiers. Ultimately, if you look at successful people’s careers, relationships and businesses it doesn’t take long to see that they’re all built on the world’s ability to sense the confidence they have in their ideas, products, and ultimately themselves.
Their success starts with the confidence to put themselves out there.
But if you’re anything like many of the women I speak to, you often find yourself full of fear and self-doubt when it’s time to step out on your ideas. You may wonder, “how can you can overcome your fears and change how you operate in the world?”
It starts by boosting your innate sense of belief in yourself. If you lack confidence, you don’t try to ignore it or wish it away – get into action!
If you don’t have time to start an organization or passion project, but you could use an extra dose of confidence in your life, here are five simple ways to activate your confidence on a daily basis.
Review your accomplishments.
Whenever I need a quick jolt of confidence before a speaking engagement, media interview or important meeting, I remind myself why I’ve been invited to the room. I remind myself that I have a seat at this particular table because I have earned it.
When applicable, I will think of a recent win or accomplishment in this particular area and remember how good it felt to succeed, how effortlessly I was able to accomplish my goals, and how I have everything within me necessary to do it all again.
Confidence then becomes a function of memory – if you lack confidence around a new opportunity, remember why you got the opportunity in the first place.
(For more insights on how high achieving women can embrace their worth and accomplishment, check out my podcast on how to move past self doubt and start Playing Big with author Tara Mohr).
Keep a small promise to yourself.
Like many women, I have a complicated relationship with health and fitness. As I’ve grown older and my schedule has become more hectic due to business responsibilities and my obligations to my husband and children – eating right and exercising often are the first thing to be sacrificed on my schedule. (I know what you’re thinking…excuses, excuses).
However over the past month, I’ve made an intentional commitment to do a nature hike 3 times per week. Each morning that I show up to hike those miles is another day that I am keeping my promise to myself. And each time that I can look over the week and see that I did indeed show up to hike 3 times makes me feel amazingly empowered to keep going. Instead of doubting my ability to tackle my health, I’m emboldened with confidence because I am beginning to trust myself to keep my personal commitments.
Whatever your current personal hurdle is – saving money, eating right, exercising regularly, or even standing up for yourself – make and keep a promise to yourself about it, and watch your confidence soar.
Take one step.
Most of us have a big project or goal that has been hanging over our heads for months, sometimes even years. But by taking one small step in the direction of that goal, or doing one small thing in preparation for the project, we can begin to remove our mental barriers around it and activate our confidence.
For example, you may have always dreamed of writing a book, but the idea of writing a book is a daunting task. Instead of beating yourself up over not having done anything despite having had this as a goal for years, challenge yourself to take one step and work on an outline. Once you have an outline of your proposed chapters, challenge yourself to take a step by writing one page. With each step you take, you increase your momentum, and momentum is the ultimate confidence booster. Resist the urge to think you have to do it all in one sitting, or at one time. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Do your best to look the part.
It’s hard to not feel confident when you’re in a beautiful space or wearing a beautiful outfit. So until you feel confidence, try your best to look the part, because as the adage goes, when you look good you feel good!
When your confidence is down, sprucing up your space and appearance really helps because it shifts your energy and disrupts the message that you are unworthy of whatever opportunities have come your way.
Clean up your messy desk and make it a welcoming space to work. Invigorate your space with fresh flowers. Wear your new shade of lipstick, or put on your favorite dress. Surround yourself with items that make you feel good and eventually your attitude will have no choice but to catch up!
Veer away from your routine.
A big part of confidence is knowing that you can tackle unknown challenges. But when we don’t feel confident, we lack the moxie to get out there and do new things. By getting out of your routine, you flex your exploration muscles and show yourself that you can operate in new spaces or places successfully.
So many of us are living day to day on autopilot. Get out of your routine by taking a new route to work, trying a new restaurant at lunch, or striking up a conversation with someone new. You’ll find the simple change will wake you up and take your brain off autopilot.
Mix the awakened brain with successful navigation of a new circumstance or surrounding and the result is increased confidence.
And when you shake things up and surprise yourself, even in a small way, you get a chance to see how limitless you are.
Trying to figure our your NEXT MOVE? Get the inquiry process I use.
Enter your details to download this easy to use assessment that includes the very process of inquiry I use to help me focus on my next move and determine a new area of opportunity. Whether you're thinking about a new niche, client demographic, product line or promotional strategy, this assessment will help you get the clarity you need to begin a successful pivot.