Imagine yourself sitting in a team meeting. A rally cry for the latest, innovative, revenue-generating idea rings throughout the room, and a frenzy erupts as your co-workers froth at the mouth like rabid dogs, vying for position as the next Wonder Kid on the corporate ladder.
And there you sit, frozen and wringing your hands, eyes slightly cast down, knots in your stomach as the ping-pong of thoughts ravages your gray matter.
“Do I say something? … No, keep your mouth shut. But I’ve got something to say … No you don’t, they never like your ideas.”
And poof. Once again, your lack of confidence kills the chance of you ever becoming more than a worker bee. Like so many times before, you watch your shot at being Queen Bee go up in a puff of smoke.
Sound familiar? If this isn’t happening at work, perhaps it plays out in your relationships, or even with your own self-care.
The mere act of being human invites attacks on our confidence every single day. And what happens when you lack authentic confidence? You feel unfulfilled, you lack a deep intimate relationship, and you struggle in a job that’s sucking the life out of you — shall we go on?
No need to answer that question. Instead, let’s dive in and boost your sense of self with these 10 steps for cultivating killer confidence:
1. Stop believing everything you hear
The voices in your head (and the voices of people around) talk complete trash most of the time. So stop heeding them so closely. That trash is far from factual.
2. Cuddle up with like minds
One of the best ways to gain and sustain confidence is by hanging out with already self-confident people. As author Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Pick your company wisely.
3. Dress yourself up
It sounds simple, I know, but when you dress yourself up, you really do feel more confident. This phenomenon is called enclothed cognition. Personally, I’m a shorts and T-shirt kind of entrepreneur. But the moment I throw on a killer, well-fitting pair of jeans and a snappy, hipster long-sleeved shirt, appropriately un-tucked, I feel unstoppable.
Want to feel unstoppable, too? Dress the way you want to feel — confident!
4. Keep learning and show up prepared
Remember those nightmare dreams from high school and college about showing up to class on an exam day only to realize you’re entirely unprepared? Thank goodness those dreams weren’t real. But they serve as a great reminder that you can never study, learn, or prepare enough. So, stay up to date on topics relevant to your life. Whether that’s power dynamics in the workplace or effectively parenting a toddler.
The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel about handling whatever life throws at you.
5. Try being real
There is only one you. The you that came into this human adventure with confidence and uniqueness. Then, that was taken away when you started acting like someone you’re not to please others. Stop doing that and just be the real you. If you don’t know who the real you is … it’s high time you find out! (Hint: The answer is inside of you).
6. Let your principles and values guide you
Have you ever thought or said, “I would never do that!” in response to someone else’s behavior?
BINGO! That’s living by your principles and values. Keep doing that and you’ll feel like the most confident person in the room, neighborhood, city, country, heck, maybe even the world.
Don’t judge or hate on people who make different choices (that’s not confidence, that’s arrogance), but you also don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right for you.
7. Celebrate your small victories
Yes, we’d all like to immediately retire with a million or two in the bank. Achieving that amount is certainly possible, but it usually doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, you build slowly … adding to your retirement account little by little, until wah-lah — goal reached.
The same applies with building confidence. Take consistent steps every day to nurture your confidence. Celebrate all of those small victories so they prepare you for the big confidence wins down the road!
8. It’s OK to remain a little irrational or superstitious (if it’s working for you)
Some would argue that Four Leaf Clovers and Lucky Pennies are for wishful thinkers. But if they work for you, keep working them, no matter how irrational or woo-woo others think you’re being.
Chances are, if you ask them how they keep their confidence bolstered, they have some weird little rituals of their own. Don’t laugh in their face, just smile confidently and coyly and say, “Isn’t that interesting?!”
9. Stop procrastinating
Procrastination is one of the surest ways to kill confidence.
“No, I didn’t get that done.” … That’s a sentence that never feels good to say.
The moment you look down on yourself over that uncompleted thing (e.g. broken promise) that’s been hanging over your head for the last week, month, or year, is the moment you shoot your confidence in the foot.
So, pick one thing on your procrastination list, complete it with confidence, and then celebrate your small win. Then, repeat.
10. Smile with gratitude
Funny how one small act — a smile — can inspire such massive confidence, but it’s true. When you smile with gratitude it’s impossible to lack self-confidence. Go ahead, try it. Smile.
The same goes for gratitude. Think of something you’re truly grateful for and then try to feel down on your self. You can’t do it. Trust me, you can’t.
So, start each day with a smile and a gratitude phrase and you’ll kick that day off with a healthy jolt of confidence.
If you put these 10 steps into practice (yes, it will take practice), I guarantee you’ll have more confidence by next month.
In fact, you’ll probably start feeling noticeably more confident by the end of week, or even in the first few days. And when you do, then what’s possible? Practically anything!