How to Feel and Become More Confident
Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC
We all know that we communicate and influence others through our body language. But did you know that we also influence and communicate subconsciously to ourselves through our own body language? In a TED talk by Amy Cuddy, she talks about how “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.”
When your body language is closed and constricted it communicates self-protection and lacking self-confidence both to yourself and to others. (Examples are crossing your arms, slouching, or putting your hand on your chin/face.) Whereas when your body language is open and expanded, it communicates strength and confidence to others and to yourself. (Examples are standing with your arms straight up in the air, sitting back with your arms crossed behind your head, or standing with your hands on your hips.)
Now you obviously don’t want to pose like Wonder Woman or a winning athlete in the middle of a business meeting. However, practicing these power poses for 2 minutes in private before going into a stressful situation (giving a presentation, holding a tough conversation, going to a job interview, etc.) will actually cause you to feel and appear more confident. This is an easy technique that anyone can use to feel and come across as more self-assured and poised. Fake it until you make it really works.
Here are some more tips to increase your self-confidence:
- Develop a list of past successes, strengths, positive attributes, praise, accolades, etc. and refer to this list whenever you doubt yourself or face a daunting challenge.
- In times of self-doubt and uncertainty, talk with others who support, believe in you and reaffirm your strengths and positive qualities.
- Think about situations where you are the strongest and most powerful (managing projects, at the gym, coaching a baseball team, etc.) and remember that you are this strong and powerful person. (Use visualization and positive affirmations.)
- Set some short-term, attainable goals and work toward achieving them. Remember to reflect on, celebrate, and reward your progress.
- Take on and learn a new skill such as dancing, painting, a foreign language, or playing an instrument. Be sure to acknowledge each step of your development.
- Do something that scares you or makes you nervous. (Speak at a conference, attend a networking event, hold a difficult conversation, etc.) Reward yourself for following through on a difficult and challenging task.
- Find a mentor or a coach to help you work to build your self-confidence and hold yourself accountable for taking action.
Many people mistakenly believe they have to stop being afraid of something before they can do it, when in fact the opposite is true. Once you do something that scares you, you will not be as afraid of it, and your self-confidence will go up. This courage will transfer over to new things that you have never done before. We fear what we think we can’t handle. Once we prove to ourselves that we can handle it, our fear diminishes and our self-confidence rises.
“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” – Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage and confidence in the doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt