So as you know, confidence is a very popular theme around business realms. Of course there is a reason for that! We live in such a fast-paced world that we barely have time to see what we need, what we want and even less to think about how we are going to get it.
Just yesterday I had a conversation about various techniques on how you can actually see, how much time you dedicate yourself and if that time spent indulging yourself is actually for you. Guess what my friend and I find out?
That’s right, who you are, how you are is actually more about who you are for other people, and how you treat them.
So imagine me asking you: ¨What are your five top qualities? ¨
Many will say: ¨I’m kind.¨
But let’s stop and see, are you mostly kind to others or are you kind to yourself also. And be honest! My guess is you probably treat others better than you treat yourself. That’s okay.
My friend actually said that is a part of being a grown up. And, yes my friends I do agree. But what we can do better we should. Instead we use excuses like:
¨I don’t have time.¨ or ¨I live alone, I have to do it all by myself.¨
Which is okay, but are those reasons really stopping you, or is there something else?
The root of it all is our confidence. We tend to shut out mind up or our feelings if we see others need us more. We forget we can say ¨No.¨ or ¨I really can’t right now, I worked all day, I want more time for myself.¨ And when we do say that, we usually feel guilty and apologize straight away, as if we owe those people our time.
That is just our confidence saying, you are less than others, so give them more of yourself. That is also called compensation. We tend to compensate our sense of feeling as if we aren’t enough so we give that extra 10% even if it costs us our time, our heart and our happiness even.
All of that is about to change!
Here are some tips on how you can change your daily routine so you can become more confident over time! And remember friends, no excuses!
Small Goals Are More Reachable
Start by being more realistic about what you want in your life. We all want a huge million dollar house but c’mon. Let’s be fair and start by setting a goal to make more money for example, rather than fly to an over-expensive house. Nobody is saying don’t dream big.
Please do, plans are just dreams with a deadline. But at the end of the day, you will have to jump over a few hurdles if you want to come to the finish line.
So in much simpler words: set smaller goals for yourself, that way you can reach them faster to get that extra burst of energy, motivation and productivity. Those smaller goals don’t mean they are worth less than a huge dream, they just mean you have developed a marathon strategy, rather than a sprint 100m run. So have the patience for the bigger goals but concentrate on achieving the ones that are better for your burst of confidence.
After all, reaching a goal you wanted for some time will give you a huge amount of fresh confidence that you can do and achieve anything. So why deny yourself that?
No, this is not a joke. By standing in a superhero pose, the physical pose in which the superhero stands with legs spread apart, arms on hips, elbows bent, you actually get a boost of confidence as you will feel more competent to achieve something and succeed alongside with being in control.
So I am not going to lie to you and say I got this from business researchers at first.
The idea initially came from one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy, where Amelia Shepherd had to perform a long surgery and basically a marathon of being at her best. So she took her time to do this superhero pose.
In case you are interested in seeing the whole clip, here it is:
Later on of course, I had to find out more about this and what my colleagues say about this. As it seems, Grey’s got it right. There is something in standing like a superhero for two minutes which helps your stress levels go down and you feel calmer and in control when faced with hard circumstances.
I actually tried it before an important event I had where I had to talk to a room full of people and I felt like I was actually giving a public speech like a superhero.
So why not try something that takes only two minutes and has amazing results?
Go for it!
You vs. Others
The eternal battle of: ¨What will others say? ¨. Of course there is no doubt in why this is a part of the article. The point is to gain more confidence, and comparing yourself to others is actually only bringing you down.
Even question why there are bullies in schools, eager to find some power by torturing some innocent kid? Yeah well try low self-confidence. By thinking that they will feel better about themselves if they kick someone else down, they turn into bullies. When all they should do is ask for a little bit of help.
Of course, every person is unique, but what we do have in common is that when we feel down, our brain immediately tends to find our worst quality and compare it with what we think is the best quality of someone else. How is that even fair?
But here is the good news: comparing yourself to others is a habit like any other. This means that you learned it along the way and you can stop doing it. Habits stick over time but they can also be left behind.
Your talents, dreams, ways of thinking and just being are unique, you are you. Some thoughts may collide with other people’s, but how you got to that conclusion is all on you. So stop undermining your effort, your intelligence, skills, morals, principles and competencies to other people’s.
So in order for you to stop kicking yourself down and building other people up: write all your qualities on a piece of paper which you will see every day. This way you will build a new habit of acknowledging your positive sides.
Accept the Compliments
Another one of the most important habits you need to acquire in order to feel more confident. Just yesterday I had a client who kept repeating that she doesn’t know how to deal with compliments. So naturally I asked her to elaborate. What she told me amazed me, as I was looking at a very accomplished single mother of two young kids. Now this is a woman who works until she breaks, takes care of her kids, takes them to all these extracurricular activities, playdates and more, and yet when she gets a compliment, she doesn’t stop to hear it.
That made me sad truly. Because especially today, we live in a world where people are more narcissistic and love to talk about themselves. So when a compliment comes your way, you better stop and acknowledge its importance. They aren’t saying it to be polite or to make you like them, but because others are objective and they can see your power and beauty more than you can.
So accept the compliment, say thank you, but don’t throw it away after saying thanks. Take the time to think for yourself and be proud of yourself. Especially because you didn’t do it to get the compliment, you did it for yourself. Don’t undermine that!
Most of us live inside our heads. I know I do. And for me it is a constant chatter inside my brain on what I have to do that day, how am I doing it, will I succeed or will I fail. And let’s be fair the outcome of all that is usually negative. All of those thoughts are influenced by our past experiences and how we went through those situations.
As our brain tends to find connections to our past in order to make it easier to work now, he doesn’t have a filter to say: Nope, this is a bad one, I’m not gonna push this into her consciousness. It just does. So we end up being stuck with this haunting thought of anxious waiting for the things to go bad.
Here is the good news. Again. This is a habit you can change! And that change starts with being aware of when you are starting to have negative self-confidence kicking thoughts.
What I like to do is I ask myself the question ¨Why? ¨, until I get to the bottom of why I am feeling that way. This will help you understand how the thought was formed and to eliminate the root. It is often about some issue we didn’t even notice got under our skin. So by questioning each bad thought you can understand it and show yourself the line of thought was ridiculous.
I’m so stupid!
Because you didn’t do that right!
Because you needed to do ….
Because it was the right thing to do!
(This is usually the part where you find out that someone else influenced this thought and put it as a MUST in your head)
The truth is you must eat, sleep, go to the bathroom and drink water. Everything else is optional.
So again, use the previous exercise and write down all the good parts about who you are, physically and about your character and remind yourself about all that by repeating it while you stand in front of the mirror. The more you take this seriously the more you will believe it over time. Change the I can’t to I can and see the magic that happens.
Value Your Time
This is the part where you learn it is okay to say NO.
A friend of mine actually made me more aware of that fact. I was ranting about how I had to go meet some people and I wasn’t really feeling like doing so and she just looked at me and said:
¨If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. It is okay to say no, I don’t want to go out. ¨
And at that moment I just smiled and nodded of course throwing that sentence away. But when I came home that day, I thought about it. And even though I knew I didn’t have to go out when I didn’t want to, what I needed at that time was for someone to remind me about that right, a right to take care of myself first and my needs. What I needed was my right to say no.
So every time you think you will rush to say yes when you don’t want to, stop yourself and remember my words:
IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO. IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST.
This will bring your confidence up because simply, you will learn to value your own time much more. Because we all have 24 hrs a day, but it is how we use it that counts.
So why spend it on things that you don’t want to just so you can please others?
A single smile is so powerful that it can transform a person with low self-esteem, from negativity to a person with a positive attitude. That is just something that will change how people see you and especially how you see yourself. After a while, others will believe it.
So when you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t forget to find something positive to smile about. Now of course, nobody is saying smile at a funeral so you can prevent feeling sad (trust me some people take it this way), but it means that everything has a positive and a negative side, and choosing to focus on the good rather than the bad (about yourself, your work, your family, your relationship or with your friends) can produce an amazing change in your self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence.
The proof of all that is in the science:
When you smile at another person, endorphins are released in your brain. And those little cuties are called nature’s “happy drug” because they make you feel happy and raise your self-esteem.
So just smile!