March 14, 2016

Finding Your Confident Self

The word confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” This quality of confidence allows us to trust our own abilities in such a way that we truly can elevate our lives and the lives of those around us. Confidence is the power that will enable every person to truly manifest their highest form of self, to handle the hardest times in life, and turn them into growth opportunities. Here are four research-based solutions to increase the confidence in your own life and begin to elevate the confidence of others.

Recall a Moment You Were Oozing Confidence

  • One of the fastest ways to prime your own sense of confidence is to go back to your past when you were feeling a strong sense of power and confidence.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, it is helpful to channel a moment when you were genuinely confident and completely engaged in a confidence building experience. Memories from this experience can make you feel (and as a result, act) more confidently.
  • Take some time and think back to a time in your past when you truly felt like you were fully engaged and completely confident! Perhaps it was when you were in the school play in High School or after you first started dating your husband.
  • Take a journey into your confident past and learn your path to confidence. As you think about the story, notice what were the important keys to your confidence.
    • Did your confidence come from what you were doing? Or who you were with? Did your skills bring you the confidence or the experience? What were the strengths behind your confidence?

Standing Tall, Not Shrinking Small

  • Research shows that our outer signs of confidence tend to send messages to our body and then our body makes the chemistry to match.
  • This is Ann Cuddy’s Ted Talk: Click here to view
  • It’s an evolutionary response by animals that confident animals create bigger profiles than animals that are less confident. The same is true in a person’s confidence.
  • When we make ourselves bigger, taller and spread our bodies out, we also end up triggering our body to create certain chemistry to help us back up the posturing.
  • Standing up straight and tall with our hands on our hips (The Power Pose) actually creates chemistry in our bodies to elevate our testosterone levels and cortisol that increases confidence and decreases stress.

Positively Play It Out In Your Head

  • Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.
  • Research suggests that whatever you think about, consistently impacts what you do. If you have consistent negative thoughts about an upcoming activity, like giving a speech, you are much more likely to make mistakes. If however you think more positively about the speech, that too can positively impact your performance.
  • So before performing or undertaking a task, spend some time creating an ideal image or version of the task.
  • Figure out in a perfect world what that task would look like.
    • Example: If you are preparing for an important speech, imagine every detail of the speech. What will you wear? How would you feel if you were completely prepared? What will it look like as you confidently interact with others before and after the speech? Imagine how all the audience will respond to your jokes and stories. Think through the content and envision how the content will be received. Even imagine how others will talk to you about your speech, days, months and even years later.

Focus Your Strengths On Others

  • Our greatest sense of confidence usually comes when we’re in the service of others. A service-oriented focus takes us out of our selfish center and into a more selfless stance.
  • Think about how as a mother you are much more willing to do things that are extremely courageous and powerful for your children . . . things that you might not even do for yourself. (I.e. Telling a person off that has verbally scolded your child, when you might only retreat if they had yelled at you).
  • One reason this works is simply because people that doubt their own self worth and question their own self-confidence are usually focused too deeply on themselves.
  • Think of the most confident examples of confident people you’ve ever seen. Normally these people are focused on a topic, a project, a situation, outside of themself.
  • By doing hard things and focusing on helping or benefitting others, it will give you a greater sense of selflessness which will empower your greatest and least fearful self to appear.
  • By turning your light outward, you end up helping others to feel more confident, which in turn elevates the results of those around you.

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