What is confidence?
It’s firm trust, belief, faith, conviction, poise, tenacity, spirit, morale, determination, assurance, certainty, courage (ding ding ding) in yourself, someone else, or that something will happen.
From a personal branding standpoint, confidence is core to your brand – because your brand has value, influence – that will be missed without confidence, because then people may question your brand.
It comes as no surprise that confidence is probably one of the biggest frustrations/concerns/obstacle that I hear about when people are trying to make a change for the better, take on something new, or just step into a place of feeling good.
This topic alone is worth an entire series for a few months, but for this week’s first C, of the Three Cs You Need to Succeed, I am going to share 12 Ways that are perfect for Summer Camp style thinking and activities – the first in a series of three.
1. Dress Superbly
Think of the last time you put on a new outfit that made you feel like you were unstoppable. Was it yesterday? Last year? How did you feel? Think back on when you were at your best. I bet you had something on that made you feel on-fire and totally like yourself in a power state. Whether you like to be fancy or hip, trendy or relaxed, the key is to be well put together on the outside. Why? Because it has the indirect effect to make us feel more put together on the inside – and people notice us more. That helps build our confidence, because we get visual and often verbal affirmation. Even if external affirmation is something we shouldn’t rely on, it always feels great to have someone tell us how great we look, right?
Take Action: Go pick out your power outfit – from your closet or if necessary, buy something new – a full outfit or even one accessory. “Put on” your power and get dressed so that your confidence is seen on the outside. Watch how it changes your gait. You’ll be walking taller, which brings me to…
As someone who has had a posture problem since childhood (think middle school – back brace – totally awkward), I confess that this is my #1 struggle. It really has more to do with my mechanics than my confidence, but whenever I catch myself in the mirror and see that slouch, I’m so downhearted. I don’t like how it looks, because I know it’s not at all who I am on the inside. So I stop, look in the mirror, and stand up as straight as I can. It feels so good. I look stronger, feel better, and am amazed how my confidence bumps up a few notches. So imagine if you do feel down or low on confidence and you catch yourself in a slouch, just simply raising your head taller, bringing your shoulders back, and standing upright will change everything.
Take Action: Stop in your posture and walk yourself to a mirror. How are you standing? Adjust your posture so that you’re standing up as straight as possible. Now look at yourself. How does it feel? Does it look better than it did before?
3. Use Your Senses
Scents, photos, music, textures – If you are feeling off-form or lacking confidence, you will need something to snap out of it. Think about how your favorite song from high school takes you back to fun times. Now, think of a song that lights you on fire and helps you step into your power. Then consider how favorite scents make you feel. Fresh flowers. Home cooking. Cookouts. Fresh cookies. Coffee – the smell and the savor of a decadent cup. Clean mountain air. These are just some of the ones that turn my world around and I feel centered again.
Take Action: Make a list of things that make you change your disposition on a dime. Put it up where you can see it daily for a healthy reminder.
4. Attitude & Gratitude
This one is actually simple. Be grateful even in your moments of distress. Not the sugar coating kind, but the kind that allows you to find meaning in the hard and broken parts, the low confidence parts. Ever bump is designed for your growth. Being in a state of gratitude will propel your attitude which will feed your confidence. Promise.
Take Action: Start writing a daily gratitude journal or at least 5 things for which you’re grateful. Watch how it changes your disposition.
The Golden Rule never gets old. Treat others as you would have them treat you. As a result, the kindness that you give them creates positivity and a lovely moment with others. That feeling will be passed on as they move forward (hopefully) and your kindness will be attractive and people will want more of it.
Take Action: Find 3 people to be kind to today, especially those who really need it, and don’t expect a thing in return. Feel how good it is to be loving and kind regardless of the other person’s response. That’s God working inside of you. Do it!
6. Step up!
Stop sitting in the back row of your life. Stop being on the outside of the fish bowl. Be an active participant. Start sitting in the front. Begin swimming the reef. Get in there! You’ll be more likely to engage with other leaders, learn more quickly, and be noticed.
Take Action: Choose the front row and get involved with things that are out of your comfort zone. The only not-so-great option is sitting in the front row of a movie. That might hurt your eyes.
7. Affirmation & Inspiration
Find something daily that affirms you and inspires you. Quotes. Devotionals. Scripture readings. TED talks. Talking to an encouraging friend. Networking events that inspire.
Take Action: Put into action something you learn from your affirmative and inspirational source. Inspiration without action is exactly that. Just inspiration.
8. Positive Self-Talk & 30 second motivational speech
Stuart Smalley from SNL was spot on. He would look in a mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me.” There you go. You can adopt that one or actually write a 30-second affirmational self-talk speech you say in the mirror to get your confidence back. Sounds cheesy? It may be, but so are hundreds of effective techniques to regain your mind and your power. So, get over the cheese and whine and develop your 30-second self-promotion-I-am-awesome speech to say in the mirror.
Take Action: Write out a 30-second self-motivational speech. Say it to yourself in front of the mirror for the next week. If it’s not working, it’s not right. Rewrite it until you can say it every day and feel empowered. Wear a cape if you need to!
Get moving. Increase your pace, walk around the block, take someone’s dog for a walk if you don’t have one, try a new class at the gym, practice yoga, play tennis, climb a mountain…you get the point. You need to move your body. Get the blood flowing and oxygen to your brain so it can start saying nice, confident things back to you!
Take Action: Schedule 30 min. for 3 of the next 7 days to do something that helps you get moving. I’m not talking about lifting a glass of delicious iced tea to your mouth. I’m talking sweat generating or panting-worthy movement. Write down how you feel before – and after – and whether your confidence got a boost. If not, feel free to switch your activity!
There is such power in visualization. If you’ve never done it before, it’s the idea of imagining yourself doing something that you’re striving to do. It kind of goes like this: you close your eyes and really see yourself as confident. Who is there? What’s happening with your senses – the sights, smells, tastes, textures, etc.? How do you feel? What are you wearing? You paint a specific picture of how you see yourself doing something confidently and successfully and repeat the end result (that is positive of course!) over and over again.
Take Action: Find a quiet place. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Choose a goal or a state of being that you want to achieve or be in. Go there. Visualize everything that you want to happen there. Feel your confidence rise as you complete this visualization. When you’re done, carry that little nugget of confidence back into your day. Repeat as often as necessary until you are that confident person in that visualization.
11. Talk it out
Call a supportive friend, colleague, family member, therapist, coach like me, or anyone who will listen intentionally and provide you with good, supportive feedback to feed your confidence.
Take Action: Determine who your talk-it-out support team is and try out your challenge on them. If chatting with them makes you step it up and feel more confident = win! If not, pick a new person to chat with.
Think of how you’re serving others. In a take take-take-take world, when we act in the spirit of service, it changes how we feel, because we are giving to others. Then they can receive your love and service. God-given confidence largely comes from a spirit of serving others.
Take Action: Find an opportunity to serve someone else in your work, personal life, or in a volunteer capacity. Yes, it not only feels good, but renews that you’re making a difference and that you have purpose. Now THAT is confidence building.
Take action and share what you choose to work on at #betsysummercamp2015 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Until next week (we’ll chat about Courage), be well!