Successful people exude confidence! It’s not their success that gives them that confidence – the confidence was already there. They’re confident because they believe in themselves, they believe in what they’re doing and they always knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were right.
Successful people have the confidence to take calculated risks. They understand the business they are in and more important, they understand themselves – they know their own strengths and limitations. Most important of all however is that they can see their goal clearly and have definite ideas about how they’re going to go about achieving it. They have no doubts… on the contrary, they have a vision, a dream if you like, and they set themselves on that path with a determination that is unstoppable.
Their belief in themselves, their ideas and their objectives, rubs off on other people. I often use the example of not needing a degree in psychology to know when someone’s flirting with you. Well guess what? No one needs a degree in psychology to work out when a person has confidence or if they’re plagued by doubt. If you’re unsure about yourself, you can hardly expect other people to believe in you.
Sure, it takes confidence to reach for new challenges, but life is full of these tests. I believe that we all pass lots of little tests every day, for instance meeting new people, finishing small tasks, making phone calls, saying “no” to people. So really, you already have confidence, it’s just that you become unsure when you’re on unfamiliar ground.
People who lack confidence or who are fearful or insecure tend to stay within their comfort zones. The problem is, a comfort zone is a bit like a straightjacket – once you’re in one, it’s difficult to get out! This is why people lacking in confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs and let valuable opportunities slip past them.
Don’t get me wrong… Lacking confidence is not the same as being cautious. I believe caution is a good thing! Before embarking on any project, one should always check out the positives and the negatives, always assessing risks against potential benefits. There is common sense in this advice – trust me. Anyone who rushes into a business (or a relationship) like a bull in a china shop is plain foolish! Making lists, using a spread sheet, doing sensible and thorough research are all important, but the one thing that’s absent could just be the confidence to go through with something once you’ve decided it’s worth doing. Having the confidence to achieve something special or unique will give you the will to do it. Be careful though, because this doesn’t necessarily work the other way round – having the will to do something isn’t always easy if you lack the confidence to see it through.
Understandably, if you don’t feel fully confident you are more likely to feel at the mercy of external circumstances. It’s sometimes tempting to blame other people or minor obstacles and use these as reasons for not going forward. Successful people aren’t deterred by people or obstacles! And this is why they succeed.
Without real confidence in yourself, or what you want to achieve, the only person stopping you from achieving it is yourself. It’s time to remove that barrier of self-doubt. You can do it, and once you have, you will be surprised how easy it actually is!
You can help yourself turn your back on doubt by closing your eyes and using a little bit of creative relaxation. For instance, imagine that each little doubt has a physical constituent, maybe butterflies in your stomach, a tenseness around the back of your neck or perspiration on your brow.
The next step is to imagine these physical manifestations evaporating into thin air and being replaced by a warm feeling of confidence and self-assuredness. Give that new feeling a colour – perhaps your favourite colour, or a colour that makes you feel comfortable and safe. Using your own creative imagination, think about how much better that new feeling is – imagine it becoming an integral part of you, slowly merging into every part of your mind and body.
Confidence is one of the crucial building blocks in the formula for success, so here are the 7 Confidence Tricks that will change you forever…
Trick 1. Don’t confuse conceit with confidence. Confidence is earned through hard work, and confident people are self-aware. If your confidence outweighs your abilities, then you’ve crossed the line to conceit and arrogance. Trust me, it’s important to understand the difference. Real confidence is firmly rooted in reality – it’s important to have a realistic view of your own abilities. Try to identify areas that could be improved – work on these, but don’t ignore them. Likewise, recognising your strengths will enable you to ignore any negativity that naturally occurs in a competitive environment – the ability to do that will immediately start to build your confidence.
Trick 2. Just say NO. Believe me, you’ll start to enjoy saying it after while. If you find it difficult to say no, you are much more likely to experience stress and loss of confidence and self-esteem. Practise saying it out loud when you’re on your own – imagine you’re saying it to someone you would actually like to say no to. See how good it feels? They’ll respect you more for it in the end, they really will! Don’t pussyfoot around with meaningless phrases such as ‘I’ll have to think about it.’ Just say no and make your intention clear – firm but nice. Now you will have more time and energy for your own more important commitments.
Trick 3. A difficult relationship can destroy anyone’s confidence, whether it’s at work or in a social setting. It’s hard to be confident when someone is constantly attempting to criticise you or undermine you. Try to identify where the relationship is going wrong and decide whether there’s anything you can do to get things back on track. If the relationship is truly unsalvageable, it’s time to move on to something, or someone, else.
Trick 4. Confident people tend to challenge themselves as well as compete with others. Small victories excite the pleasure centres in the brain, in particular those responsible for reward and motivation. This will further increase your confidence and your eagerness to take on challenges in the future. If you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.
Trick 5. Finding a mentor, a talented, experienced person and getting them on your side is a good way to build confidence. A good mentor can act as a sounding board for your thoughts and ideas, helping you develop belief in yourself.
Trick 6. Knowledge builds confidence – study articles, read books, or watch DVDs related to your chosen subject. The more you know, the more you can effectively focus your energy. This will also help you be more authoritative – if you are one chapter ahead of everyone else, confidence will come naturally. Knowledge is power! However, don’t confuse being authoritative with being authoritarian. The meaning of these two very similar words are different, and you don’t want to be perceived as someone who comes across as being aggressive. You can assert yourself without being rude.
Trick 6. A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for a short time began to rate their body image and self-esteem higher. This had the unexpected side effect of improving their ability to communicate better. The immediate release of endorphins from exercise also made a difference. A little exercise a couple of times a week can start to increase your confidence.
Trick 7. Ever heard the expression ‘clothes maketh the man?’ Well it’s true. The way you dress (this includes shoes and accessories and even the way you wear your hair) can make you feel better about yourself and can exert a huge effect on how others see you. Studies have shown that people speak and behave differently when they’re ‘dressed to kill’ compared to when they’re dressed casually. You can boost your confidence just by dressing well, choosing clothing that reflects who you are and the image you want to project. I have found that encouraging clients who suffer from depression to smarten themselves up is a useful and worthwhile first step on the road to recovery.
Remember, your confidence is your own! No one can steal it from you any more than they can steal your soul. Even though confidence must be based on reality, it’s your own reality at the end of the day that matters. No one ever told anyone off because they were confident. In fact the converse is true… others will respect you a lot more if you exude confidence. So, memorise these simple rules – one a day for a week and put them into practice.
Go on… I dare you!