Confidence: The Key to Unlocking Everything

5 ways to cultivate your confidence.

In business and in life, how you present yourself says a lot about who you are. If you’re too afraid to ask for what you want in life, whether it’s that cute boy at the bookstore, a raise at work, respect from others, or a new client, then you simply won’t get it.

And you may have a perfectly fine life. You date, you make ok money, people probably respect you, and you have a couple clients. You can have a nice, if timid, life.

For me, timid wasn’t enough.

When I was still in the corporate world (less than a year ago, lived there for 10 years), I got a raise when I went in and ASKED for one, straight from the COO, and gave 4 reasons why I deserved it, including examples.

I get respect because I give it to others who are deserving, I don’t demand it for free, and because I make sure I deserve it by being great at my job, polite to people, and in general a kind and straightforward person (at least I try!).

As a full-time freelancer, I make good money because I know I am valuable and that my work has worth, and I only work with clients who see that. I can choose to give discounts, but generally don’t.

You know what pays my rent? Money. My husband refuses to eat “exposure” for dinner and I can’t feed my cat with “potential sales.”

CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY in all areas of your life.

Every. Single. One.

Confidence starts internally, but if you don’t have it yet, then fake it ’til you make it.

Confidence is one of the few areas of life where you can truly fake it until you internalize it, which then becomes natural.

Body language. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Uncross your arms and leave yourself open. Walk with your head up instead of looking at the ground. Use better posture. These are all visual signs of self-confidence.

Develop a firm handshake. There’s little worse in this world than a limp half-fingershake. Just no.

Sell yourself. Don’t ever say anything like “Oh, well they are great, but I could…” Don’t compare yourself or your services to anyone. Stay focused on what YOU do. “Yes, I can do XYZ. In fact, one of the ways I will make you more money is by….” “Yes! I love helping my clients save time by doing…”

By focusing on the yes and the positive, that is what the client will stay focused on, too. Stop comparing yourself to others and find YOUR specialties.

Be honest. Confidence doesn’t mean you know everything. But it means you are comfortable with yourself and your skills and are not afraid to be honest and even admit you don’t know everything. Instead of ever trying to BS someone, be honest. “You know, I’m not 100% sure. Let me go get the answer and get back to you so I know I’m giving you correct information.” or “I don’t know, but I will find out today and email you.”

People will trust you more if you are honest and can admit you don’t have all the answers. They will also respect you more.

Respect yourself — and only others who deserve it. Sometimes in business there can be a pervading idea of “respect your elders.” That might work for grandparents, but shouldn’t in business. First and most importantly, you should respect yourself. Know your strengths and revel in them. Know your weaknesses and hide them, as well as work on them to strengthen them. Respect yourself because if YOU don’t, why should others?

But when it comes to other people, don’t just automatically give respect where it is demanded. Give it to those who deserve it. If you do NOT respect someone, that is not a license to be a jerk or disrespectful to them. Be polite, be civil, but take them with a grain of salt and make sure to really look at orders they give or things they say to clients, and do not place your sense of self-worth in their hands. Be wary of them and also do YOUR best to deserve respect.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. When you’re good at something, revel in it. Bathe yourself in your confidence and spritz it on like perfume. Tell clients how great you are at this — with examples! Demand fair pay and of course pay others fairly.

Confidence is the key that unlocks every part of your life.

People want to hire confident employees.

People want to date confident partners. That isn’t to say that you must be without insecurities — no, because everyone has insecurities. It’s about loving yourself despite your flaws and knowing that you are worthy of respect and love from others.

If you can’t love and respect you, how can others?