Five Hacks for Building Confidence
Confidence is one of the things that a lot of women struggle with. Lack of confidence in ourselves can lead us to staying in a job we hate, making poor decisions for our health and even postponing our dreams.
I have been there and experienced all of those things. There was a time when my confidence was linked to my work. In fact, that was the only area of my life where I did feel confident. I was an accountant getting a promotion every couple of years. I found myself in positions where I was the “go to” person for problem solving and trouble shooting. Before I knew it, I was making a six figure salary and feeling like a rock star! Then my world got shaken and I had no confidence even in my work. My work, my trustworthiness and even my management style were being called into question. This was my rock bottom. I was unhealthy, unhappy and miserable. I knew that something had to change, so I began to rebuild my confidence one slow step at a time. Even though it took me several years to find confidence in my life again, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple things you can do every day to feel more confident. These are my top five favorites!
1. Posture. One of my favorite ways to feel more confident is to practice good posture. If you are slouching around in your chair or while standing, that brings automatic feelings of smallness and exudes a lack of confidence. However, if you are standing tall and practicing good posture, you will feel more confident in the world. You will definitely feel better about yourself. In Pilates we teach about posture and alignment. You learn to stand with your shoulders back and chest open while focusing on keeping your shoulder blades dropped down the back. One cue is to put your shoulder blades in your back pocket. Impossible, right? But think about it. If you are focused on getting those shoulder blades into your back pockets, you have no choice but to keep your shoulders back and your chest open! I have been practicing Pilates and the posture that they teach for over six years and I have found a tremendous boost in my confidence just by utilizing this trick!
2. Power Pose. You may have heard of this already, but let me tell you the power pose does work on building confidence! All it takes is two minutes and you will find a drop in stress hormone cortisol and an increase in the power hormone testosterone. Basically, all you do is adopt a pose of power, think Wonder Woman. Feet apart, hands on hips, shoulders back. Hold the pose for two minutes and voila! You feel more confident and even better you project more confidence! I use this took whenever I am about to teach an essential oil class and I find myself going in more confident and capable. Amy Cuddy explains it best, check out her Ted Talk here https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.
3. Keep it Small. That may sound counter intuitive, but stick with me here. I am a firm believer in taking small steps. Look at a big goal, break it down into small chunks and do one small chunk at a time. When you do one small chunk at a time, you can complete that small chunk and that makes you feel more confident and accomplished. On the other hand, if you are looking to complete the whole ginormous project and don’t complete it, you feel less confident and possibly you will want to quit. I’ve used this personally and with clients and it always works! When I was working on losing 60 pounds, I did it not by looking at the 60 pound goal, but looking at the 2 pound goal!
4. Give Back. Be generous with your time, yourself or your money. There is nothing like helping others in some small way to increase your confidence. You could volunteer at the local food kitchen. Or buy some bread and cheese and make a few sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless in your town. Being generous with your time and giving of yourself to others doesn’t always have to mean spending money. Last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a flood ravaged are of WV. Connecting with people in that way gave me more confidence in myself and my abilities to build the business of my dreams. The world becomes a better place when we help those in need. We feel better about ourselves and those we are helping feel better too.
5. Smile. All you have to do is smile. Smile at your family, smile as you walk down the street, smile at your co-workers. A smile releases tension. It makes you feel better and it makes those around you feel better. What could bring more confidence than that? I remember when I was first trying to rebuild confidence in myself. I participated in a group program that gave weekly assignments. One was to smile at a stranger and say hello. I found that so impactful on my confidence that I still do it regularly! Smile today. Share some positive energy, love and acceptance with others through your smile and you will feel awesome!
Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life.
To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance