Just think of how often confidence comes up in the course of your life, whether it is in rehearsal, in performance, speaking in public, making presentations or pitches, networking or interviewing for a job. Confidence is at the heart of your personal motivation and self-esteem to put you at ease. It is also essential when you interact with others in order to enhance your ability to get your message across and have a positive influence on those around you.
The good news is that there are many techniques that can help to boost your belief in yourself and your abilities! This means discovering your gifts so that you can be authentic and natural and then share the best of yourself and inspire those around you.
With top-10 lists abounding this holiday season, here are my top 10 tips for building and boosting your confidence.
1. Tap into Flow
Flow is an energetic state that represents your optimal state of performance: the effortless, joyful experience of doing something that you are good at and that gives you joy, receiving the feedback on how you are doing and rising to meet the challenge with the confidence that you can achieve that elevated state. Step one is to discover what you are like at Flow and then tap into that positive energy source whenever you want to project confidence.
For 7 ways to raise your energy and tap into Flow, click here.
2. Play To Your Strengths
Research from positive psychology shows that identifying and using your strengths is associated with greater happiness and motivation, a better sense of direction and a higher probability of achieving goals, as well as increased self-confidence and productivity.
So discover your strengths and then use and develop those strengths to work smarter, not harder so that you can project more confidence. Here’s how to play to your strengths!
To get even more bang for your buck, combine Flow and Strengths to boost your confidence.
3. Share Your Passions
Chances are that you have watched one or more TED talks, those inspirational 18-minutes of wisdom and insight from some of the world’s leading thinkers.
Have you ever wondered why TED speakers are so skilled at making speeches? That’s because they receive a lot of coaching in how to make a great speech, including a list of 10 rules or TED Commandments. One of my favorites is:
TED COMMANDMENT 3: Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
And no wonder! Passion is infectious, not only to motivate the speaker but also to inspire the audience. So tap into your passions and share them freely!
For help in finding your passion, click here!
4. Visualize Success
Another way to project confidence is to visualize yourself at success. What does it look like for you to give a great speech, a knock-out presentation or a stunning performance? Imagine yourself on stage or in the conference room or in a room full of people who are beaming as you finish up. Or select another image that inspires you to reach the heights!
This technique, also known as mental imagery, has been used in sports psychology and has made its way into world of the performing arts as well. My colleague Dr. Noa Kageyama, is a Juilliard-trained violinist with a doctorate in psychology who teaches a class on performance anxiety at Juilliard and writes frequently on the topic of how to reach peak performance. Here is his take on how to use mental imagery in order to be at your best.
5. Be of Service
If you feel self-conscious when performing or speaking in public, chances are that you believe the audience is judging you. Yet how true is that belief? In fact, other than music critics, audiences attend performances for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with judging you!
One of my favorite tips for overcoming the fear of appearing in public is to take the focus off of yourself and think of your audience: What do they need and how you can you be of service?
- Maybe your role is to provide insights that no one else has.
- Or to inspire your public.
- Or to share something meaningful that may help them.
Refocusing the spotlight onto your public and being of service to them is a true win/win: you help them AND you overcome your fears!
6. Embody Your Values
Values are the principles for which we stand. Another confidence builder it to incorporate those values into your life and take actions that manifest your code of principles. Living your values is how you “walk the talk”.
When you know and act in accordance with your values, you are more likely to find the motivation to pursue opportunities and make smart choices for yourself.
And the more motivated you are, the more you are likely to project confidence as you create and seize upon the opportunities that lead to success.
7. Know What Works
We all have a method for getting things done well. The trick is to know what your method is, to codify that process and to apply it to new situations. This breaks down into 3 steps:
- What works?
- What about it works?
- How can you apply your method to other situations?
Let’s take the example of learning a new piece of music.
For me, I like to listen to a recording or attend a concert so that I can hear the piece. (What works).
I have a good ear for music and I also need to understand how the whole piece fits together before I embark on reading through the score. (What about my process works).
And when I start a new project, I first have to see the big picture before I embark on creating the new work. (How I apply my process to other situations).
Following this three-step process not only saves time but also boosts your confidence because it provides a roadmap of how to get things done well.
8. Reframe Your Challenges
Reframing is a great technique that asks you to look for the opportunity in a challenge.
A classic example of reframing involves two shoe salesmen who arrive in Africa in the 1900’s to find out if there were opportunities for selling shoes. [Thanks to Ben Zander in his marvelous TED talk for relaying this story!]
The first one wrote a telegram to his home office saying: “Situation hopeless. Stop. They don’t wear shoes.”
And the other one wrote, “Glorious opportunity. They don’t have any shoes yet.”
So when you are interacting with the public, think about your opportunity: Is it to share your passion? Live a value? Learn something new? Be of service?
Now you are thinking like an entrepreneur!
9. Face Your Fears
Successful people seem to push through their fears, as though they were fearless. In fact, chances are that they know what their challenges are and they come up with ways to overcome those fears.
What is the scariest thing about interacting with others?
- Not sounding smart enough?
- Feeling judged?
- Not knowing what to say?
If you can answer that question, you have taken the first step towards overcoming your fear. By isolating your fears, you can then pinpoint the problem and come up with a solution. That goes a long way to putting you in charge of yourself and will help you to be more confident.
10. Keep a Success Journal
One last technique that helps to build confidence over the long-term is to compile your successes in a success journal: from small steps like having the courage to attend a new event or to email someone whom you have just met to large successes like giving a great presentation.
Collect these successes in a journal (or word document or file on your iPhone). Be sure to note what it took for you to create that success so that you understand your best way of operating, Then, reread your journal from time to time as a reminder that you can be confident and successful!
By incorporating and then practicing one or more of these strategies, just think of how your confidence will increase. This holiday season, give yourself the gift of confidence and set yourself up with a successful, confident and wonderful new year.
Happy Holidays to all!