How many things have you not done due to a lack of confidence?
What have you lost because of your self-doubt?
Missed out on a raise because you were too afraid to ask?
Let an opportunity go by because you feared taking a risk?
Missed out on something fun?
Most people have had experiences with a lack of confidence: they remember the sweaty hands, the pit in their stomach, the wish to disappear, the fear that if they tried, they might fail.
When I was younger, I was about as confident as Velveeta. I’d cross the street to avoid talking to someone, sit in the back making myself as small as possible, and hang out quietly in the corner at parties (if I even went!).
It felt terrible. I wanted to ask for a raise, I wanted to start a conversation with someone who looked interesting, or volunteer to answer a question in class. I wanted to stop swimming in self-doubt and my fears of looking stupid.
So I immersed myself in courses. I took risks and failed miserably. But I didn’t stop. I kept going until I earned my doctorate and starting working with people like you, people who wanted more out of life. I became the confident woman I wanted to be.
Many of you stop yourself before you start. You consider doing something and your brain jumps to attention.
“Oh, you can’t do that, you might get hurt!”
“You’ll look ridiculous!”
“You’re too _____ (old, young, dumb, clumsy, flighty, introverted) for that!”
Our brains like patterns and routine and when you step out of your routine, you risk being uncomfortable. However, if you remain in that comfort zone, guess what? Nothing changes.
Here’s two simple ways to begin boosting your confidence. The way they work is super simple: When we change our posture, our body interprets that based on history. When you felt confident you likely stood up straighter, took up more room and felt strong. Your brain read that as feeling good and feeling good smacks away self-doubt!
Before you get out of bed, stretch. Raise your arms over your head, spread your legs apart and really take up all the room you can. It feels good, sending endorphins to your brain and says, this is the way to be!
Anytime you have an important phone call or a meeting (even a big discussion with a loved one), do this: Strike a pose like Wonder Woman or Superman. Remember how super heroes used to always stand, hands on hips, feet shoulder width apart, back straight and chin up? Yep, just like that! Do it before engaging in projects that tap into your fears of doing it wrong or failing too!
Why do these strategies work?
When we’re not confident, fearful, or feeling self-doubt, we tend to make our bodies small. We take up less space in hopes that we won’t call attention to ourselves. And our brain responds by saying, “Let’s stay safe and not have anyone notice us.”
When we take up room, we send a message to ourselves of expansion and a willingness to be visible. As we allow ourselves to be more visible and receive positive feedback, we feel good. We try more. It’s a winning cycle.
What do you think? Are you willing to try it? Will you let me know?