Ten Ways to Get an Immediate Confidence Boost

How to do almost anything while boosting your confidence!

1. Jot down your most badass moments and keep them in a jar.

It’s an more uplifting version of confidence building. Maybe your boss said your presentation was hands-down the best she’s ever seen, or the new person you met this past weekend complimented your style. Instead of forgetting those moments, write them on slips of paper, keep them in a jar, and pull a few out when you need to remember just how amazing you are.

2. Strike a power pose.

The way you carry yourself can boost your confidence in a big way, according to a 2012 study from Harvard Business School. When participants adopted high-power poses like standing Superwoman-style with their feet firmly planted and their hands on their hips, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol went down by about 25 percent, and the dominance hormone testosterone actually rose by about 19 percent. On the other hand, low-power poses like sitting down with their arms crossed increased cortisol by around 17 percent and tanked testosterone by about 10 percent. Be Wonder Woman or Superman!

3. Act like you’re qualified, even if you don’t think you are. 

You know the people who aren’t the most competent, but their boundless belief in themselves somehow convinces everyone they are? Yeah, be like them. Chances are you’re actually not puffing your chest out as much as you should—one famous Hewlett-Packard study showed that the men involved asked for a promotion when they met 60 percent of the new role’s requirements, whereas the women only did so when they were pretty much a perfect fit. The takeaway: you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, so don’t prematurely pull yourself from the running because you think you’re not good enough. 

4. Imitate the greats. 

Some people exude confidence like the sun radiates heat. Even if you don’t naturally have that aura, you can do a little studying to see what impresses you so much about them, then try to adopt a bit of that yourself until it rings true. This can be anything from reading books like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In or Shonda Rhimes’ The Year of Yes to paying close attention to how your company’s CEO comports herself when running meetings. 

5. Do things you’re good at.

Whether it’s snowboarding or doing the NYTimes crossword puzzle, sometimes doing what you’re awesome at—or even just reminding yourself that you’re stellar at those activities—can give you a wave of confidence to ride until you learn to believe it 24/7. 

6. Write down positive affirmations.

Reading a few written reminders of your worth before you leave your place can be helpful. That’s especially true when they’re on Post-its next to the mirror. If you think actually writing out positive thoughts about yourself is a tad cheesy, try coming up with a few mantras that you can mentally repeat in moments of uncertainty, like, “Your friends think you’re wonderful and you’re loyal. You are awesome, end of story.”

7. Strike these words from your vocabulary.

When you use qualifiers like “just” too often—”I just wanted to check up on that report”—you may undermine how other people view you and even skew your own self-perception. In June 2015, Business Insider ran a piece by former Google executive Ellen Petry Leanse explaining how pervasive the word “just” is with women in the workplace and why it can influence how confident you seem to others. Sloane Crosley’s New York Times article from the same month wages war on the word “sorry” for similar reasons. Then there’s the fact that overusing filler words like “um,” “uh,” and, well, “like” can often make you seem less sure of yourself. There’s a lot to be said about how this kind of critiquing of women’s speech can potentially be problematic, but it’s worth noting when you want to project as much confidence as possible. 

8. Ask questions when you’re feeling uncomfortable. 

If you’re in a nerve-racking social situation, don’t shrink away from the spotlight—turn it onto someone else. Most people love talking about themselves, so asking insightful questions can help them take an immediate shine to you. Plus, even though you may be doing it because you’re nervous, it can give off the vibe that you’re the one leading the conversation, which makes you seem self-possessed and in control. 

9. Head to YouTube before you do something important.

Sometimes seeing someone else be amazing rubs off on you in an inspiring way. Before a big meeting, watch a powerful woman like Kerry Washington give a yas-worthy speech, or dance along to Selena Gomez’ latest music video before you go out with friends. The point is to watch something that fills you with the appropriate kind of “I am woman, hear me roar” feelings for the situation you’re about to enter. 

10. Accept compliments instead of deflecting them.

Do you think Beyoncé responds to post-show praise with, “Aw, no, you’re so sweet, but I really messed up that one step”? No, she probably smiles, says a gracious “Thank you,” and continues on knowing the compliment was 100 percent true and that her mere presence gives everyone around her life. Basically, the secret to faking confidence is asking yourself: What Would Bey do? 

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