The Power of Confidence How To Get It
25th March 2015
Have you ever caught yourself in a moment when you felt unstoppable, happy, capable, and the world seemed like your oyster. Unfortunately, for many of us these moments can be rare but the good news is we can take steps to make them more frequent. So what’s actually happening when we feel this surge of positivity?
Words: Carol Bolger
It could be that someone said something that made us feel good or something happened that dialed up our confidence barometer. Yes it’s all about confidence – when we feel confident we have a strong perception of ourselves and this has an enormous impact on how others perceive us. The aura we give off is one of power, competence and decisiveness. With 97% of all first impressions based on appearance and body language the importance of building confidence cannot be underestimated. On the other hand the negative perception we portray when we feel anxious or scared can be much more damaging than we realise.
As women we frequently assume people around us are very confident, we rate ourselves against them and mark ourselves down. From my experience most people are less confident than you might think but some have managed to control the voices in their heads that seek to cast doubt on their abilities. These voices can take several guises from the Self Saboteur who constantly questions our ability to ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) to Imposter Syndrome (someone will find me out). This chattering that goes on can be very damaging if left uncontrolled and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy – as Henry Ford famously once said ‘whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right’.
So what can you do to change your mindset and improve that first impression you make? It starts with Self Awareness, knowing what you stand for, your values, what triggers you, acknowledging your strengths and harvesting them. This takes time and practice, giving yourself space to understand what is important to you and having a firm foundation about who you are. And then it’s all about Self Belief, taking back the power, not allowing others or your self talk make you feel inferior because when you do this you are giving someone else the upper hand over you. ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’ – Eleanor Roosevelt.
The story of Susan Boyle is one that fascinates many of us because she was a most unlikely star when we first set eyes on her but she had talent and ability in abundance, she had been honing her talents all her life and once given an opportunity her greatness was evident. Like her, we need to believe we are destined for more, we can be moulded by the gifts we have been given and with courage, encouragement, practice and perseverance we can shine as the stars we truly are.
You can start today by taking action to increase the frequency of those moments when you feel unstoppable. Take these small steps and move the dial forward for you:
– Own your space: make that first impression a lasting positive one, smile and know that you have a contribution to make
– Own your accomplishments: start writing down your successes, your great moments, your brilliance – remember them!
– Have a point of view: know what you stand for, practice articulating it, learn how to deal with views that conflict with yours
– Get support: seek out people you can trust who will help you succeed; they might be family, friends, work colleagues, a mentor or coach
Ultimately it’s about developing your personal brand into one that exudes confidence and capability. Improving self awareness and starting to exercise influence within your network is a major step forward. Confidence can be developed with preparation and practice, it is a powerful skill that can unlock your true potential. The power of confidence can turn those moments when you feel unstoppable into days when you know you could rule the world.
Carol Bolger is a consultant who works with financial institutions and SMEs. She is a Chartered Director and an accredited Executive coach and also works with females in industry as a coach and mentor.