‘On Top. On top of what?’, do I hear you ask? Answer: Self-confidence.
Yep, even leaders lack confident at times. That’s because confidence, or the lack of, is the result of our mindset and that not a static. A mind-set takes diligence to maintain and this is especially so in challenging moments. A mind-set is not only learned, it must be practiced to master, just like any other skill. The good news is, once mastered, it is effortless – it still needs to be maintained, but that’s a matter of polishing. And you know the trick with polishing? Stay on top of it and it isn’t like work at all.
Enjoy polishing your self-confidence. daily with these top seven ways leaders do:
1. Be it.
Non-verbally you instantly announce if your self-assured. It makes sense that if you look and behave confident (even when you don’t feel it), you’ll not only feel in more control, but people will have more confidence in you as well. But the awesome neuroscience news is, that your brain monitors what you body is doing and then decided how you feel. So if you are behaving with certainty your brain will believe that you are and BINGO, before you know it you are. See, it is not only wise advice to ‘be the change you seek’ (Dalai Lama), science supports it.
How can you do this if you have never behaved confidently before? Watch out for confident people who display self-assuredness and watch what they do. In fact, find three different people to discretely observe and your brain will work out the patterns and start to create these behaviours in you.
As a heads up, some standard non-verbals associated with confidence are: head high, upright posture, shoulders aligned with your spine, firm handshake and good eye contact when listening.
2. Dress confidently.
Look the message you want to convey. When you dress in the morning, pause and ask, ‘what statement is this making about me?’
As a heads up, choose clothing that fits you well – neither too tight or too big. Choose clothing that suits your industry, but still enjoy letting your personality shine in the accessories. Interesting jewellery or an unusual tie can be a good conversation starter.
Again, watch out for confident people who display self-assuredness and watch how they dress. Remember a repetition of three different people to discretely observe, and your brain will work out the pattern and you’ll be able to be appropriate with some individuality.
3. Speak assertively.
A confident person speakers with certainty, in a steady, rhythmic tone. Listen out for speakers you enjoy and be mindful of the way he or she speaks. Instead of allowing “ums” and “ahs” to interrupt the flow, use a pause to collect your thoughts and it will work to emphasise your ideas.
If you are female and you naturally have a high tone in your voice, consider cultivating a slightly deeper tone. You can not be taken seriously if you are high-pitched, nervously chatter, twitter or giggle.
4. Think positively to act positively.
Positive energy leads to positive outcomes, so determine to choose a ‘can do’ attitude.
In addition you need to diligently look out for ANTs. All humans are prone to ANTs infesting their brains and undermining confidence and eroding positive energy. ‘ANTs!?! How can ANTs get in my brain?’, do I hear you ask? Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are a feature of every brain on the planet. Our brains are wired to protect us from danger by having a negative bias. How can you help overcome this negative bias? Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of high points and your accomplishments.
What ever you put attention on you reinforce and you get more of that. So, to aid building positive thoughts, make a list of your strengths and identify at least one strategy for utilising that strength. The more you focus on your positive traits the more your confidence will expand.
5. Take action.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear, but action creates confidence and courage. So, initiate actions that are certain and confident such as approaching someone you don’t yet know at a networking event and introducing yourself. That is ease enough, isn’t it? You know who you are – well at least you know your name and what you do, don’t you? You are sure to get that correct. And then, after the introduction, pay careful attention to them and be curious about who they are. See how much you can find out about what they do and why that appeals to them – how they go into that. People generally enjoy someone showing a genuine interest in them. Or, consider accepting a project you’d normally reject.
6. Prepare well.
Have you heard this before?… ‘Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance’. Learn everything you can about your industry, your area of interest and the people you are likely to meet. If you are going to an event, pay attention to who the speaker is, any VIPs welcomed and research them. We all have smart phones that allow as to do an internet search in moments. Memorise their role/title and some of their key achievements. You don’t have to mention these, just be aware and this will allow you to feel more relaxed – like you know them somewhat – when speaking with them (and remember tip 5, go up and say hello).
7. Take it one bite at a time.
When you have new tasks to do, don’t try to accomplish in one go. Break complex tasks up into small, bite-size, manageable pieces. You know the expression, “How do you eat an elephant. One bite at a time.” Achieving – step by step – also builds a more confident you.
NOW, the key question is…
choose to do just one of these things every single day,
how much would your confidence strengthen in a week?
And… if you
choose to do more than one a day,
consider the impact on your minds-set in a month from now.
NOW … the facts is, the information in this blog won’t make any difference at all,
but you can if you
choose to proactively build your confident mind-set everyday.