Cultivating Confidence

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Last week we talked about how confidence equals success and how, even if you feel like the least confident person in the world, it’s possible to build your confidence through your brain’s neural plasticity. But how, you may be asking, how exactly can I go on this magical quest? This week, I’ll share my top tips for cultivating confidence. One caveat - none of these are easy, quick fixes and must be practiced daily and with intention to be successful.

FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT or ACT LIKE YOU LIVE THERE. This has always been my number one personal practice for developing my own confidence. If you feel like you’re not good enough or are dealing with a raging case of impostor syndrome, acting like you own the situation forces you to draw on your deep reserves of knowledge and leadership. Before you know it, you won’t be faking it anymore. This practice also allows you to invest more fully in yourself. If you feel like you’re a high risk investment, that’s great! The higher the risk, the greater ROI.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT AND MAKE A PLAN TO GET THERE. By setting small, achievable goals on the way to the big ones, you create a series of small wins that build unshakeable confidence for when you really need it. Looking for a guide to help you goal set? Lara Casey’s PowerSheets are hands down my favorite and the most effective.

VISUALIZE. When I first started a visualization practice, I absolutely hated it. Sitting on my own with my eyes closed thinking about the future in a really detailed way (e.g. “You’re 40. What does your house look like? What do you have for breakfast everyday? What do you smell?) seemed stupid and unproductive. However, once I really let my mind wander, these visualization sessions became key to identifying my goals and the steps I needed to complete to reach them. When I broke my visualization practice down even further, I began to use it for smaller, more immediate events (i.e. “What does it feel like when you step in front of that room of people to speak for the first time? How will your client react when you walk them through a difficult problem? How will your voice sound when talking to that client?”) This gave me so much confidence when I actually had to perform in these situations because I had, in essence, already practice them in my head and anticipated the best outcomes, as well as potential pitfalls.

DAILY AFFIRMATIONS. This is another one I really struggled to work into my daily confidence practice. Again, it seemed silly! However, when you develop your own affirmation, you become your own best cheerleader and your confidence is built on internal, rather than external affirmation (i.e. praise from a boss or a client.) When you’ve found an affirmation that works for you, say it daily, write it down where you can see it, and evaluate it regularly, as what you need from your affirmation will change over time. Brianne Wik of Brightly and Co does a wonderful daily affirmation practice on her Instagram - check it out.

CHANNEL YOUR HEROES. By meditating on the best qualities of your heroes, you can begin to emulate them in your daily life and career. Who strikes you as extremely confident? Why? Figure out what they do and integrate into your work. See what happens!

Come back later this week and learn more tips for cultivating confidence!

Shea Keats