Cultivating Confidence (part 2!)

When have I felt the most confident? Probably while hiking the Camino de Santiago. If walking a minimum of 20 miles a day for a month doesn’t convince you you’re capable of anything, then I don’t know what will!

When have I felt the most confident? Probably while hiking the Camino de Santiago. If walking a minimum of 20 miles a day for a month doesn’t convince you you’re capable of anything, then I don’t know what will!

Clearly last month had me thinking a lot about confidence - I’d planned it that way! But on top of that I had three things happened to me that really had me contemplating my current confidence levels.

  • First, a new friend and business acquaintance was scheduled to join me as a guest on my podcast, Camp Adulthood. Camp Adulthood has been primarily a passion project for me and my co-host Maddie over the past two years. Passion project or not, Maddie and I haven’t let that deter us from investing in equipment, software, and education to make sure the quality of the program was top notch. My friend then mentioned to me that, before she listened to the podcast, she thought it must not be very good, because I didn’t talk about it very much and called it “just” a side project. Huge eye opener for me about how even the most savvy of us (hello, I teach confidence in language for a living) can downplay our best work.

  • Second, an author I admire who has the loveliest Instagram account recently posted about how much she loved a new novel by an established author. An established author who just happened to have been a college professor of mine who’d dealt a major confidence blow to little 21 year old me, basically telling me that I had no talent and I pretended to be interested in writing, because I was trying to suck up to her! (I’d asked her advice about potentially applying to MFA programs.) It’s taken me the better part of a decade to get over this blow and only now am I even starting to consider writing creatively again - even though I’ve dedicated a good portion of my career to writing professionally and academically! Here’s to trying and giving the bird to any naysayers!

  • Finally, as I get ready for a major corporate client pitch, impostor syndrome has reared it’s ugly head. It’s ok, and I’m going to just keep on doing the things that make me feel like I don’t belong. Remember the only way to beat impostor syndrome is to refuse to let it dictate your boldest actions.

Still not feeling confident? Here are a few more tips to cultivate everyday confidence:

  • We’ve all heard about The Power Pose and while that particular practice was debunked as a bit of a myth, there’s still something to be said for firm handshakes, genuine smiles, and wearing clothes that make you feel like you can take on the world.

  • Engage in lifelong learning. By cultivating a growth mindset through new things and experiences, failure becomes part of the learning process. Your confidence will no longer be devastated by the occasional failure - be it minor (getting lost on the way to an interview) or major (dropping the ball with your biggest client). Don’t forget to reward your efforts, not just your results.

  • Take time to explore and really know your personal values, morals, and ethics. This will prevent you from backing down when you have a big idea or need to confront an unscrupulous boss. Will your convictions keep these moments from being terrifying? Heck no! But that’s ok and you’ll have the confidence to see it through.

  • Looking for a great gift for someone you mentor? Give them a lucky charm or share a personal ritual. Carrying a lucky charm has been proven to help everything from cognitive recall to physical feats. Use rituals before a stressful even or presentation to create calm and increase confidence.

  • Find your squad. Why wouldn’t you surround yourself with people who believe in you? When someone you respect praises you, you believe. High praise leads to excellent performance which leads to fulfilled expectations. Celebrate your wins with these important people and be sure to pay it forward.

  • Keep an ongoing list of all your big (landed that contract) and small wins (meditated for 10 minutes). Celebrate them. (Sensing a theme here?) Every single one. No exceptions.

  • Embrace positive self talk. Many studies have shown that if you talk to yourself like you’re trash, it will reflect in your work and hinder your ability to succeed. Think you don’t talk down to yourself? Be brutally honest. How many times a day do you think “I suck at thi!”? You’ll be surprised. In your mental dialogue, try to rephrase those intrusive thoughts that say you’re less than. (e.g. “I can’t do this” becomes “this is tough, but I’ll keep practicing.”)

  • Think about how others see you. Does your grandma think you are the best thing since sliced bread? Does your boyfriend think you hung the moon? Look at yourself through their eyes and be prepared to have all the warm fuzzies, and then take on the world!

Reach out and let me know your top tips for cultivating confidence!!!!

Shea Keats