Have you ever talked to yourself without realizing other people could hear you? One Easter morning when my cousin Brittany was six, she stood looking in the mirror, no doubt enthralled with her new Easter dress.
Not realizing anyone else was around, she said softly to herself, "I knew I was going to look cute, but I didn't know I was going to look this cute."
Feel free to use that line for the rest of your life. Since confidence affects everything we do and every relationship we have, it behooves us to cultivate a healthy appreciation for our own abilities and our own worth.
5 Proven Ways to Boost Your Confidence
- Get good at taking compliments. Yes, I know it can be awkward. But here’s all you have to do: Smile and say “Thank you.” That’s it! Throw in a high five, if that helps. But if you can follow up a compliment with a simple “Thank you,” you will brighten the day of the person who complimented you—and since most people deflect compliments, you will demonstrate more confidence than most people out there, including a lot of celebrities.
- Hang out with confident people. As you may have heard me say before, not everyone gets to hang with you. If you care about your confidence and your life's contribution, you’ve got to get around those who bring out your best, not your worst. Chances are you know deep down who’s who. Be willing when necessary to walk away or at least back it down a level. Either way, you don't have to announce it. Just do what's known as "bless and release."
- Start each day with positive self-talk. This one is #3 for me, right behind prayer and a big breakfast. Watch what happens to your confidence when you feed your mind each morning (and all day) with positive thoughts. Example: "I have meaningful work that pays me well."
- Bench-press! I say this tongue-in-cheek, but there's some real truth to it. When you're hoisting heavy weights over your head (safely and sensibly), you cannot not feel confident. So whether it’s bench-pressing or push-ups or power-walking, find a physical activity you enjoy, do it often, and take note of how it lifts your mood and confidence. Incidentally, I would never bench-press without someone reliable right there to spot me.
- Take nothing personally. I know. Easier said than done. Sometimes without thinking about it, we personalize other people's responses, not to mention our own mistakes. But mistakes are part of the package, not some sort of indictment on our self-worth. Thomas J. Watson, the former chairman and CEO of IBM, said "If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate." I would say, don't just make mistakes—learn from them. Turn them into good stories. That’s how you grow.
Before he began cutting, I made sure to tell the plastic surgeon, "Just don't make me look like Steven Tyler." His nurses giggled and he graciously agreed. Humor almost always helps.
We won't know for a few more days if the two stitches are the end of the story or just the beginning. And while the outcome may be life-altering, it won't be life-threatening. That alone is reason to stay confident and grateful.
So I wrap this up this Pep Talk with an Ultimate Reminder for us all: Don't wait for everything to be perfect before you feel perfectly content with your life—or good about yourself. Confidence is much more of a decision than it is a set of circumstances. Own it. Give thanks for it.
Finally, once you've done all that, look for ways to affirm the confidence of those around you, from bosses to clients to co-workers to loved ones. Sometimes all it takes is a smile, a compliment, or the smallest kind gesture.
And the winner is ...
Thank you to all who responded to my call for input on the next book. Each response was thoughtfully read and much appreciated. The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card drawing is Michael P. Congratulations, Michael!
Confidence is much more of a decision than it is a set of circumstances. Own it.
— Gina DeLapa