Confidence is probably one of the most popular topics discussed on women’s websites—how to have it, how to build it, how to fake it—and for good reason. Unlike school worries or career issues or even acne, confidence is something that affects us for nearly the entirety of our lives. It’s not an issue specific to gender, sex, religion or race. We have probably all struggled with confidence at some point, whether it was all throughout our teen years or for just a few hours before a big interview.
Many magazines speak of confidence as an extension of feeling good in your body. While that is true, and it is certainly important to feel confident in your own skin, there are many other factors that can and should influence and increase your confidence, just as there are many instances where you need confidence in a part of you that isn’t just how you look.
In a job interview, for instance, feeling great about how you look is awesome, but being able to speak strongly about your skills and qualifications is more important. Self-confidence as a whole is a difficult and sometimes elusive skill (yes, skill!) and something we can exercise and strengthen over time. But for those single instances when you need a bit of a confidence boost, here are my favorite ways to perk up and power through a low spot.
Figure out what makes you feel confident, physically. Even though all confidence issues aren’t body image-based, feeling great in your skin can give you a huge boost. Find that thing that makes you feel like you’ve got it all together. For me, it’s a fresh manicure. There’s something about it that makes me feel pulled together and in control. For other people, it could be a new haircut, a favorite piece of jewelry, even a lucky bra. Figure out when you feel best in your skin, and make sure that’s part of your routine anytime you need a confidence kick start. Does a blowout make you feel hot and polished and ready to take on the world? Book an appointment before your next job interview or big client meeting and enter the room with your head held high. It’s so much easier to focus when you’re not second-guessing your outfit or hairstyle!
Now that you’ve got your look all set, figure out what makes you feel confident emotionally. There’s a lot of talk about “power posing” and how emulating Wonder Woman for a few seconds can boost your self-confidence. Personally, I don’t know if that’s true, because I’ve never tried it (there wasn’t exactly time to sneak off to power pose before I gave my MOH speech at my sister’s wedding). But if that works for you, do it. If it doesn’t, figure out what will give you confidence in your abilities, not just appearance. It could be listing in your mind all of your biggest accomplishments—reviewing your proudest moments could be just the push you need to go from “I’m pretty cool, I guess,” to “I have so got this!” Or try remembering how amazing it felt that last time you knew you had truly and thoroughly crushed something. For instance, if you’re nervous about a presentation at work, remember your last pitch and how you felt when you realized you nailed it. Harness those feelings and come up with an “I kick ass” statement you can recite every time you need a confidence boost.
If all else fails and you’re struggling to trust in yourself, at the very least trust in others! Whatever you’re worried about, there’s someone out there who knows you and isn’t worried for you. Your best friend wouldn’t have asked you to give a toast if she didn’t think you would do great. You wouldn’t have been called in for an interview if the hiring manager didn’t think you’d be a good fit. You manager wouldn’t have assigned you something betting you would fail. Someone had to believe in you in order for you to be in this situation, so take that to heart and use it as the stepping stool you need to believe in yourself!
Over time, you can build up your confidence with mantras, positive people, or whatever works to make you feel great. But in the meantime, these little tricks can give you the boost to nail the toast, interview, pitch or performance—and once you crush it, that’s just another thing to add to the list of why you’re amazing! So pose up, wonder women, slip on your badass suits and recite those few simple words that power up your confidence and kick your super skills into overdrive.
So tell us—what’s your no-fail trick to feeling confident and in control?