Who doesn’t want a little more confidence in their life? We all do! Self-confidence is the key to personal and professional success, meeting goals, and feeling good about yourself every day.
And while it may seem like some people are born with a lot of confidence, it’s actually a learned skill. There are many things you can do to increase your self-confidence. Here, we’ll explore three key areas: posture, goal setting, and speaking well to yourself.
Area 1: Posture & How We Show Up
In her now-famous TED Talk, researcher Amy Cuddy introduced the world to “power posing.” Her research shows that the posture and stance you take impact how you feel and perceive yourself to feel.
When we are confident, we take up more space. And the opposite is true—when you’re defensive or fearful, you retreat inwards and take up less physical space.
Power posing helps us replicate this phenomenon. Before your next meeting or presentation, take a few moments to stand in a large and formidable stance—like the Superman pose, hands on your waist, chest out. Research has shown that power posing increased confidence levels compared to those who didn’t do it.
- Case Study: Tom felt a lack of self-confidence many times, expressing he wanted to “disappear” in meetings and be invisible. To overcome this, he started doing power-posing before meetings. He also started consciously visualizing feelings and acting confidently. This began to make a difference—Tom started asking questions and making comments in meetings, something he never did before!
Area 2: Setting Goals
Many people set a lot of goals for themselves, and it can get overwhelming! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the goals you are setting—and failing—you may need to re-evaluate them.
Instead of looking at the goal as a big monolithic thing to achieve, break it down into small steps (the concept discussed in “Tiny Habits” by B.J. Fogg).
- This one is my story! I wanted to build more confidence around exercise and reach my 10,000-steps a day goal. But I was getting frustrated by trying to go for one walk and getting all the steps in on one go. So, I decided to incorporate it into the Pomodoro technique, which I use at work. It breaks down work into 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of a break. So, I used those 5-minute breaks to walk! And by breaking it into a small steps, it was easier to reach that big goal of 10,000 steps. [AW1]
Area 3: Speaking Well to Yourself
There’s always a little voice in the back of our heads that can make us feel better or worse about ourselves. Self-confidence is impacted by that inner voice when you speak poorly to yourself. A harsh inner self-critic makes it hard to build confidence.
Deconstructing an inner voice helps you become aware of what your inner voice is saying. After understanding what it’s saying, you can explore where it’s coming from. Then, you can finally replace it with something more positive and uplifting.
- Case Study 3: Julie described herself as her own worst critic. This showed up specifically around public speaking, where she was afraid people would laugh at her. Upon reflection, she remembered a specific moment of bellyflopping at a diving competition where people laughed at her. This stuck with her for all those years because it was a protective inner voice. So, after some inner work, Julie was able to recognize and change that inner voice to build self-confidence.
Self-confidence determines how we show up in the world and the energy we bring with us. These three areas are tangible steps you can take to boost your self-confidence today. After all, the world needs you and your confidence to make a positive impact!
[AW1]These articles aren’t written in 1st person, but I think that’s the only way to do it here… let me know if this reads okay to you and if you prefer it to be written from a neutral POV