Happy International Women’s Day!
Every one of the women who we’ll honor this month had times when she didn’t feel confident. If each of them hadn’t broken her own internal confidence barrier, the world would never have had the benefit of her unique contributions.
During these volatile times, when so many women’s careers have been disrupted by the pandemic, I think we could all use a little confidence boost.
Here’s a quick overview of five key ways to increase your self-assurance:
CONFIDENCE KEY 1 – DARE TO RISK FAILING
Do you tend to stay on a predictable “safe” path in your life and career because you’re afraid to fail?
Many people – especially women – try to avoid failure at all costs because they view it as a pronouncement that they’re not smart or talented enough. As a result, they won’t put themselves out there and apply for that career-enhancing opportunity or advocate for themselves.
What if you were to view failure through a different lens and see it as an opportunity to learn and get smarter? According to Carol Dweck, Ph.D., author of Mindset – The New Psychology of Success, when you adopt this growth mindset, you’re more likely to embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks. As a result, you’ll stretch outside your comfort zone to take action which is the next crucial step in developing self-assurance.
CONFIDENCE KEY 2 – DARE TO TAKE ACTION
According to the groundbreaking book – The Confidence Code, taking action is the most important step in building your self-confidence.
The longer you delay acting, the more doubtful and fearful you become and the less likely you are to act. Breakthrough this paralysis of inaction by dividing a task into bite-size chunks and take baby steps forward.
As you experience small successes, your confidence will increase, which will motivate you to keep going. When you hit a setback, view it as a learning experience, adapt your strategy and keep moving forward.
Over time, this cycle of action, accomplishment, failure, and adapting builds mastery, which in turn increases your confidence.
CONFIDENCE KEY 3 – DARE TO CONFRONT YOUR FEARS
The inconvenient truth about fear is that it will only go away when you push through it and do the very thing you fear.
Confront your fear by taking a small risk every day – whether it’s reaching out to someone who intimidates you or asking for something you want.
No matter what the outcome, congratulate yourself for pushing through the fear and give yourself a new challenge. As you get comfortable with being uncomfortable you’ll start to trust that you can handle anything that life throws at you. This self-trust will help you show up as calm, cool, and collected in high-pressure situations which will significantly enhance your confidence.
CONFIDENCE KEY 4 – DARE TO DEVELOP YOUR INNER GPS
Some of the most glaring ways women display a lack of confidence are when they project hesitancy, indecisiveness, and self-doubt.
In my experience, these often spring from women feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and anxious about how they’re balancing their careers and personal lives.
The remedy for this is to get clear about what matters to you – your values, your purpose, and your vision for your life and career. This gives you an inner GPS that enables you to align your life with your priorities. When you’re grounded in what matters to you, you’ll show up as authentic, calm, and decisive, which translates to confidence.
CONFIDENCE KEY 5 – DARE TO FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT
Dr. Amy Cuddy, in her book Presence, discusses her research which found that our bodies significantly impact our minds and that certain poses influence how powerful people feel as well as how willing they are to take a risk.
In other words, instead of waiting to feel confident, we can ACT our way into feeling confident.
The best-known example of this is the Power Pose which is a valuable exercise to increase confidence before an important meeting or presentation or anytime you’re preparing to take a risk. https://www.ted.com/speakers/amy_cuddy.
DARE TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF
The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge. Before we can challenge bias and inequality, we must first challenge ourselves to break through our confidence barriers. Don’t let your lack of confidence hold you back from sharing your gifts with the world!
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt