~ Barrie Davenport
You know those moments when you’re faced with something you don’t want to do like talk to your boss about a raise or a client about what you have to offer? Those moments when your heart is pounding and your hands are sweating and you’d rather be doing anything else?
There is a way to instantly feel more confident in those uncomfortable moments. The techniques I share below are not just ways to calm you down like deep breathing. Though deep breathing can help the process, these techniques can actually make you feel more confident.
I’ve been reading a book called “The As If Principle” by Richard Wiseman. In it are many studies that show how even though our body is responding to a situation like the ones mentioned above, our bodily responses, like the fast heart rate and sweaty hands, are common to many situations. The context in which we find ourselves having these responses triggers us to feel an emotion that matches the context.
We can also choose how to feel just by positioning our body a certain way. For example, when we put our face in a smiling position, we begin to feel cheerful even if we didn’t feel that way to begin with.
So here are a couple of techniques you can use in the moment to express and feel the confidence you need to get that raise or make that sale.
Re-frame what’s happening in your body
As mentioned above, our bodies have very few responses, so the excitement of love and the fear of asking for a raise trigger the same response. What happens is we are conditioned to choose an emotion that fits the context based on past knowledge. With awareness we can choose any emotion we want once the body begins responding.
So let’s take the asking for a raise example. You’re waiting for your boss and you feel nervous. Your hands are sweaty and your heart is racing. Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that you’re excited about getting this raise. You know your boss is pleased with your work. If you can keep your focus on that for a minute you will begin to feel the excitement. I’ve tried it in other fear situations and could get myself to actually feel excited.
Take on a confident pose
This technique also comes from the book mentioned above. Our bodies do affect our emotions. One study showed that people felt less pain from an electrical shock if they “acted tough” like nothing was going to hurt them and they put their bodies in a relaxed position.
Let’s say you’re getting ready to make a sale. Stand tall, chest out, but don’t make your body rigid. Keep it relaxed. In a less formal situation, like a party, you can lean back in a chair with your arms draped over the back or behind your head.
When you have more time here are some other ways to boost your confidence:
Plan and rehearse
Before your next meeting or the next webinar you give, take some time beforehand to plan what you’re going to say and then rehearse it. Do it out loud. Get members of your family to listen to you or enlist a few friends. Every time you do it you’ll feel more self-assured.
If you’re going to a party where you don’t have a planned speech, you can visualize successful interactions. Smile and hold your confident pose while you visualize for an extra boost.
Do something that you are a good at and love to do
There are times when we fall into comparison thinking and pull our confidence way down. Or sometimes someone says something that sets us off into a spiral of self-doubt.
One of the best things to do when this happens is to take action and do something that you’re great at and love to do. There’s nothing like being in your zone of genius to boost your confidence.
Read positive statements about yourself out loud
One of the studies in the book mentioned above had two groups of volunteers read statements out loud. The first group read statements like, “Saturn has rings”. The second group read positive statements about themselves.
The second group came out of the experiment feeling great!
The statements below are a little different from the example in the book. I’ve geared these towards inspiring confidence. I encourage you to create your own once you’ve got the hang of it and to use them to read out loud when you need a confidence boost.
1. I am a great ______________.
2. I can do _______________ well.
3. People love what I do.
4. I have confidence in my ability to ___________.
5. I help people ____________.
6. I am loved and appreciated.
7. I feel enthusiastic about life right now.
8. I get along with most people I meet.
9. I am optimistic about my future.
10. My work is going well.
11. I am successful at _______________.
12. I feel happy and secure in this moment.
13. People love to be around me.
14. I am full of energy and doing what I love.
15. Today is going to be a fun and successful day.