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The internet is filled with blogs on confidence, and I decided to take a look at the subject of how to increase confidence. I noticed how advice on confidence ranges widely. One blog recommended ‘Spritz yourself with perfume/after-shave’ while another advised readers to ‘Stand up straight!’. Over the years I haven’t always felt confident in every situation but, one thing for sure, is that as time has gone by, my self-confidence has increased.
Here are three tips that have served me well and I like to share when I’m speaking or training
1. Screw perfection. It’s unhelpful to hold ourselves to another’s standard (or even to our own standard) of perfection. Achieving a 95% result might be relatively straightforward while that final 5% that leads to perfection could be excruciating. Is it worth it? A good question to ask in these cases is: what does excellence look like, rather than perfection?
2. Hear no, say next. When we’re rejected, it can sting and our confidence can take a knock. But hearing ‘no’ is just a fact of life. And in fact, as many a salesperson would probably tell us, “no’s” are expected on the path to “yes”. So, instead of seeing rejection as something to avoid, we could ask ourselves: how did a rejection or setback serve you? Maybe we saw that by not getting a particular job, or going on a date with the person we had our eye on, something better or preferable eventually came up instead. Audience members are typically happy to share near-misses where in hindsight, things worked out better when they didn’t get what they thought they wanted at the time.
3. You can’t please everyone. Most of us have people in our lives who are very difficult to please. Maybe they have impossibly high standards or very different tastes to our own. Rather than contorting ourselves to make these people happy, and probably make ourselves unhappy in the process, we sometimes have to make a choice – us, or them? And if we decide on us, then we have given the other party the best we can but are at peace understanding that it’s too hard (or impossible) to please them, and we should give up the fight. In certain situations, it can be more empowering to be 100% ourselves and know that person X won’t be happy, than to be 90% ourselves and person X STILL isn’t entirely happy. In these situations, we can ask ourselves: what would being yourself look and feel like?
The key to being confident is having a good level of self-knowledge and self-reliance. Enjoying who we are or, at least, having a very healthy dose of self-acceptance comes into play too.
So rather than confidence being a simple matter of standing up straight or spritzing ourselves with perfume/after-shave, as those blog posts suggested, maybe what’s more important is enjoying the perfume/after-shave not because others will think we smell good but revelling in the choice we made to buy that particular scent in the first place.