Fear, doubt, worry, guilt, anxiety. These emotions hold us back from living a life of joy and prosperity. So how do we overcome these feelings and get to a place where we are in command and control of our life?
Here are 5 easy behaviors you can start implementing right now that will give you instant results. Keep in mind while these are easy, they are not quick fixes for "bad programming". You will need to exercise these 5 tips DAILY for 30-90 days to start seeing permanent changes in your life.
Here's a risk free exercise to get us warmed up. Say aloud, "How are you doing?" Go ahead! Right now, say aloud, "How are you doing?" But you have to say it aloud (not in your head) or it won't work. Did you say it? OK, good. Now, SMILE, and say "How are you doing?" Notice the difference? There's a reason why top salespeople keep mirrors at their desk when on a call. It helps them to remember to smile when they speak. As a result, they are friendlier, feel better, sell more, and make more money.
My 2 year old has this song we play on one of her toddler music compact discs (we use them at our house!) where the chorus says "I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing". Wouldn't you know it, I actually feel happier after singing that silly song!
So what's going on here? Well, your body's physiology can actually affect how you feel. Smile, and you feel happier. Walk tall, and you feel more confident and powerful. Look people in the eye when you speak with them and it will be easier for your listener to trust you (people who can't be trusted tend to have difficulty looking people in the eye).
I'm a people watcher. One of the games I like to play is at the airport, where you try and guess why that person is traveling. Where are they going? Who are they meeting? What is their travel purpose? What do they do for a living? How much money do they make?
Now let me ask you, how would seeing a person's walk and posture influence your answers to these questions?
Be mindful of your posture and re-adjust when you catch yourself slouching. You'll notice a difference in how you walk, talk, and feel.
No, I'm not talking about those sexy high heels girl!
I'm talking about willfully putting yourself into situations that challenge you. Not dark-alley shortcuts late at night in unfamiliar parts of town challenge. More like try out that yoga class you've been telling yourself you should check out, but are self-conscious about because you don't know how to pronounce namaste, do a warrior 1, or think you might accidentally fart in child's pose.
Successfully completing small tasks are the building blocks of confidence! Every time you overcome something, you become more powerful. I think as we get older, it's often easier to stop taking chances because we no longer have a parent, teacher, or coach to push us. We lose that accountability.
So how do you start? Well, a good first step would be to make a list of all the things you want to do, but have been afraid to try. Like that exercise program, community college class, online dating site, job interview, new church, sexy outfit, etc.
You'd be surprised at how low-risk these are if you can actually step back for a moment. I'll bet you don't have bungee jumping, sky diving, tight-rope walking, or lion taming on your list - more power if you do, but they are probably not dangerous if you fail. Now, for some people it's helpful to then list the worst thing that could happen if you fail when approaching that task. Typically, it ends up being some mild form of embarrassment.
Well, you might be surprised to learn about something called The Spotlight Effect, which says that people tend to overestimate the effect that their actions and appearance have on others. Which means no one is really going to remember or care what you did.
Don't wait until it's too late to do something you want to do. We tend to regret the things we didn't do, more than the things we did.
Confident people are confident because they control their own destiny. You will never be empowered and successful when you blame others for your situation. Own it.
I know, I know, I can already hear you... But it's not my fault! He does.... She says.... My boss is.... You can fill in the blank... cheats, drinks, is racist, sexist, ageist, hates my mother.
Here's the deal. You have a contribution. Search for it. It might not be 100%, or even 50%, but there's some level of contribution to a problem that YOU are responsible for. When you are brave enough to peel the onion and go down the path of discovery - which can take time and be painful, you just might earn the freedom that comes with owning your piece of the problem.
It can be very liberating when you finally acknowledge that YOU own a piece of the problem, because then you can be part of the solution to improve your situation.
Unfortunately it's often easier to blame someone else for our lot in life, our situation, or why we are not successful, happy, or rich. Blaming others for our problems is a cowardly way of avoiding looking at our own shortcomings and contributions.
I challenge you to think of a situation where you believe you are the victim, and see if you can't find some level of contribution on your part, and take some ownership of the problem. You'll know when you have, because it will be uncomfortable for you. But you may also find some freedom.
The other upside to dropping the victim mentality, is you help avoid what's often referred to as The Drama Triangle:
Here's a little affirmation I like to tell myself each morning: "Everything in life is conspiring to make me successful".
You may remember that old bit from Saturday Night Live with "Stuart Smalley" where he recites affirmations to himself in a mirror. Great bit! But there's power in affirmations.
Affirmations are a great way to re-program your computer (brain) with the program you WANT, instead of the old programming which may no longer be serving you.
We all experience forms of childhood trauma, some more severe than others. As a result of these traumas, we do (or don't do) certain behaviors in order to protect ourselves from re-experiencing these childhood pains.
The trouble is, in many cases these software programs or behaviors our brains developed to protect us when we were little, may now no longer serve us, and actually hold us back in life.
Good affirmations are always positive and in the present tense. They should be recited twice a day at a minimum, in the morning when you get up, and in the evening when you go to bed. If an affirmation feels funny saying it, that means it's something you can work on to make it a belief for you.
Here are a few confidence-inspired affirmations you might try. Which one's are not yet part of your confidence-inspired programming?
How does pampering yourself contribute to your confidence? Well, when you stand tall, challenge yourself by trying new things and overcoming your fears, start taking responsibility for your actions and stop playing the victim, and program yourself with positive affirmations... you deserve to pamper yourself.
Treating ourselves to a gift or nice experience is a sign of self-love and respect, and people with good self-esteem reward themselves by expressing gratitude - to one's self!
We have to first love ourself before we can love others. The cornerstone of self-confidence is actually one of self-love.
How do you look and feel when you're fearful, unsure, or hiding? You probably don't stand tall and proud (which affects your mood), you stop taking healthy risks (and therefore, stop growing), you play the victim (let others control your destiny,) and program yourself with disparaging self-talk (negative affirmations).
Pampering is a necessary and healthy self-care reward which sustains the motion of the self-confidence engine.
By practicing these 5 simple daily exercises for 30-90 days, you will not only begin feeling a dramatic improvement in your confidence, you will unleash an inner winner that commands respect and channels prosperity. Give it a try!