You, like most people, know how powerfully confidence changes the way others immediately judge you.
Confidence inspires trust – and because of the “tribal” instincts in humans – it often creates obedience as a result.
That’s why confidence is often the key to success in endeavors like dating and business – and is probably why you’re reading this now.
Because one way or another, you want the secrets to how to display authentic confidence in order to have more success (and to be more likeable).
But there’s also a lot of confusion about confidence.
Too many people confuse it with bluster or showmanship. Sure these masks of confidence can make a quick impression – but they often runs out of (hot) air and collapse. This kind of “fake confidence” grows tiresome. Or it tips over into outright bullying, egotism, and emotional abuse. Or just plain exposes itself as a mask. And you’re left even further behind on the likeability and trustability scale.
At the other end of the spectrum, some people think they have to show “quiet confidence” and they go too far into humility.
The result? They go unnoticed.
If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to find the right balance. Or maybe you’ve tried to “fake it till you make it.” And you might have ended up feeling as if you were a fraud. And the shame that can cause can be even more painful than feeling a lack of confidence in the first place.
If you’re like most people, you probably also wonder how other people seem to so effortlessly embody and project a natural confidence.
The good news is that there is a balance, and a balance that can feel authentic for you. It lives at that middle ground between assertive and silent confidence, and it is in this middle ground that you will have the most instant profound and lasting impact on others.
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Here 33 tips on how you can upgrade your natural – and earned – confidence so that you may join their ranks.
1. Maintain calm in the storm
You see others who handle crises with certain calm and you wish you were more like them. It’s infuriating at first! What makes them seem so confident?
The answer is that confident people stay calm because they know (or assume) that they can handle whatever comes their way.
For example, when I plan a large event or workshop, I often have a moment of “Oh man! What if everything goes wrong?!” But because I have done it before and have evidence that it will probably not be the apocalypse, that feeling passes quickly. Calm retakes the center and I get back to work.
By contrast, non-confident people flip out. Perhaps because they cannot get an even-keeled perspective on reality, they grow more afraid they can’t handle what arises. They panic – and use that chaotic energy or high emotion to overwhelm or manipulate others and distract themselves from calmly doing the work at hand.
2. Calm your body
If you feel rising anxiety, take three extremely deep breaths all the way to the depth of your belly. Count slowly to 6 on the way in, then hold for two, then count slowly to 6 on the way out. Your metabolism will reset into calm (1).
3. Calm your mind
By recalling how you have handled difficulties in the past; by recalling your successes in the past; by bringing to the front of mind the people and resources you have available right now to help you achieve your goal; by brainstorming with a friend or colleague new resources and paths forward you might not have considered before.
I learned this lesson in 2008 when the economic collapse left me holding $150,000 in sudden debt. After being paralyzed with despair for a short while, I hit the phones and called every smart friend I had and asked advice until one of them gave me a solution that worked like a charm.
4. Take a break from anxiety
Take a walk. Go work out. Cuddle a dog. Call a friend and catch up. Simply distracting your conscious mind from a problem can both calm your being and allow a solution to naturally arise from your subconscious. Whether it’s getting over a breakup or facing a tough problem at work, distracting yourself with something soothing calming yourself helps you face the crisis with confidence.
5. Gladly welcome challenges
Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels in their extraordinary book, “The Tools” calls this “The reversal of desire”…Instead of retracting from what feels painful, initiate this three step process: Shout “Bring it on!!” Then “I love pain!” Then “pain sets me free!” What happens is that you activate your inner genius and find not only courage, but solutions that would have stayed hibernating if you stayed in your anxious state. Plus it’s more fun.
6. Be patient for solutions to arise
In an impatient era, remind yourself to be patient. Allow solutions to arise rather than trying to force them into being.
7. Feel your fear
Only by seeing your fears and facing them cleanly and clearly can you then release them peacefully. Denying your fears causes them to swirl in your mind and stomach, and only grow larger and more agitating. On the other hand, awareness is power and as the great shame researcher, Brene Brown reminds us, that is why “vulnerability is strength” (2).
8. Welcome your flaws as human
Release perfectionism; that’s for supernatural beings, not us.
9. Maintain a positive outlook
This habit creates a powerful feedback loop. The more confident you are, the more assured you are that things will likely go well. But it works the other way around as well. The more you cultivate a positive outlook, the more confident you will feel, free of the anxiety that might otherwise cripple you. So the question is, how can you maintain a positive or optimistic outlook that is authentic?
10. Identify your negative voices
Identify your negative thoughts (inner negative voices) – because until you know them, you can’t change them. One quick trick is to give inner negative voices a name, including where they might come from (“Dad”) or something made up (“The Fear Monster”). Again, clear awareness of what is occurring in your mind allows you to take control of it, rather than letting yourself be run by your random thoughts.
11. Quickly find an alternative
Create a clear positive alternative for each negative thought. (“What are three things I can do to make sure I get this project done in time?” “What can I do today to bring back intimacy in my long distance relationship?”)
12. Curate your friends for positive people
Cultivate and maintain a support network of positive people. Downers will drag you under. And as they say, you become the average of the 5 people closest to you. So surround yourself with positive people. It rubs off.
13. De-clutter the negative
Clear out reminders of negative people or negative memories in your life. Any photos or knick-knacks, furniture or memorabilia. Out the door.
14. Review what’s positive
Reaffirm your positive qualities, assets, helpful friends and talents. Write them out if you can. We often forget the good things in our life because our fear-based brain pays more attention to threats and what’s negative. But with practice, you can flip that. You will probably surprise yourself at what you’ve got on your side.
15. Do your gratitudes
The king of all positive reinforcement is to “do your gratitudes”. When you wake up, when you get to the office, when you sit down to eat, when you hit a wall, when you go to sleep, just speak aloud 5 things you are grateful for. They could be people, gifts, health, support, talents, your own resilience, the blue sky – anything! Studies show this simple practice can shift your brain chemistry into a positive outlook and give you strength.
Finally – know that optimism can be learned. The masterwork on this is Dr. Martin Selgiman’s book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. The skills and drills he offers can scuttle depression, activate your hidden potential, make you happier and – as tests show – even boost your immune system.
16. Take care of yourself and your body
Think about it – if you don’t respect your partner, your partner will grow jittery, insecure, and if they have any sense, they will leave you.
So it is with your own body and mind. If you don’t respect yourself through your actions, you will crack your own confidence. Self respect leads to self-confidence. Here are some tips to instantly boost your self-respect.
17. Eat real, whole foods
Eat healthily with occasional treats. More specifically, feed your body whole foods rather than chemically synthesized crap. Organic vegetables, white meats and fish. Nuts. Some fruits. Nothing that’s been chemically altered or Frankensteined into existence. It’s really not that hard.
18. Look sharp
Put care into your appearance – your clothes, your hair, your skin. Studies show that when you dress well, you not only are treated with more respect, but you actually perform better. One famous study revealed that people who wore doctor’s lab coats actually scored higher on exams – simply because they wore the lab coats!
19. Exercise, plain and simple
Exercise intelligently and daily. Walk your 10,000 steps. Hit the gym. Your body will love you.
20. Get your sleep
Pay attention to your sleep – prepare yourself for optimal sleep by (1) writing out your next morning’s big goals (2) eliminating screen time 30 minutes before you sleep (3) reading or listening to something deep and calming before turning off the light (4) doing your gratitudes (5) making your room dark.
21. Always value your time
You will notice that confident people are not anxious. They are not worried about being late or overwhelmed. That’s because they have respected themselves enough to create a schedule that they can keep without stress, and which serves their highest good. Systems and organization create assuredness and a steady hand…
22. Create breathing space
Don’t over-schedule. Leave breaks between obligations. Every hour, take a 5 minute breather and walk around to refresh your brain.
23. Create long imagination breaks
Schedule time to allow your brain to soar. Make time for working out, for hanging out with friends, for letting your imagination to simply wander as you walk in a park or forest. Your best ideas will come when you are not actively focused on them.
24. Keep your appointments
Confident people create feedback loops where they don’t let others down unnecessarily. This increases others’ respect for you and in turn, feeds your self-esteem.
25. Make tech work for you
Use a schedule setting software. I use Meetme.com.
26. Set clear goals for yourself
When someone doesn’t have confidence, they don’t set firm goals because they are afraid they can’t hit them. And that, of course, becomes its own self-fulfilling prophecy.
Or they set outrageous goals not because they intend on fulfilling them, but so that they can inflate themselves by talking about them, and then play the martyr when they fail to reach them. In other words, goal setting for the non-confident is all about expressing or maintaining their wounded ego.
Confident people set goals for the sake of hitting goals – often just slightly beyond their comfort point – and by stretching, reinforce a feedback loop of competence that feeds confidence.
If you want to act with, and develop, your confidence – focus on the goals themselves and not on your ego playing a game of goals.
27. Set small and attainable gains
The best guideline is what’s called S.M.A.R.T. goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. By keeping your goals attainable, specific and measurable, you can track your success and adjust accordingly. This gives you more a feeling of control.
28. Cheerfully self-correct
– by setting clear goals that are measureable, you can spot your weak points, and handle your areas that need improvement.
29. Take risks
Non-confident people play it safe because they are afraid of facing failure or any shock to their carefully-protected and fragile self-esteem. And of course, what happens is, while they tremble in the shadows watching others launch ahead into love and success and adventure, their own confidence drops.
Confident people, by contrast, take risks. They welcome failure, because they know that by “failing” they fail forward – they can learn and improve. Confident people are confident because they are process-focused rather than immediate results-focused and see everything as a “teachable moment”.
30. Create a challenge as your “confidence workout”
People go to the gym not to convince themselves that they can bench-press 135 once again. They go to see if they can move up to 145 or 155.
People don’t do triathlons so that they can match their previous time. They go to beat their time.
Challenging yourself is like building your confidence muscle. As Peter Diamandis, creator of the X-Prize says in his “Creed for The Persistent and Passionate Mind”…
“When faced without a challenge… make one!”
This keeps you on your edge and reminds you of just how competent you can be.
Pack a bag, go to the airport and pick a flight and go! Arrive prepared to be surprised. The very act of creating an experience from scratch and handling whatever arises bolsters your confidence in yourself and may remind you of just who you are when you might have been feeling stale.
31. Take risks for their own sake
Do it with the intent to test your mettle- and don’t attach your mood to the results. Attach your mood to the energy of what you learn by the effort.
32. Build your “truth muscle”
Speak your truth. If you see an injustice, if you want to call someone on their B.S., if something needs to be said to advance a value or cause you believe in – speak it.
We live in a chatty age of white noise and artificial outrage. The person who speaks his or her truth stands out as courageous and inspires respect. More importantly, you will feel more solid, authentic and powerful when you stop telling white lies to get along.
The simple act of dropping your fears and dropping your mask bolsters your self-respect, your self-esteem, your self-regard – and your confidence in yourself as a source of honesty and authority.
33. Magnify love
You won’t find this practice on most “business” articles on increasing your confidence, but you’ll be amazed at the results.
John Mackey, ceo of Whole Foods once commented that he begins every meeting by putting love and appreciation into the room.
Magnifying love between you and anyone you are interacting with grounds you in something far deeper than any utilitarian purpose you have for getting together.
It brings you back to the core of who are as a human being. You are no longer measuring yourself by your attractiveness or productivity or sales.
You are grounding your confidence in your capacity to love and be loved.
And that, when you tap into it, is not only unshakable, but a bottomless source of your deepest self-confidence.
Want to find out what’s holding you back? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “What’s Blocking You From Success” Quiz right now and find out exactly what stands in the way between you and success…
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Ways To Boost Your Self Confidence
- Maintain calm in the storm
- Calm your body
- Calm your mind
- Take a break from anxiety
- Gladly welcome challenges
- Be patient for solutions to arise
- Feel your fear
- Welcome your flaws as human
- Maintain a positive outlook
- Identify your negative voices
- Quickly find an alternative
- Curate your friends for positive people
- De-clutter the negative
- Review what’s positive
- Do your gratitudes
- Take care of yourself and your body
- Eat real, whole foods
- Look sharp
- Exercise, plain and simple
- Get your sleep
- Always value your time
- Create breathing space
- Create long imagination breaks
- Keep your appointments
- Make tech work for you
- Set clear goals for yourself
- Set small and attainable gains
- Cheerfully self-correct
- Take risks
- Create a challenge as your “confidence workout”
- Take risks for their own sake
- Build your “truth muscle”
- Magnify love