I used to be a very shy person. I used to believe that I had a very little voice – one that would violently shake when I had to speak in front of people. I used to hide behind my insecurities like my bad skin or lack of a college degree, but now – they are the things that seemingly give me the most confidence.
Confidence is what sets you apart. It gives you the ‘fuck it, let’s just do it’ mentality.’ Which, nine times out of ten, will pay off. Most times you just have to do whatever it is that you’re kind of afraid or uncomfortable doing and you have to front the confidence until it becomes part of who you are.
Fake it till you make it;
How you carry yourself is everything. Your energy introduces you before you do, so it’s gotta be on point. Do you want to walk into a room or take the stage as meek and uncomfortable or do you want to be relaxed and confident? Even if you don’t feel confident yet, pretending that you are actually goes a really long way. Maybe practicing that you are is a better way of putting it. Like anything else – confidence takes practice.
Drink in hand, always.
I never know what to do with my hands when I’m nervous and I feel like everyone notices. Instant confidence killer. There’s something about having a cup in my hand that makes me feel like I can rule the world. Let’s call it what it is – a security blanket…But it works. If I get nervous as I start to teach, I’ll pick up my water bottle and walk around with that in my hands for a little while. If I have to have an awkward or difficult conversation, you better believe there’s a cup in my hand. Sometimes, it’s even a conversation piece that can really break the ice. Try it next time you have to do something that shakes your confidence a little bit!
My mom used to always say to me when I was afraid of a bug that the bug was more afraid of me than I was of it. This is true for people too. Everyone that you encounter has something that makes them feel insecure and afraid. This trick works really well when you’re about to do something like give a presentation or teach a class or instruct in any way because YOU as the ‘teacher’ knows more than the crowd that sits before you. Instead of assuming that they’re all going to judge you and wait for you to mess up, it’s a better use of your energy to assume that they’re intimidated by what you know and the skills that you bring to the table. To them, you’re bigger and scarier and I feel like that’s advantageous when it comes to confidence.
Check your anxiety;
Remember – anxiety is created from a fear that lives in a future state. In other words, you’re afraid of what could happen. Nothing suffocates confidence more than running through a list of possibilities in your head. In fact, if you think too much about it at all – you likely won’t follow through. Try to stay present, always. You can’t be in the middle of an action and be anxious about it at the same time. It’s the thought-web that we weave ourselves beforehand that gives us anxiety and makes us insecure.
Someone recently asked me how I became so comfortable sharing the things that I do on this platform. And to be honest – I don’t think about it at all. If I thought about who could possibly read my words, what they could say about me or my posts, etc. – then I would have never, ever in a million years followed through with starting a blog. Sometimes what-if’s serve you really well, but it gets to a point where you just have to do it despite what could happen. The more you do that, the more you’ll trust yourself.
Burn off jitters;
To piggyback on not thinking – you should do something that doesn’t require thinking. I cannot imagine knowing that I have to do something really scary and not doing some sort of workout beforehand. Moving your body will move that anxious energy out. I swear the human body uses anxious thoughts like carbs. I teach my best classes, write my best posts, am my best self when I first do something to burn off the anxious jitters.
Use your big girl voice;
Part of having confidence is knowing when to use it. It’s not just when you have to do some form of public speaking or when you have to rock a job interview… it’s also being confident in asking for what you want or expressing what you don’t want. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve quoted scripture, but Hebrews 4:16 says to come BOLDY to the thrown of Grace. Boldy… as in with confidence. Maybe a little sass too. Ask for what you want like it’s already yours. Use your belly (diaphragm) to speak, not just your throat. Check your body language; are you playing with your hair, crossing your arms, looking down?
It’s usually them;
If what other people think really shakes your confidence – always remember that what other people think of you is a direct reflection of themselves, not you.
Look back at how far you’ve come;
Seriously, consider your progress. You’ve made it through some really nasty shit. If you need a reason to feel confident, just take a quick peak back on your track record… it’s pretty impressive. If anyone has a reason to be where you’re at – it’s you. Don’t question it, you deserve to be here. You deserve the space that you hold. You deserve the opportunities that you’ve been given. And not in an entitled way, but in a confident way. In a way that says – if this is in my path then it must be for me.