“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —Christopher Robin
Confidence is to business leadership what air is to fire.
When you’ve got it, you’re glowing. And when you don’t, you’re out in the cold.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to boost your confidence, even when you’re simply “not feeling it.”
But to use them to maximum effect, you need to understand what confidence really is, and the real reason it’s so vital to your business.
How Confidence Works
Researchers at Ohio State University found that confidence works by amplifying our ability to turn thought into action.
It makes sense when you think about it.
If you aren’t sure about investing in that new partnership—why would you do it?
But the opposite is true, too.
The confident businesswoman doesn’t just think she should launch her new product line—she actually does it.
But if you’re anything like many of the other businesswomen we know, your confidence often isn’t as fired up as you’d like it to be.
In fact, studies show that women are on average significantly less confident than men—even when they’re much more qualified.
As a result, a lot of businesswomen miss opportunities simply because their confidence—i.e. their drive to take action—falls short.
And those missed opportunities will cost your business big time.
Boost Your Confidence
Here’s our top recommended ways to boost your confidence, starting from the basic level and working your way up.
Stage One: Fake it Till You Make it
This is a pretty well-known technique, but also one that’s often misunderstood.
The trick here isn’t simply to talk like you’re “all that,” or to tell yourself in the mirror that you are (although these things can help, too). The key here is to actually act like you’re confident—whether you’re feeling it or not.
So what can you do to appear more confident?
Here’s a few big ones:
- Sit up straight and stand tall
Body language often says more than words
- Maintain consistent eye contact
Nervous people glance away, so do the opposite
- Nod when you’re making a point
Agree with yourself, and others will too
- Use down tones (i.e. a falling intonation)
Pitch rises when we’re unsure of ourselves, so use a falling tone to speak with authority
- Talk slowly and pause from time to time
Give your listeners (and yourself) time to process what you said, and you’ll sound way more confident
And the best part?
Once your confidence gears up, you’ll start doing most of these things automatically.
No faking necessary.
Stage Two: Create Confidence
Fortunately, there’s more you can do than just “fake it” when it comes to being confident—you can actually create it.
Here’s three of our favorite exercises.
It may seem obvious, but one of the biggest ways to create confidence is to plan ahead.
By doing your homework and preparing for situations in advance, you naturally become more sure of yourself.
And that translates into an organic boost to your confidence that you don’t have to fake at all.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Another obvious one, but worth mentioning—practice in advance.
Ideally in front of a mirror.
Everything from speeches, to sales pitches, to physical motions you’ll need to perform under pressure. The more familiar you become with what you need to do, the better you’ll do it when it actually counts.
Sit somewhere quiet, and ask yourself—what will my success look like?
This can be long-term success like doubling your income, or short-term success like giving a speech at tomorrow’s meeting.
Either way, by envisioning yourself accomplishing your goal, you reinforce the idea that you can actually do it.
As the image of success in a given scenario becomes more comfortable to you, your confidence naturally increases.
Confidently Overcome Life’s Challenges
In life as in business, unexpected challenges will always crop up.
But with confidence boosting practices in your toolbox, you’ll be ready to take them on—no matter what life throws your way.
What do you do to boost your confidence? Let us know in the comments.