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5 Actionable Tips To Become More Confident….Even If You’re Shy

confidencePicture this.

There’s a lot of tension at your office…

You decided to request an appointment with your boss…

but his busy schedule makes it hard to get a meeting.

You’re at the coffee machine, thinking about how you’re going to approach him.

Then you look up and who do you see right in front of your face?… Your boss.

That’s it…your chance to speak up.

Request a meeting and explain what really happened with that important client…that it’s not your fault.

He’s right in front of you. This is the chance you were looking for.

You feel ready. You keep your cool. And…

…silence.

What just happened?

I know at least once in our lives we all have been through something similar.

SONY DSC

It could have been with that beautiful girl you saw at a bar.

You had the perfect line. You had played it out step by step in your mind.

You make eye contact, approach her…

And instead… you freeze up,  fear takes over…so you play it off and walk right past her.

Don’t let fear hold you back from opportunities that could change your life.

This article is going to cover 5 ways to be confident all the time…even if you’re scared to act.

Tip #1: Get Intimate With Your Fears

daniel-craig-skyfallSévérine: “What do you know about fear?”

James: “All there is.”

That was Bond, James Bond. 2012’s Skyfall.

She’s questioning James Bond’s ability to even know what fear is. Clearly, a man that powerful doesn’t feel fear.

He comes across confident, charming, handsome, and always in control. It’s the reason he is idolized.

Here we see a human side to James Bond. A side we can relate to.

One single detail that makes him realistic. He admits he feels fear, yet still faces it. A moment when you realize, you could be James Bond (well your personal version of him).

Your “mission” can be:

  • A job interview
  • An important meeting with a client.
  • A meeting that marks a new era for your company.
  • Asking a beautiful lady on a first date (perhaps even scarier than an interview).
  • Whatever your mission is, you want to unlock your confident self for the whole world to see it.

All of us know what fear is. That negative gut feeling reminding us of what can go wrong.

Fear is what holds you back from taking action. Fear causes paralysis. Fear hides your dreams.

Fear keeps you in a secure job that you actually hate, when your passion for cooking, or photography, or dancing, or starting a business is burning to be made a reality.

Businessman being scolded by his shadow

But here is the beautiful part: It’s NOT real.

It’s fabricated in our heads. The hypothetical “what if’s” are the thousands of years of mental wiring that our brains subconsciously cook up in order to survive.

Our ancestors had to hunt and gather, survival was all they knew. It’s our default state of mind.

You can change the narrative.

So in order to overcome your fear you have to meet it head on.

FDR put it perfectly: The only thing to fear is fear itself.

How to overcome your fears in 2 steps?

Action Step 1: Identify The Fear

  • Are you afraid that girl won’t like you?
  • Are you afraid you’re not too good looking?
  • Are you afraid that the job you want to apply for is far beyond your abilities?
  • Are you afraid you won’t stand a chance?

s2p00w4

 

Action Step 2: Act Before It Has A Chance To Marinate

Part of being your most confident self is acting in the face of fear.

  • The more you face your fears, the less control they have on you.
  • Taking action will allow you to focus on the task, instead of the negative thoughts.
  • The longer fear sits in your mind, the bigger the invisible monster becomes.

David J. Schwartz, Author of The Magic of Thinking Big said: To fight fear, ACT. To increase fear, wait.

To fight fear, act. To increase fear, wait.

pexels-photo-139573

Say for example you’re afraid of speaking in public. The pressure that comes with thousands of eyes waiting for you to captivate them. And you’re afraid your point won’t come across.

You can spend days wondering about what can go wrong. But that won’t give you a killer speech…

…it will only kill your speech.

What you CAN do, instead, is to focus on your presentation.

Practice with friends. Get immediate feedback about your presentation.

Ask them if they understood your point. And if not, what you can do to make it clear.

The more you do this, the more your confidence grows. You’re embracing the unknown because you’re trusting yourself more and more.

Don’t think ahead about what could go wrong…which brings me to the second point.

Tip #2: Stay Focused on the Present

overwhelmedBeing confident requires your full dedication…

…to right now!

I’m not saying don’t plan ahead. But plan and then come back to the present.

Whatever your mission is, your actions are a result of what researchers call convergent thinking.

Your brain processes tons of information, both conscious and unconscious, that we transform into one single action. One single phrase. One single decision.

Oftentimes, you are stuck because of overthinking.

You keep thinking about the future. The deadline. The errands. The to-do list. That message you have to send. An email that just arrived on your phone.

All of that needs to stop.

Think of your mind like a memory card.

It can only hold so much information consciously.

The times when your mind starts retrieving what’s “stored-up” is usually when you have zero power to do anything about it, then an overwhelming feeling takes over and you shut down.

Think about it.

How many times, when you’re commuting to work or school, do you think about something you forgot to do? In those moments you have zero control over accomplishing that task.

Fight or flight takes over, blood pressure rises, creativity and optimal performance declines.

If you’re in a group, social interaction goes out the window. Whoever you’re with feels like you’re not “present” with them.

Your mind is stuck in “I gotta make progress land”

Stop anything that causes you to be ego-centered (aka anything that causes you to think about problems that only affect you) and get into presence.

When you’re present you are at an optimal level for thinking clearly and engaging with people socially. Whatever you’re doing has your full attention. Your full dedication. Your full potential.

Action Step: Instant Presence Exercise

mountains-nature-man-person

Here’s something you can practice to stay focused in the present.

It’s called 2-minute instant presence:

  • Close your eyes
  • Take deep breaths. 4 seconds in. 4 seconds out.
  • Repeat to yourself “I’m aware of the sensations inside and outside of my head”.
  • Then say “I’m aware of the sensations inside and outside of my chest”
  • Then continue that on your stomach, legs, arms, and your whole body.

When you’re doing this really focus your mind on your body and its surroundings. Then open your eyes and feel how present you are.

A chemical shift just happened in your mind that breeds productivity, creativity, and confidence.

Being aware of yourself and your surroundings has the power to focus your mind on the present. Your mind reaches a peaceful state.

A state where that voice in your head – the same inner voice that’s reading this article – stops wondering & stops whispering so that you can focus on NOW.

Tip #3: Practice Your Power Posture

power-postureUnderstanding how posture and confidence are related is a no-brainer.

This photo shows Cristiano Ronaldo in his signature posture right before a penalty…

This is a very dominant stance.

Think about this too.

Imagine you just won a trophy. How do you stand in the pictures?

Isn’t your stance similar to the one in Ronaldo’s picture? Chest expanded. Arms open. Confident look.

This posture was naturally caused by a positive circumstance.

But what happens when you’re nervous. What do people normally do?

Coil up. Instinctually protect vital organs. Bring our knees to our chest. Or stand with our arms and legs crossed. That’s a retreat kind of attitude. It’s an instinct of being scared.

Waiting for an interview

Instead of a circumstance giving us the confidence to pose powerfully, try reversing the order!

 

Action Step 1: Power Pose Before A Nervous Situation

If you feel nervous or scared before entering a situation  – take 2 minutes in private to pose powerfully, maybe in front of a mirror.

Walk tall. Stand open. Send power signals to your brain. Signals of confidence that can get you out of that nervous state of mind.

American psychologist Amy Cuddy’s study on confident body language shows something very interesting.

When you pose powerfully, there’s a chemical shift in your brain which causes:

  • the release of stress relievers
  • your body to perform optimally
  • you to feel creative and happy.

 

lion-wild-africa-african-compressedAction Step 2: Become A Lion (Figuratively)

Engage in powerful activities. For example – a lion’s roar.

I know. It sounds silly. I also felt the same at first.

But think about it, when a lion roars – they are proclaiming their territory. Do you think they feel weak?

Nope.

They’re telling the other lions how confident they are.

Next time you’re nervous, go into a private area and roar like a lion 3 times and tell me if you don’t feel powerful.

You may even laugh because it feels stupid. But it calms your nerves and gives you confidence.

You are a lion, gentlemen. And nothing can bring you down.

Tip #4: Prepare Ahead of Time

jj-wattThis is one key element, which (unfortunately) is very underestimated.

Why? Because this is what happens behind the scenes.

Think about it.

We only see the results of one’s work, not his preparation. We don’t see the hours of practice behind the scenes when no one was paying attention.

We then compare ourselves on the same level playing field as that person who has mastered their craft. It will inevitably cause insecurity.

Don’t compare your day one to their day 1,000

Are you familiar with this gesture?

A gesture that brings every Texans fan to their feet because JJ Watt had just sacked the QB.

But we forget that to achieve this level of performance there are months and/or years of preparation.

Physical training. Mental training. Diet. Dedication. Passion. Day in and day out. So that when he is in the spotlight it looks effortless.

We laugh at comedian’s jokes, because their delivery feels like a conversation. But we forget that they aren’t just blabbing about life.

That was the results of hundreds (if not thousands) of lines and jokes they’d written down ahead of time. They just made it look easy.

 

Action Step: Prepare ahead of time

Prepare…for the interview, speech, presentation or date.

The secret to confidence is preparation.

The more details you can gather, the more you feel confident about that moment.

Tip #5: Dress Sharp

confidence-james-bondI had to save the best for last…this is a style site after all 😉

Yes – be the best man you can be, but also dress the part. It has nothing to do with superficiality either.

Dressing sharp has to do with what researchers call enclothed cognition.

The study shows the influence that clothing has on people’s psychological processes.

The important thing to remember (even if at first counter-intuitive) is that there’s a connection between the clothes you wear and your performance. It has everything to do with how you feel.

Here’s how the experiment on different groups of students was conducted.

First test. One group was given a jacket and told it was a doctor’s coat. The other group was used as a control group.

They were asked to perform brain games that tested their levels of attention. The group in the doctor’s coat performed significantly higher.

Why? Was it the fabric? Did the weight on their shoulders cause them to pay attention? They wanted to find the answer, so they did a second test.

Only this time the group was given the same jacket and told it was a painter’s smock. The other group – same as before – was used as a control group.

Results? The people given a painter’s smock performed equal or worse than the control group.

So what was the conclusion? The doctor’s coat had a powerful symbolism attached to it.

whitecoat

It gave those students confidence. They felt like someone (a doctor) who pays attention, hence they performed better.

Painter’s aren’t necessarily associated with attention, at least not as strongly as a doctor.

 

Action Step: Dress like the person you want to become.

You’ve heard the expression: “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”

It seems cliche. But it’s all connected to how you feel. And these little details are proven to help you become a more confident man.

Not to mention – ladies LOVE a well-dressed man 🙂 

Confidence In Summary

All we talked about in this article can be summarized in one single aspect – a change in mindset.

It takes practice shifting your mind. Confidence & insecurity are opposites, so naturally the mindset that causes self-doubt is a polar opposite from the self-assured one.

So how do you recondition your mind? If you want abs, what do you do? Change your diet & increase cardio. If you want bigger pecs? Bench press more. If you want a confident mindset? Practice confidence building exercises. Your mind is a muscle just like your biceps are.

In summary:

  • Face your fears immediately instead of dwelling on them.
  • Focus on the present instead of getting lost in your head.
  • Power pose your way to confidence
  • Preparation against last minute panic.
  • Dress for your perception of success

And if you look at it this way, it all comes together and you’ll find it easier to be your most confident self… all the time!

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Comments 1

  • Jose rijas March 1, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Very nice, i love it!!!

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