Everyone struggles with lack of confidence at some point in their lives. In fact, It is estimated that 84% of the population deals with low self-esteem. Research has shown that low self esteem can affect our earning potential, energy levels, personal relationships, and overall health. It is easy to see how this connects directly to your success at work and over-all productivity.
So how can we present ourselves best-foot-forward?
Here are some practical tools that you can apply today, right now, to present yourself with more confidence and in turn be more successful.
1. Take up space
Do you remember that TED talk that went viral in 2012 about power posing? Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy believes that “body language affects how others see us, but it may also affect how we see ourselves… power posing (standing in a posture of confidence even when we don’t feel confident) can boost feelings of confidence and might have an impact on our chances for success."
If you walk into a room, slouch your shoulders, cross your arms and keep your gaze downward to the floor, do you think people will see you as energetic and engaging?
And what if you walk in head held high, heart lifted and hands open?
It only takes a few seconds for humans to make judgements based on body language. Taking a moment before walking into a job interview, board meeting, or to pitch to a potential client, can make all the difference in the outcome.
Take a breath, center yourself, check your posture, and put yourself out there.
2. Share your ideas
Some of the smartest people I know are too shy to share their ideas or thoughts with the people around them. If you know and believe that you are worthy to take up space physically, you also need to know and believe that your ideas are worth sharing.
Take confidence in your intelligence and creativity. Believe that everyone brings their unique perspective to the table. In fact it is your unique-ness which probably got you the job in the first place so let it shine and share your perspective.
I make it a personal goal of mine never to leave a room until I have shared a piece of myself with the group. Even if it something small like a funny thing that happened that morning. Being real and sharing life is what connects us to those around us.
3. Quiet that voice of negativity!
We all have an inner critic. It's partly human nature. We seek to constantly evolve and grow. So much so, that we think we will grow by self-criticizing ourselves constantly. When in reality, intense self-criticism doesn’t actually improve productivity and can do more damage than good. Viewing yourself with compassion instead of judgement, and positivity instead of negativity has a direct effect on your confidence, and as mentioned before how others see you.
Many people doubt if their ideas are really that good in the first place. This is called Imposter Syndrome and the best way to tackle it is to remind yourself of all the amazing things you have done well. Take a moment to reflect on all the good things that you brought about because of decisions you made, all the projects gone right. Focus on your success and achievements instead of perceived shortcomings.
4. Spend less time worrying about what other people think
I spent the first three decades of my life trying to make everyone around me happy. I wanted everyone else to approve of me and be likable. And you know what? It didn’t make a difference. It didn’t give me more friends or make me more successful. In fact it held me back.
We waste so much energy trying to please other people when we should be putting that energy into staying in our own lane and climbing our own ladder.
When you get negative feedback from someone, don’t take it to heart. Don’t mull over it for days. Same advice goes for surviving embarrassing moments. Let it go. It’s not worth the time spent replaying it over and over.
The main difference between a confident person and someone with low self-esteem is that the former practices being confident (by walking tall, speaking up, choosing positivity, and spending less time worrying about other people's perceptions) over and over again.
Practice is the keyword there. Just keep doing it.