Confidence doesn’t come naturally, even to those who seem to pull it off flawlessly.
Thankfully, by regularly practicing confidence you can also learn how to make it come naturally to you!
When hundreds of professional athletes take the stage this fall at the 2016 Olympics, we will see moments that they have worked their entire lives to achieve. We will see humans performing at their maximum capacity, in better shape than I will ever be in, feats of athleticism that may break records and make history. To those athletes however, its just another day doing the exact same movement that they’ve been doing almost every other day for the majority of their lives.
How can something so phenomenal be boiled down to such a simple construct? Outside of the rigorous physical and mental aspects of performance is something that all of us possess: muscle memory.
Do something enough times and you don’t have to think about doing it. No matter how much pressure you are under, once your muscles have learned what to do they just do it, without your brain having to consciously tell them to.
Muscle memory boils down to simple skills that we practice every day. For some people, that includes diving in to a pool; for most of us, that means simple tasks like driving. Confidence, like any other skill, takes practice. Practice it enough and being confident becomes natural, like diving in to a pool is natural for an athlete. But practicing being “confident” can seem vague- what does that even mean? It isn’t a verb, like diving, it’s an adjective. How can one practice an adjective?
You can practice these five components to build your confidence: Clarity, Communication, Composure, Core, and Competence. I call these the 5 C’s for Claiming Confidence.
Clarity is the first C because it builds an important foundation for the other 4. It involves figuring out what you want and how you’ll get there. Different aspects of Clarity include doing research, practicing your decision-making, and considering who you want to be in the future. Clarity creates the building blocks for the confidence that you’re looking for.
After Clarity is Communication: Claiming your voice and balancing “what’s in it for them” with “what’s in it for me.”
Communication is followed by Composure, which focuses on finding your centered state and learning to be in control of yourself. Decluttering your space and getting pumped-up with pep talks are also important parts of composure. Here, it is important to focus on how powerful you are, but also how to encourage others’ confidence.
Next, is the two-part C: Core. The first Core involves your Mind- practicing presence, embracing past success, and reframing what you perceive as weakness are all important parts of using your Core for confidence. The second part of Core is Body- improve your posture, improve your life. Furthermore, embrace self-care.
Exercise, wear clothing that makes you feel confident, practice noticing what is around you and making eye contact with other people: all of these things will help boost your confidence.
Finally, the fifth C is Competence. Competence includes skill-building, continued learning, and fostering connections that will support and challenge you.
It may look difficult to practice confidence- it isn’t like practicing a physical activity, like gymnastics or swimming. But at the end of the day, it is like any other skill- Practice it enough and it will come naturally to you, even if it looks phenomenal to everybody else.
In the next posts, I’ll be going through each of the 5 Cs and sharing plenty of quick confidence boosting tips (life hacks) and resources to help you build “muscle memory” for your confidence in ways that feel natural for you.