Confidence comes from within and increasing it is a conscious act- most of us don’t just wake up one morning with all of the confidence we want.
Exercising your mental and physical core will help you learn how to carry yourself confidently and project positivity and power into the world.
Finding confidence sometimes seems like looking for buried treasure without a map; we see how confident other people are and we want that same confidence but we’re not sure how to get it.
Building your confidence is a multi-step process but without knowing what steps to take it can be hard to get anywhere. My goal is to help others foster confidence within themselves to take on their goals, connect with people more effectively and improve their lives. To me, increasing your confidence is a 5-part process which I call the 5 C’s: Clarity, Communication, Composure, Core, and Competence. I spent the last blog post discussing Composure, which you can read here. You can also read more about the 5 C’s and why they’re important here. For this post however, I want to focus on building your mental and physical Core from which you draw your confidence.
Both physically and mentally, your “core” is your center—what you do and how you act come from your core. Building your mental core means teaching yourself how to be strong enough to succeed, fail, and deal with whatever new challenges may come your way. Some of my favorite ways to exercise my mental core include trying new things and going new places. I like to start by writing a “Claiming Confidence List” in which I list out activities that I’ve accomplished that have increased my confidence. For example, traveling by myself, experiencing a zip line or going to trampoline park and doing a flip for the first time in my life. It’s also fun and helpful to think about what other things I can do to renew my confidence. Along with trying new things however, I like to remind myself of the things that I am already good at and practice the things that I enjoy and give me confidence (even the less adventurous things like being a good mom).
To increase confidence, it is also important to change the messages that you are internalizing. Collect uplifting encouragement, cards and commendations that you’ve received in to a “kudos” folder and pull them out whenever you’re feeling low. Try reframing your perceived weaknesses as how they can be perceived as strengths. (Strengthfinders is a great tool for discovering and focusing on your strengths.) Finally, break negative patterns of thought and practice mindful living. Take stock of your thoughts and how they affect you and when your thoughts become more negative take a second and think to yourself, “Hmmm, isn’t that interesting? Well, it won’t last forever. What can I do in this moment to help boost my confidence?” Just separating yourself from those negative thoughts can have a huge impact on how you carry yourself.
Exercising your physical “core” doesn’t mean doing crunches—but it certainly can, if that makes you feel good. Improving your physical core is more about learning to project your positive mental core. It means standing with good posture and practicing your physical presence—learn to take up space. Self-care is incredibly important and learning to acknowledge your own body’s cycles and use them to your advantage is incredibly powerful. Accept that some days you won’t be able to do everything, and some days you’ll feel like a superhero, and both types of days are okay.
A good way to practice increasing your presence is to stand up while making important phone calls. Physically, standing with good posture makes it easier for you to project your voice but standing also helps you feel more alert and in-charge during a phone call, which will help you sound more confident. Amy Cuddy talks about the importance of a “Power Pose” in her Ted Talk which you can find here. She observed that if you physically make yourself bigger it helps you feel more powerful, which will translate as confidence to the people around you.
It’s also important to select attire that makes you feel good. You’re more likely to try and hide in a crowd if you’re wearing uncomfortable clothing. Wearing a talisman can help boost your confidence. Examples include a ring, a necklace, or a special pen, but it could also be a lucky penny or stone that stays in your pocket. For example, I often wear a special bracelet that reminds me of the circle of support I have in my network.
I like to think of developing a strong mental core as learning how to appreciate and be in-touch with yourself while developing a strong physical core is about learning how to project that feeling into the world around you. Your mental and physical core work ogether hand-in-hand to build your self-esteem and your relationships, and by doing so they are an important step in increasing your overall confidence.