Are you a confident person?
Do you often wish you had spoken up for yourself more? Do you find yourself envying those who are more outspoken? Those who always seem to have witty, smart, humorous comments, making everyone else love them? Or do you wish you had the perfect comeback to that bad ass two minutes they left?
Do you avoid taking lead in school projects or events because you don’t think you could do it? Or do you feel less capable and outstanding than others? Do you often wish, but when you are given that chance, you push it away? Is there an inner voice that’s constantly telling you that you can’t do it, that you are not up for it and all that negative blah?
Well, if you said more than two ‘Yes’ to the above questions, you need this post.
 You’re tired of feeling beaten, shy and inferior to others.
You want to be able to speak up and people actually listen to you, not brush you off.
You want to be able to stand up for yourself and people you care.
You want to stop being bullied by the aggressive ones and start being assertive.
You want to speak in front of others without feeling like a failure or having to cave in each time with trembling voice.
You want to be able to take on challenges without feeling the fear every minute.
So, how do you move beyond all that self-defeating thoughts, negative self-talk to be one of the confident ones, quickly?

#1 – Do BIG Massive Actions Immediately
You can read quotes and books, and you can think your way out of feeling diffident but the quickest way you can get out of this feeling is to get into ‘loud’ actions, immediately. This is the first step to empowering you to accept confidence on a personal level. Before you deal with other people or situations, you will need to overcome your physical barrier first.
On the Individual scale, you can change your posture and physical movements with the following steps (You can do this alone)
  • Practise your vocals – Massage your vocal cord by humming, then saying single words like ‘HA’, ‘YA’, ‘NO’ loud and clear.
  • Practice laughing out loud – Hearing your voice loud and cheerful adds a positive note.
  • Sit Up / Walk Straight – As though you are pulling your head upwards towards the ceiling
  • Stretch and Open Up Your Limbs – Occupy more space by stretching out, loosen your muscles and stop ‘hugging’ yourself. Instead of crossing your arms or holding one arm with the other, assume a relaxed, upright position
  • Stand Up Tall – No more hunching or lowering your head. Don’t slouch too.
  • Raise Both Your Arms Over Your Head – Just Like You Are Winning It.
  • Run On The Spot / Jump Up and Down Fast – Get your adrenaline going so you feel you are getting into action.
Are you feeling more refreshed and slightly more upbeat now?  Do you feel these actions make you feel more empowered?
When in company of others, whether you speak with people you are close to and acquainted with (not as close, e.g classmates you don’t usually hang out with, friends of friends, your parents’ friends’ kids, etc), make it a point to
  • Speak with clarity – Be clear about what you are going to say, remove the stutters (the ‘Ums’, ‘Er’, ‘Hm’, ‘Like’) from your conversations – these drain you even though you feel like you are generating conversations when in fact, the other person is struggling to sieve out these words and trying to understand what you are getting at. 
    Practice preparing your point in advance and deliver with clarity.
    Say you are chatting away with a friend who asks, “So, what are you doing this weekend? Are you going anywhere?”
    Whether you have many activities or you don’t have, don’t reply with, “Um, I’m not sure. I think, um, I might have something, like, I think maybe, eh, probably I will go to my grandma’s place but hmm, like, it’s a weekly event, like, with my family. But I think, I might not go, hm, maybe like, I’ll go to the library”
    which could have easily been, “I’m not sure. I might go to the library or visit my grandma with my family.”
    You don’t need to fill up gaps of silence.
  • Regulate your talking ‘pace’ – If you find yourself talking too fast or end up mumbling, make a conscious effort to slow down. People will listen to you more.
  • Maintain eye contact – shows you are sincere, honest and *confident*
  • Curve your lips upwards (like a mini-smile) when you talk (even over the phone)
#2 – Speak Up, and Speak Your Mind More
Ever wondered why the witty ones always have comebacks that humour? Or those who show no mercy with their verbal disparage?
They have probably prepared themselves with lots of practices beforehand. Visualise this, someone who has been thrown off guard before might think of the perfect retort they think they would say the next time, but until they actually start verbalising it, whatever they wanted to express out are just thoughts. And until they say it out, they won’t remember it the next time it happens.
Say you have a verbal brush with someone and you are left dumbstruck, only to have the reply or comments you thought you should have thrown back at them. Then, you remind yourself that the next time it happens, you will be prepared. But the same thing happens again the next time, and you are confused and angry that you have not said what you wanted to rebuke with.
Or that time when you participated in a meeting. You think you have a great suggestion but you were worried about being rejected or even laughed at, and you kept mum until someone else suggested the same idea and everyone thought what a great idea they suggested. You decided to muster up the courage the next time, but often times, you cave in the next meetings.
It becomes a loop of you failing yourself again and again.
Be more vocal. The more opportunities you find for yourself to speak, the quicker you will improve.
Playing conversations in your heart with the perfect dialogue is not ideal nor effective in many situations. On other circumstances, what you think and what you end up saying are hugely different. When words actually come out from your mouth you regret them because it was not the way you intended it to be.
Learn to vary your pitch and intonation to stimulate the interest and engage the attention of others. People are easily charmed by those who can keep them engrossed, and they’d want to hear more from you. You can be that person too. Practice.

#3 – 
Decide. Even If You Will Make Mistakes.
Making decisions is one of the many things less confident people leave to others. Not everyone is comfortable taking the lead and making decisions. Too often we feel ‘fine’ with anything and go along with others.
As we get comfortable with following, others are getting comfortable with deciding.
Decision making may be as simple as saying yes or no, when you are clear about the situation, or as complicated as it can be especially when your decision will impact others in big ways (such as buying a car/ house, furthering your studies, changing a job, getting married, handling high-value projects and so on).
Even in a simple project, there are multiple doubts to clarify and directions to decide on before you can start with your team. What theme do you want it to be? Where do you start with? How many funds can you use? Where do you get better price items with quality from? Who will do what? When do you deliver? It takes a lot of responsibility and accountability to make decisions, especially when it affects others around you, and more often than not, a decision that even we make for ourselves often affects people around us. As such, you will realise, most projects involving more than two people perform better with a team leader.
As time goes by, coupled with the times you put your suggestions up and the times when they get accepted (Yay~), this practice will help you top up your confidence tank. Then you can swiftly move on to making decisions, which will benefit you as you gain experience.
Be mindful that whenever you make a decision, it is different from making a suggestion. Once you’ve decided, you have to take responsibility for your decisions and to own up to it even when you have made the wrong ones. When you make a wrong decision,  be quick to work on resolving it or making it right. Then and only then, will you be able to build your confidence quickly.

#4 – Courage To Accept and Admit     
Be brave enough to accept challenges and also, to acknowledge your mistakes. Otherwise, instead of you adding on to your confidence tank, you will take a beating when you avoid being accountable, and shrink back to the less confident level, at times even withdrawing deeper into it.
When no one else wants to take the reins, step up and volunteer to handle the project/situations. Unless you have done the same project or faced similar experience before, this will be a huge learning curve for you. If you have no prior experience, let it be clear to others (your team) but while you may lack the knowledge and know-how, you will work hard and smart to gain as much as you can from this exposure.
Being accountable is one of the many positive traits that set one apart from the others, even though you may face setbacks on the onset.

#5 – Remove The Perception That You Have Someone To Fall Back On (Even If There Is)
When you know you have a back-up, it is easy to loosen up and relax even when you are holding the reins, especially when you have people who have always been around. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to throw in the towel.
If you want to gain confidence fast, do it yourself.
If you want to gain more, have friendly competitions.

#6 – Forget Positive Thinking Now. Just Go For It.
Psyching yourself up and trying to talk yourself into being more confident before you take any challenges on usually ends up futile. How many times have you told yourself that you’ll do it when you’re ready? That you’ll speak up the next time? That you’ll raise your hand next meeting?
Have you ever spent hours searching and researching for the right course or centres (e.g ToastMasters for public speaking, or attending that language class, or booking that solo trip) even though you have read all about them or even called up, but never showing up?
There is never a right time, and by the time you think you are ready, the opportunity might have already slipped. (Click To Tweet)

#7 – 
 Get Into the Momentum of Constantly Challenging Your Fear
Lack of confidence usually is a by-product of not challenging yourself enough, not allowing yourself enough exposures.
The more you withdraw yourself to the background, or stay in your comfortable range (e.g. being a follower, hiding behind shoulders of others, not taking control, keeping quiet, waiting till you’re ready, letting others decide for you, running away from failures or mistakes), the harder it will be for you to step out and step up.
It is frightening to challenge yourself, but what’s more frightening is having to waste another 5 to 10 years of your life being a shadow, and only to regret and question yourself why you have not stood up earlier.
As you start, take up a small challenge first, like changing a bad habit (like nail biting or eating junk food) to keeping the good ones (like exercising every other day, reading one non-fiction book monthly), and over time, build your confidence on bigger goals (like waking up early, taking part in projects or competitions, volunteer to be leader and so on)

#8 – 
Rinse & Repeat 
The confidence game is a continuous one. Once you stop, your confidence in the tank leaks, so you need to keep topping it up.
Don’t let yourself be taken in by that one moment thinking that you have stood up for yourself three times this week and you’ll let it go this time round. It will jeopardise your progress because it is easier to sink back into the pool of old habits than stick to new one.
Keep practising it even when you have gained a certain level of boldness and faith in yourself.
Over time, you might not realise how far you have gone and how much you have achieved or overcame, but there comes a time when you look back and you feel awesomely amazing because you have gone so far and so much, just by putting your hands up, sitting taller and taking responsibility for yourself.
I hope this post has been helpful in one way or another. If you need more clarification, please feel free to contact me here.
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Empower Your Daughter With Confidence - L³ Hub - Live. Learn. Laugh. · July 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

[…] we call for confidence in women, we are often met with half-raised hands. Even if we want to be more confident in ourselves, we […]

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