Like any skill, confidence must be practiced.
As a young lawyer, I was initially very intimidated by opposing counsel who had 20+ years of experience over me. But I soon learned that there was nothing I could do about it.
Regardless of what they thought of me, I had to represent my client and complete the job that I came to do. Over time — through more experience — I’ve steadily built up my confidence and now shrug off any condescending looks or comments because I know what I’m capable of.
Here are some tips that will help you get there too.
I. Stop Putting Other People on a Pedestal
Often we feel insecure because we think everyone around us are so smart, beautiful, experienced, etc. The truth of the matter is that they are just like me and you. They have their own insecurities too. Also, appearances aren’t everything. What if they are secretly dying inside when they’re out in public and just fake having confidence? You can never really know what’s going on in someone else’s head. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to bring everyone else around you back down to earth and realize that they make mistakes, say things that are out of line, and fart in bed like you.
II. Work On Whatever You’re Not Confident About
For me, I was insecure/not-confident about my abilities as a lawyer. Some of those traits included being able to manage client expectations and advocate successfully at a mediation/hearing.
There was no magic formula.
I just grew more confident the more times I had to do it. Through tons of practice, I became better at these skills and all of this became way less intimidating.
Insecure about being unhealthy?
Eat cleaner. Hit the gym more. In a little while, you will see results.
Insecure about public speaking?
Sign-up for a toastmasters club. Join a debating team.
Insecure about your lack of financial literacy?
Pick up Thomas J. Stanley’s “Millionaire Next Door” or Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad or Poor Dad.”
Through consistent work, you will naturally become more confident because are forcing yourself to work on the skills that you lack.
III. When You Talk, Use Hand Gestures
I’m not talking about inappropriate hand gestures. But when you tell a story or are trying to flesh out a thought, use your hands.
There is some evidence to suggest that using hand gestures while speaking makes people listen to you. A study shows that the most popular and viral speakers use an average of 465 hand gestures. They were also seen to be seen as warm, agreeable and energetic, in comparison to speakers who did not use hand gestures and were viewed as cold, analytical and logical.
I don’t mean flail your hands everywhere. Keep everything within reason. But realize that gesturing helps people understand you and visa-versa.
IV. Commit to a Digital Detox
I am the least confident after I’ve scrolled through social media.
In the current digital age, we are constantly bombarded by influencers, companies, and average folks telling us how good our life could be if we just bought whatever they’re wearing or do whatever they’re doing.
We have to remind ourselves that we’re just viewing someone’s meticulously established highlight reel. It’s not someone’s daily life. They still do laundry, get upset at dumb shit, and look less glamorous without make-up and instagram filters. They’re just like us.
Once you focus on things that make you happy, you will become more confident in your own abilities and, generally, happier all-around.
It’s well-known that when you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These endorphins interact with receptors in your brain that not only reduces your perception of pain, but also releases a positive feeling throughout your body.
Regardless of whether I actually look more physically fit, I feel more confident after a solid work-out. Nothing makes me feel more confident than after a long run outside while listening to some intense hip-hop music. Get sweatin’.
On a fundamental level, I believe happiness and confidence is intertwined.
Work hard on being the best version of yourself and you’ll slowly realize that you have every reason to be truly confident in your capabilities.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this story, you should check out www.jenonmoney.com where I write about the intersection of money, work and happiness. — Jen