How to Be More ConfidentWhen you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. ~Joe Namath
I was so far outside of my comfort zone it was hard to believe I even had one. I thought just turning up to my first Toastmasters International meeting was the hard bit.
I was wrong. I realized all of the things I had read about being confident and fun around new people was about to be put to the test …
I used to wish I could stroll into a new social situation and feel completely comfortable. I wanted to be able to talk with new people, share my ideas and opinions with an open heart. I wanted my new acquaintances to love my openness, and I wanted to admire them for adding to the momentum of the conversation.
I longed for the day every new interaction would begin like this, and everyone in the room would be drawn to my humor, confidence and insight like magnets. I wanted to leave these new situations filled with excitement because I shared myself openly; I remained true to myself and, most importantly, had fun.
Fortunately, that night at Toastmasters followed this positive script. However, this wouldn’t have always been the case for me. Many times in the past, I would have been self-critical, quiet and filled with insecurities that would have quashed my chances of being confident and certainly stopped me from having fun!
It was persistence and a commitment to self-improvement that allowed me to be confident in myself and exude that when meeting new people at my first Toastmasters meeting.
I was delighted to discover some tools that can help all of us to build our confidence and have a greater presence in this world.
Why Confidence is Difficult
We struggle to take part in a new social situation when we lose touch with what I call our Inner Toddler. Think about it — you weren’t born with this difficulty. When you were a child you would happily run around, talk and play with anyone.
In our adolescent and adult life we tend to get trapped by our thoughts, doubt ourselves, and feel detached from our deepest insights and the potential fun that could be had.
You are Important
When you realize you are important and so are your opinions and stories, confidence will grow naturally. The more you get in touch with this idea, the faster you will feel at ease around other people.
In modern society life is a busy place. This leads us to experience things without really feeling them, which ultimately waters down how important we perceive them to be.
It is vital that you become aware of the fact that your experiences are important. They are important to you, and they are important to other people.
Each of these add to the richness of who you really are.
The fastest way to get in touch with how important you are is to commit those experiences to paper. Write down everything you did that could have caused a positive ripple effect.
- Who did you smile at?
- Did you hold a door open?
- Did you help a customer?
- Did you make someone laugh?
It will take persistence and practice until eventually you will find many moments like these in every single day. The act of writing it down will draw your attention to the fact that you are important and you matter.
When you talk about these experiences with new people, you become even more emotionally involved with their importance. You’ll notice yourself being true to yourself and behaving more confidently.
Record Your Feelings
Take a pen and get into the habit of committing your thoughts to paper. Have an open mind, and start writing down how you feel right now. This is a private exercise for your eyes only, so allow whatever comes to mind to develop. Write it down — there is no need to censor yourself.
As you start to feel your emotions start to flow, answer this question:
What am I confident about?
Allow the words to come freely, and keep asking the same question until you have all of the answers stored in your subconscious mind.
If your negative inner voice tries to tell you that the answer is nothing, ignore it and carry on anyway.
Prepare to be Confident
Begin to visualize yourself doing all of the things that you do confidently, and allow yourself to feel grateful for them.
Continue this by visualizing an upcoming, new social situation. View yourself as the most confident, ultimate version of you. See yourself smiling, interacting and having fun.
Repeat the above steps several times a day for two months. Just as the athlete mentally prepares for the big event, your visions and preparation will instil an unshakeable social confidence within you.
I am all for stepping out our comfort zones, but I think it’s crucial we see ourselves there in our mind first so that it knows how to respond when it finally gets there.
Now that you’re more in touch with your feelings and experiences, you’ll feel better about just stepping into a new social situation and having fun.
Approaching new social situations with excitement, confidence and a fun attitude will add to the already rich tapestry of life. Be sure to enjoy each moment, each smile and each laugh.