These days your personal power seems to come in short supply.
Yes, you know you are successful – at least on paper. You have earned your MBA. You have been put in charge of the high-profile clean energy project. You have a team of hard-working and incredibly talented employees looking up to you for your leadership.
However – there is one thing missing from the picture – your confidence.
It feels like a dream even. You put yourself on autopilot, show up, smile and get the job done. You want so much more but it seems impossible to push through some tough situations you are facing:
Your colleague John keeps dragging you in on impromptu meetings that you don’t NEED to attend in the first place. You keep telling yourself that it’s fine because your job is to be the leader of your team and it might mean sitting in on a couple of long, boring and pointless meetings.
You want to ask for a raise but you don’t want to come across like a shark or too aggressive, even though you know your peer Brad across from you is earning a full $20,000 more that you are because you heard him discussing his salary with his buddy. In your head, you are telling yourself to be grateful – it will happen if my boss notices my effort.
You realize that there are no boundaries in your relationship, especially when it comes to your business. Your husband keeps barging into your home office, and strike up the loveliest of conversations even though you’ve told him repeatedly that you are working. All you want to do is just lock yourself in your home office, and get four quality hours to yourself.
You constantly rack your brain about how to get out of these situations. How can you take charge without coming across as too demanding or compromise the image of what others expect of you?
It starts with some simple, yet effective daily actions that you can use to boost your confidence. Following these actions will lead to massive changes in your confidence, your personal power – and the results you are currently creating in your life. The great thing is that these are all actions that YOU can control.
This may mean shifting your mindset (read this article on the two kinds of mindset and how to shift yours). In all situations, you can choose how you want to show up. In fact, you already have within you, the confidence to say the things that you want to say and ask for more of the things you want in your life. And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to change who you are to do these things.
Here are the four things you can start practicing to up your confidence right now, so that you can start having more authority in your relationships and business:
Create mental images of the confident you.
It is true that the greatest things in life come from our minds before they see the light of day. Spend a minute or two visualizing your most confident self-asking for that raise or telling your partner that you will be off limits for conversations for the next four hours. It’s hard for the brain to distinguish between reality and imagination – so you can rewire your brain and how you want to show up.
Use more powerful language each day.
Watch how you talk on a daily basis. While it might not be conscious to you, the language you use has energy – that triggers how you show up and how others respond to you. So – instead of saying “I can’t attend this strategic planning meeting right now” you perhaps could say ‘I choose not to attend this meeting right now as I have other priorities to attend to.’
Fake it until you become it.
This is phrase that Amy Cuddy, used in her book, Presence – which simply means act as if you already are confident. That means dressing the part of a confident, high-powered executive; hanging out with other confident women as well as speaking and adapting your body language in a way that you feel portrays your confidence.
Practice some yoga.
Yoga helps you to relax, release stress and helps us get out of our heads. However, the practice of yoga involves a great deal of expansive body poses that triggers testosterone in your body. This hormone is the king of confidence and inner strength. About to ask for boss for a promotion, practice a round of yoga before you do it and see the difference it makes for you. (Want some help on scoring your next big promotion? Check out this Get Promoted Program).
Breathe from your diaphragm.
Yes, you read that right! The way you breathe affects your confidence, and more specifically, your oxygen levels. We typically breathe from our chests which limits the amount of oxygen we have when speaking, and by extension, the pace, volume and tone of our speech. You want to breathe from your diaphragm, which will make you more focused, relaxed and feel a sense of inner control when in conversations. Check this article out on breathing for influence and confidence.
Confidence is about mindset, practice and focus. It is not something that is external to you. Once you understand the right internal levers to turn, you can put yourself on autopilot to show up more confidently in your business, relationships, and at work. More confidence means an extra $10k on your paycheck, permission to work a 6-hour workday or improved work relationships with your colleague Brad who keeps overstepping your authority