Give yourself the time and space to prepare for stressful situations.
Focus on your body language and your breathing.
Value yourself – don’t expect others to value and respect you if you don’t value yourself.
Practise your Power poses and being Body Confident!
Confidence is a funny thing, we can be super confident in one area of our lives, yet crumble and feel nervous, or worse, terrified at the prospect of facing other situations. The key thing to being confident is EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Understand what or who triggers anxiety and fear and try to plan ahead to anticipate the situations that may cause stress. These might be a forthcoming interview, a review with a tricky boss at work, or even a school parents meeting – all situations where the pressure is on to put your best foot forward and, ironically, be yourself. I say ‘ironically’ because when we are not feeling very confident then we often frustrate ourselves by not being the best of ourselves, and not coming across in the way we wanted to, or saying the things in the way we had hoped. We can end up feeling silly and even less confident. The great news is that this doesn’t have to be the case, and that with some preparation and practise it is possible to be more confident.
VISUALISATION is a great tool. Visualise a stressful situation and possible outcomes, and then visualise yourself calmly dealing with them. Picture how you will look, how calm you will be, and what you will say. Think of how you might feel and how you will deal with those feelings. It’s an interesting fact that the same part of your brain produces the symptoms of excitement and nerves – you can have ‘butterflies in your stomach’ for either. With a bit of practice you can train your brain to feel the anxiety of nerves as excitement at the challenge. Focusing on steady breathing and taking your time when flustered in a situation can make a big difference to how you come across.
At First Focus Consultants we are enormous advocates of the POWER POSE otherwise known as the Superhero pose! This is building on Amy Cuddy’s research into Being Body Confident which shows how by doing Power Poses for just 2 minutes before a nerve-wracking situation actually changes our mindset to being more confident and powerful. Our testosterone levels go up, and stress hormone levels go down. The opposite is true of the closed pose, which we are often tempted to adopt if we are feeling scared or overwhelmed – that is arms and legs crossed, head bowed, maybe looking at our phones or reading notes. The key thing here is BLUFFING IT! If you act confidently then you will become more confident. So hold your head up high, shoulders back, open up your chest, feet firmly on the ground, and say to yourself that you are fantastic and wonderful, and that you are confident and great!! I use power poses on a regular basis, and teach my children, and clients to be superheroes too – it really does work!!
And lastly, value yourself. Think about your strengths in and out of the workplace. Ask others for feedback and listen and take on board what they say. Life isn’t always about being the biggest and the best at everything, it is about being happy in who you are as a person, and feeling in a good place in life and work. If you are not happy with an aspect of your life, then think about how you can change it, and give yourself the time and space to work out how to do this. And remember that if you do not value yourself, then you can’t expect others to value you either. Celebrate who you are and make positive decisions and changes in your life.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito” Dalai Lama
Anna Morris, Director and Careers Coach at First Focus Consultants
Anna Morris is a qualified, experienced Careers Coach and Director of First Focus Consultants. She works with adults and children in all areas of careers and confidence coaching. For more information please see www.firstfocusconsultants.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org