Blog by Tracy Butz
You can’t touch it, but you sure can feel it. It doesn’t have a color or shape, but it can alter how others perceive you. It’s not supposed to add to your physical beauty, but I’m certain it does. What am I referring to? Self-confidence.
Even though the physical qualities of external beauty tend to be important to many of us—like our glowing skin tone, muscular definition, firm and smooth skin, radiant hair, etc.— it’s important to remember that they do have somewhat of an expiration date. The heart of self-confidence is far more about being comfortable with who you are. These tips will not only help enhance your level of self-confidence, but they will also help you to look and be your best you.
- Love and believe in yourself. Love all that you are—the good, bad and the ugly. None of your colleagues, friends or family members are perfect. None of them. So stop beating yourself up and looking for ways to “fix” you. Yes, self-improvement is important; but it’s that self-loathing inner voice that says you aren’t good enough that needs to be squelched. Believe in who you are, focus on your amazing qualities and own your short-comings. If you feel it would benefit you to enhance or improve a certain aspect, consider taking steps to do that. Choosing to build inner-strength through positive self-talk and prevent permitting the pessimism is sure to help loving who you see in the mirror.
- Smile every day…and more often each day. Just like wearing a pair of stiletto heels or an Armani suit may capture another person’s attention, sporting a genuine smile is not only free, but easy to do. If you tend to walk around looking solemn, turn that frown upside down. Rather than portray you’re closed off or disinterested, show off those pearly whites and accentuate your facial features and give them the opportunity to shine. Plus, frowning creates wrinkles—and none of us need more of them!
- Be prepared. I feel far more confident when I am prepared versus anxious and uncertain when I’m not. Whether it is regarding a professional task or a personal one, being well prepared is never a bad choice. Learn everything you can about the subject matter for the task at-hand. Practice the steps to hone your skill and soon your competency will grow. Preparation allows you to move through unforeseen difficulties far easier and with more success. As my husband frequently says, “Preparation is where planning meets opportunity.” How true that statement is.
- Speak clearly and concisely. Communicate your words succinctly and in a way in which is easily understood. Avoid long drawn-out explanations as they tend to confuse listeners. Less words are usually better than more, as long as it doesn’t change the meaning. Choose words using the right context and meaning and do your best to stay clear of “ums” and “ahs,” which are prime filler words that interrupt flow. Instead, speak with a steady, rhythmic tone, using pauses to emphasize key points. Help others want to listen to you over giving them a reason not to.
- Take good physical care of yourself. When you are aware of your body's needs and make time to meet those needs, feelings of happiness and strong self-confidence often follow. When you're feeling run down or stressed, relax by engaging in a favorite hobby or pastime. Eat foods that nourish your body and drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. Get the shut-eye you deserve to keep your mind sharp and your body full of energy. Find an exercise you love to maintain a healthy heart and physique. Treat your body with the respect it deserves for a higher-performing and more self-confident you.
- Display a straight, beautiful posture. Whether you are standing or sitting, improving your posture can make a significant difference in your appearance and level of confidence. If you tend to hunch a little bit when standing, make a conscious effort to pull your shoulders back, allow your chest to slightly protrude and straighten your back. When standing in place, hold a stance with both feet planted firmly on the floor, versus popping one of your hips and having your weight distributed disproportionately. And rather than leaning on a wall or a chair, standing straight communicates poise. When seated, be sure to have your buttocks pushed back into the chair without slouching. Being careful not to lean forward is also helpful to maintain proper spine alignment. Think upright and elegant over slouchy and sloppy.
- Dress for success. Select clothing and accessories that fit you well—meaning they suit your industry, lifestyle and situation. Understand what the appropriate attire is for a particular event or gathering and then select items that correspond. Underdressing or overdressing can alter someone’s first impression of you and it can certainly leave you feeling uncomfortable and awkward, which definitely doesn’t lend itself to confidence. Wear clothes that are the correct size and fit nicely—not too tight or too loose. Invest in using a seamstress if you’ve altered your weight or are height-challenged and need your pants shortened. When it doubt, press it!—as ironed clothes appear newer, nicer and crisper—leading to a more polished look.