It's Time to Get Your Mojo Back and Become a Confident Badass. Here's How.
There was a time when I thought the recipe for confidence was beauty, popularity, and fearlessness. For years I worked hard at building all of these qualities, and I was convinced it worked. Superficially, I was at my peak. I had lots of friends, was fitter than ever, and carried myself with pride. Then one day, it all shattered. I lost my confidence. It felt like my most prized possession was stolen from me and I could never get it back. One day I had it, and the next, poof, it was gone. I was devastated.
Looking back at this period of my life, I realize that I never really had true confidence to begin with. What I did have, was approval from others. I was acknowledged for my looks and physique. I rarely rocked the boat. I abided by social and familial expectations, and I was well liked by others. What changed, was the realization that I didn’t like myself. I lost sight of who I truly was, and became so focused on pleasing others that I neglected my internal needs.
I took a long hiatus from even trying to be confident, and instead turned to self-love. Then, two years ago, I decided it was time to get my mojo back. I’ve been cultivating my confidence ever since.
Before I share my tried and true methods for building confidence, let’s demystify what confidence is and isn’t, and why it is important for your well-being.
What is confidence?
Having belief in yourself.
Having the courage to be who you truly are regardless of your looks or popularity.
A practice you can cultivate over time.
Being the person who takes action towards their goals, commitments and values more than they talk about them.
Doing your best.
Not being ashamed of your flaws, weaknesses or vulnerability.
Confidence Is NOT:
The approval of others.
Popularity, beauty, or fearlessness
Something you are either born with or not.
Being the loudest in the room.
Never showing your flaws, weaknesses or vulnerability
Why is confidence important for your well-being?
Let me ask you this: Do you know anybody who doesn’t want to feel confident? I sure don’t. Everyone wants to be confident for their own reasons. I believe at the core of each one of these reasons is the desire to battle insecurity. Confidence is vital to your well-being because aside from self-love, it is the best antidote to insecurity and all the nasty baggage that comes with it: gossiping, holding yourself back, fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of disapproval, comparing yourself to others, and negative self-talk. When you learn how to overcome, or at least manage insecurity with confidence, you are free to pursue the life you desire, and become the person you are meant to be.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The Secrets to Getting Your Mojo Back and Becoming a Confident Badass
1. Replace the word confidence for courage.
The thing that has transformed my perspective on confidence the most is using the word courage instead of confidence. There are many challenges in life that require us to go outside of our comfort zone. In these moments, it’s difficult, if not impossible to feel 100% secure in ourselves. These challenges might be giving a presentation, learning a new language, asking someone on a date, trying a new sport, or just speaking our truth. If you feel fear at these times, it is not a sign for you to avoid discomfort. It is a sign for you to be brave and do it anyway. Remember, confidence is not fearlessness. It is having the courage to move forward in the face of fear. So, the next time you feel nervous or scared, don’t freak out because you don’t feel confident. Ask yourself instead “how can I be courageous right now?” and take appropriate action. The more you practice this, the more your fear will subside, and the sooner your courage will become confidence.
2. Practice and prepare.
When you see someone who is confident in who they are and what they do, it’s easy to assume that they have always been that way. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Confidence is the result that comes from hours (if not years) of practice and preparation. Identify what areas in your life you want to experience confidence and make a game plan. Do you need to take a certain class? How much time do you need a week to become an expert in this skill? Who can you ask for feedback? What mentors do you have that can support you in this goal? What distractions do you need to eliminate so that you can focus on building this skill? Schedule the time to practice and prepare in your calendar. Be consistent.
If you want to become confident in a certain skill, the steps to get there are much more clearly outlined than the steps you need to become confident in who you are. However, a plan of action can be made just the same. A good place to start is by voicing your likes and dislikes. This could begin with something small like sharing what shows you love and what shows you don’t. For instance, if you don’t like a popular show, this is a good opportunity for you to stand your ground and get comfortable with ruffling people’s feathers. (In fact, I’d say my most divisive opinion is that I don’t like Game of Thrones, but hey that’s just me.) From there, you can build to more challenging actions that help you practice being who you are: wearing your favorite outfits even if they are outrageous, setting boundaries, speaking up for yourself and others, having vulnerable conversations with loved ones, and pursuing your dreams in the face of adversity.
3. Build credibility, take action.
If you want to truly be a confident person, you need to walk more than you talk. This means taking action towards your goals, values, and commitments more than you talk about them. Do you dream of owning your own business? Then make moves every day to make that a reality. Do you value your relationships? Then spend less time on social media, and spend more quality time with the people you love. Are you committed to being healthy? Then eat your veggies and skip the Cheetos. Credibility helps you build respect and recognition from the people around you, but more importantly it builds self-respect and self-trust: the two key elements at the core of believing in yourself.
4. Harness the power of body language.
If your mind is making you feel insecure, take back control with body language. First, become aware of how you hold yourself. What is your posture? Where are your arms and legs? Where are you looking? Often when people are nervous or insecure, their bodies are the first to give them away. They fidget, have crossed arms, are looking down, and are hunched over. Often times these actions are done unconsciously. Luckily, they can be reversed once you bring awareness to them.
Some key body indicators of confidence that you can use are: standing up straight with your shoulders back and head held high, making eye contact (not staring), uncrossing your arms, and taking deep breaths instead of fidgeting. If all of these are new to you, start with just one, and build from there. If you need a quick confidence boost, you can even use “power poses,” poses that force you to be open, and physically take up space. I use these all the time, particularly before an important interview or presentation, and it dramatically improves my self-esteem. If you are wondering exactly how to use them, and maximize their benefit, watch this TED talk by social psychologist, Amy Cudder, and be inspired!
5. Identify your confidence role models, and learn from the best.
Confidence manifests itself in a multitude of ways. To make it fun, we could even identify different confident personas. There is the Hardworking Diva, like Beyonce, the Humorous Babe like Chrissy Teigen, the Creative Genius, like Steve Jobs, the Fierce Athlete like Serena Williams, and the Elegant Leader, like Michelle Obama (to name a few). Take time to identify who your confident role models are and why. These are people you look up to that often share your values, and carry personality traits and skills you admire and desire. Once you find who these people are, study them, and learn from them. What did they have to do to get to where they are today? What were their struggles, and how did they overcome them? How do they carry themselves in public? How do they speak? What is their work ethic? What are their values? How can you incorporate some of the things you learned about them into your own life and how you carry yourself?
All of these individuals created themselves to be the person they are today, and so can you. Remember that this technique for building confidence is meant for inspiration, not comparison. If you even want to take it a step further, you can ask yourself “what would [insert name of role model here] do in this situation?” or in trying times, envision yourself having a conversation with your role model, and imagine what advice they would give you. It might feel silly at first, but this practice can help you access deeper parts of yourself that otherwise feel unreachable, thus encouraging you to take actions that you were too scared to take before.
Confidence is something that we can all build, regardless of where we come from, what obstacles we face, and what we desire. It is the unique trait that takes us from being good to great. Yet, it is not unwavering. There are days when confidence feels natural, and days when it feels inaccessible, and that’s okay, it’s part of the journey. The main point is, YOU have the power and ability to practice confidence every day, whether you feel like it or not. Choosing to practice confidence daily will help you build a foundation of self-trust, self-respect, and belief in yourself that will launch you forward in every aspect of your life. Start practicing today!
Now, I want to hear from you! What does confidence mean to you? What idea from above will you incorporate into your life to boost your confidence? Share in the comments below!
If you feel inspired, please share with your family and friends!
You never know who needs to hear the encouragement today :)