Each of us wants change in our lives. We want to become a highly acclaimed speaker, a best-selling author. We want to move up the ladder at work, or build a business empire. We want to introduce ourselves to an important person or ask for a raise at work.
Yet, there's a hitch: While many of us want hese things, we hear our inner selves saying, “That would be awesome! But I could never do that.”
And it's our job to shush that inner self. Because if we just sit around and wait for confidence, it will never come. Here are four actions to immediately boost our confidence and go after the future we want.
Adopt a "high-powered" pose.
Think of Wonder Woman, standing tall with her hands on her hips. She exudes confidence just through her posture. Columbia University and Harvard University conducted a study on body posture. It found that a confident body posture actually effects the chemical balance in our bodies. Specifically:
The research was conducted on 42 students.
First, a saliva sample was taken from each subject and his or her testosterone and cortisol levels were measured.
Second, the subject was asked to sit in either a "high-power" pose or a "low-power" pose for two minutes.
Third, a second sample of saliva was taken from each subject and his or her testosterone and cortisol levels were measured again.
The results showed that high-power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent (which boosts confidence) and decreased cortisol levels by 25 percent (which reduces anxiety).
So, take a lesson from Columbia and Harvard: Start your day by standing tall with your chest out and hands on your hips for two minutes. You can focus your breathing for those two minutes by breathing in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5. This is a great combination of breathing exercises, meditation, and power poses.
Say an incantation.
Incantations are not the same as affirmations. An incantation is an affirmation, times a hundred. When speaking (or shouting) your incantations, you are engaging your entire nervous system with the full force of your focus, emotion and body to induce a new physiology and instantly cultivate new beliefs.
Here are six tips to powerful incantations:
Do something physical while you chant your incantations (take a walk, pace, move your body in a strong way).
Put all of your emotion into it while you say it. Speak it out loud. If nobody is around, scream.
Try for at least 15 minutes. Just saying your incantation once or twice is not going to have the greatest impact.
Make sure your incantation is in alignment with your beliefs. You can’t just say something and think something different.
Be specific with what you want to accomplish in your incantation. Do you want to feel more confident? Do you want to be influential?
Do you want to be successful? What outcome do you want?
Show some certainty.
Make a decision, and stick to it. Tony Robbins has said, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats!” He explains that if you do not burn the boats when things get rough, you'll find it much easier to retreat. And there is safety in retreating. It is more pleasurable than the pain you are enduring. It reduces your fighting spirit.
However, if a general gives the order to burn the boats, he is immediately reprogramming the mindset of his soldiers. They no longer have the option to retreat. They either fight or die. With their minds re-programed, the soldiers will associate fighting and victory with pleasure, and death with pain.
What metaphorical boats of yours need to be burned in order to push you forward? What is it that you are still holding on to as a safety net?
Have you accepted that a life of mediocrity is okay? Have you told yourself you aren’t ________(fill in the blank: "smart," "pretty," "young," "old,: etc.) enough to reach your goals? What beliefs are you holding on to that are allowing you to sabotage your vision?
It’s time to let those old beliefs go and make a decision to burn your boats. There is no looking back. The only option is success.
Dale Carnegie said, “Action breeds confidence. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy!”
Similarly, trying new things will breed confidence within you. Three questions to ask yourself are:
What one thing will I choose to do today to break through my boundary line?
What huge challenge will break me out of my comfort zone?
What is my biggest fear that I will take on and conquer?
You may not get it right the first time and might have to adjust your action steps, but consistent action builds momentum which builds confidence.
Keep in mind the words of Norman Vincent Peale: “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different actions or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”