< Back to Tips from the Pros

Six easy steps to improve your confidence


by Lani Grass

Let’s be honest, in the world we live in, confidence is a huge advantage . In almost every aspect of life, you can see how being self-assured is going to give you an edge. But the truth is that feeling insecure about ourselves is perhaps the most common problem we face as people in all walks of life. The great myth is that we think everyone else is more confident than us, but this is simply not true.

Self-confidence is not something you are inherently born with. Your faith in yourself begins to develop the moment you are born. Many factors will nurture the development of your self-esteem or lack thereof.

You can start to work on developing your courage by writing in a daily journal. Write down your successes of each day, no matter how trivial they may sound. You will look back and use those accomplishments to build upon your next goal. Note: It could be something as small as standing up to your boss or a colleague.

Before you begin, think about your personal strengths and your areas of opportunity, or AOO. Write these items down in your journal so you know where your starting point is. Then when you pick what activities you want to be involved in, you’ll start in an area that you have had past success in. As you gain more courage to tackle the items that are in your AOO, then your self-confidence will really start to soar!

Step One: Remind yourself daily that the past is over and that you can only change the future. Put up visual reminders and positive affirmations like “I am courageous”. You can also make vision boards that have pictures of what you envision your goals to be.

Step two: Take care and take pride in yourself! Take the time to groom yourself every day. You can’t fool others. If you don’t care enough to invest in yourself, then how will others value you? Invest in a good business wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just buy a little at a time. Be sure your clothing sends the message you intend. What you wear affects first impressions and reflects who you are professionally.

Step three: Emulate people you admire. Pay attention to their mannerisms, posture, grooming, eye contact and how they interact with others. Also, study their body language, speaking, or presentation skills and emulate their style.

Step four: Read non-verbal cues: Many introverts already have the skill of reading another person’s body language. You may or may not realize you have this ability because you have always done this naturally. You can use this skill to interpret when and what to say to someone. For example, if two people are standing closely and having what appears to be a closed conversation where their eyes don’t stray away and they are facing each other, this is probably not a good scenario to approach. Conversely, if there is a group that is more casual, smiling, and they are looking around the room, this is a better group to approach to start a conversation with.

Step five: Be likeable. Put a smile on your face- not a huge, forced smile, just one that says to others, “I’m a happy person!” And smile with your eyes; this tells the world you are sincere. Happy people are fun to talk to and are approachable.

Step six: Be yourself. Even though you are learning to change your behavior and skills to become more self-assured, you have to be honest with others and yourself. You can only change your behavior, not your inherent personality. Learn to really listen and understand others and you will always have something to talk about and can therefore build a personal or professional relationship.
In order to create real change, you need to believe in yourself and your abilities. Challenge yourself and try new situations that are out of your normal comfort zone. With practice you can create new habits, and with success, your confidence will continue to grow. If you keep doing this, you will notice that you will soon become more self-confident, naturally.

About The Author Lani Grass

Lani Grass is the founder of BackStage, LLC. She is a personal image and confidence coach. BackStage offers wardrobing, custom men’s clothing, personalized shopping and make-over services as well as private consultations and workshops. Lani also writes for Oregon Womens Report and has a style blog. Visit BackStage at www.Backstagewithlani.com.