You know those women who always speak up at PTA meetings? The ones who unflinchingly walk to the front row at Pilates and manage to talk to their teens about tough topics without so much as breaking a sweat? They’re swimming in a little something called confidence that most of us would love to just dip our toe into. The good news: It’s nowhere near as tough as you might think. I’ve found that confidence boils down to the four C’s. Spend a few minutes practicing them daily, and you’ll be stepping into more self-assured shoes in no time.
Confidence flows when we know exactly what we desire. Want to ask for a raise at work? How much more, precisely, do you want? And how will you convince your boss that you deserve it? Start with clarity, then give yourself permission to go for it!
In order to pursue the outcome you seek, you may have to abandon some old ways of thinking. Do you think no one at the party will find you interesting enough to talk to? Or that you’ll embarrass yourself at the job interview? These are just thoughts—and thoughts can be changed. The next time a disempowering thought comes to mind, challenge it by stating your desired outcome out loud.
When you lack self-confidence, it’s almost always related to feelings of not being “enough” (not a good enough mom, not a good enough employee, not a good enough whatever). Replace these feelings with new beliefs about yourself that reaffirm that you are enough. Craft three affirmations that you can pepper around your home with Post-it Notes or simply say to yourself silently whenever you’re waiting at a traffic light.
When we’re feeling unsure of ourselves, it’s subconsciously reflected in our posture. We slump our shoulders, cross our legs and make ourselves as small as possible. Taking up more physical space can boost your level of self-assuredness and even how others perceive you. Stand tall when you enter a party and sit up straight before you speak up at a meeting. If it feels uncomfortable at first, stick with it!
3 Secrets to Boosting Confidence in Your Teens
Praise effort over outcome. “I’m really proud of how hard you’re working on your math homework” is far more encouraging than “Great to see you’re getting B’s in math now.” Remind your child that what they can control is the most important thing—and that you love and support them no matter the result.
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Encourage new activities. Social media can sap confidence, so encourage your teen to try new things that don’t involve a screen—a new sport, an instrument, a weekend job. Making progress in anything builds confidence.
Model it yourself. Be OK with your own mistakes! Laugh over your stuttered start to an awkward conversation. Avoid criticizing your body in front of your kid. Talk to your teen about times when you didn’t feel brave but took action anyway. Your child will learn confidence from what you do, not what you say.