Self-confidence is not just about handling pressure. Confidence helps you as a woman in business to take calculated risks, be more persuasive and perceive profitable opportunities.
Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
In other words, the feeling of confidence helps you make more money. People respond to you differently and more favorably when you feel so competent.
There’s a saying among voice coaches that the most powerful person in the room is the one with the more relaxed breathing pattern. If you feel confident, your breathing is relaxed and others assume you have great reasons to be so poised.
It’s easy to feel confident when you’re rested and things are going well. It’s when the stuff hits the fan that confidence flies out the window, leaving you stuttering and confused.
When I read the line-up of the OTHER speakers at an event. Suddenly I feel like a toad. To be more specific, I feel like a confidence-free small toad. I can’t remember why they even invited me to speak in the first place.
Or the person who swore on her grandmother’s Bible that we were going to work together, ghosts me. I can’t stop wondering what it was I said that made her change her mind. In that moment, I can’t recall any of the dozens of clients I’ve helped exceed their goals over the years.
I get introduced to Ms. Big Shot for the third time, and she has no idea that we’ve met before. I can’t remember how to start a conversation.
These are the moments when you need to access that confidence. It’s in there somewhere, you just need to find it. There may be a lurking opportunity in this person you’re meeting that you can leverage, but you need confidence to see it.
To find it, first you have to do is breathe. Not enough oxygen to the brain means not enough confidence in your head. There are also serious health repercussions to not breathing.
Put your thumb on that spot about an inch below your brassiere and push in. You want to feel that thumb MOVE out as you inhale. That’s feeding your body oxygen, helping you forget why you’re paralyzed with fear. Neurons start to fire in your brain. You remember how to converse with people.
(The location you want for your thumb in this exercise is on your diaphragm. Check Grey’s Anatomy.)
While breathing is always a good idea, there is a fairly easy habit you can cultivate to build your confidence. The habit is to build your memory muscle.
When confidence is threatened, it’s because you can’t remember ALL those many times you crushed it. You do, however, recall in high resolution that time you embarrassed yourself in second grade, but not the many times you delivered the goods, exceeding expectations.
Have you ever lost your car? I have many times. It’s because I was not paying attention when I parked the car and then 4 hours later, I have no memory whether it was on the 3rd level or the 5th one. I’m tired and cranky and it takes me forever to find it.
Eventually I learned that when park, I need to take a firm mental note of where my car is. Is there a number posted, what floor is it on? What is the car near? My sister, Carrie Peeples, takes a photo of her airport parking spot every time she flies. (But then she’s the organized one in the family.)
Likewise, when YOU accomplish a goal, perform a task particularly well or are complimented on something, make the effort to memorize the event and the feeling. Pretend your future depends on your ability to recall this victory. Writing it down in your journal is an excellent idea.
This is what lack of confidence looks like in business:
In my 10 years of teaching public speaking at two state universities, I can give you this solid, perhaps not politically-correct truth: Men tend to overestimate their abilities and women are much more likely to underestimate their skills. Which gender makes more moolah?
I hope in this new year of 2019 you will take steps to raise your confidence level and consequently increase your bank account balance. Remember to breathe and remember your past successes. You can thank me later.