Over Memorial Day Weekend in May of 2015, I found myself in Austin, Texas with people I didn’t know well. On one day in particular, the man leading the Mastermind I was in town to attend asked me if I’d like to see the bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge in the downtown Austin area. It was an opportunity for me to buy the ticket and take the ride and I was all in.
I smiled and nodded and followed him out of the hotel lobby and in to the street. The cacophony of sounds assaulted my brain initially. Then I leaned into it and moved closer to the center of the activity. At that moment I thought of Hunter S. Thompson when he said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
At some point I began to question why I had been so eager to join this man, when I had other things that needed to be done and did not even find him particularly interesting. Creating or being involved in a situation that may get you in way over your head may sound like a good idea, but deciding that turning back part of the way in isn’t a viable option can have far-reaching effects on your life. It all comes down to one thing, at least in my thinking: Confidence.
No matter who you are, where you live, or what you’ve chosen as a career, life is stressful. Even the most successful people in the world have endured tough situations and they made the conscious decision to take control of their lives, take advantage of every opportunity given to them, and change their stories into ones of success. Building up that confidence to tackle challenges and grab opportunities is a trait we should all strive to improve.
If you’re feeling like life is getting the best of you, incorporate some of these tips into your daily life so you can feel a boost of confidence. These confidence boosters will magically lighten your emotional load so you can focus on the positives in life instead of the negatives. Confidence brings a brighter outlook on life which naturally leads to less stress and the ability to recognize beneficial opportunities.
Just remember…low confidence is not genetic. You’re not destined to always suffer from low self-confidence but you may have to work harder to overcome that weakness. Here are some easy tips for boosting that self-confidence:
1. Take care of yourself every single day. Starting from a shower in the morning to washing your face at night, daily hygiene is a symbolic way to wash away the negative mojo from yesterday and start fresh today. Some women also notice a marked difference in their confidence when they add just a little makeup or lip color.
2. Dress your best. While it may sound cozy to work at home in your pjs, many experts agree that productivity and self-confidence improve when you dress for the day. One friend told me she did her best work when she wore fancy high heel shoes! You don’t need a full on business suit to be productive but choose something more business-casual as opposed to gym clothes or pjs after your shower.
3. Be aware of your self-talk. How is your inner ego treating your outer self? If you overeat at lunch time or devour an entire box of your favorite cookies, does your inner demon berate you? Take notice of how you treat yourself when you “fall off the wagon” and turn that negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Instead of berating yourself for unbecoming behavior, turn that into an opportunity to exercise or to meditate instead. Or take a moment and actually TALK to yourself out loud with reassuring words.
4. Take action every day. Nothing occurs in life without action. Students can’t get an A on a paper or test without studying hard. You can’t balance a checkbook without analyzing your expenses. You can’t earn a promotion without a strong work ethic. You can’t find new clients without marketing your business. Go one step further and think positively, which will then carry over into your actions. Instead of believing you can’t do something, change that into a can-do attitude. Soon you’ll discover how to find the silver lining in every situation.
5. Set a small goal and celebrate the win. Whether you need to shop for groceries, email your subscribers, or take time to exercise, set that goal as a priority for the day and celebrate when it’s complete. Enjoy the accomplishment and that lightened feeling it brings! Go one step further and schedule that goal task for early morning so your accomplished feeling lasts throughout your day.
6. Incorporate small habits into your daily life. What could you do with an extra 10 minutes in your day? Tiny habits are all about taking small, minute chunks of time and using it wisely. So if you woke up 10 minutes earlier tomorrow, would you meditate, practice yoga, journal, or simply start your daily routine without feeling rushed? Small habits could be absolutely anything but that sense of accomplishment will motivate you to do more throughout the day. So this tip really goes hand-in-hand with number 5 above. You don’t need to solve the world’s problems but pick something small and dedicate a small amount of time to it. Soon you’ll link multiple tiny habits together and have a full-fledged productive routine!
7. Focus on solutions instead of problems. Focusing on problems alone leads to complaining and I’m certain you’ve seen your fair share of complaining on social media! Don’t become one of them! When something goes wrong, focus on how to fix it. Find alternatives instead of finding someone to blame. Sure, disappointment or anger over a problem are natural reactions but the key is not to dwell on this negative reaction. Do what you can to fix the problem and you’ll feel an immediate confidence boost when the problem is resolved (whether you get any credit for being the problem solver or not).
8. Be grateful. Gratitude is so easy to forget about in the course of a busy day. While gratitude journaling is popular these days, practicing gratitude can be as simple as saying, “Thank you for another beautiful day” when you awaken. Or “thank you for preventing my getting into an accident” if you have to slam on your brakes. You can also profess gratitude with a simple phone call or email to special friends, simply thanking them for all the good they bring into your life. Recalling all that is good in your life can fill your heart with warmth and will also boost your confidence when you realize all your good choices have led you to this place.
9. Conquer self-limiting beliefs. As the old quote from Henry Ford reads, “Whether you say you can or can’t, you’re right.” As we grow older, we start to lose confidence in our abilities and those self-limiting beliefs take root in our brains. To rebuild confidence, tackle each of those beliefs by stepping out of your comfort zone. More often than not you’ll come away from the experience thinking it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Then you’ll be ready to move on to the next belief!
10. Gain inspiration from the backstories of people you admire. We can all use a dose of inspiration nowadays but if you have a celebrity, business person, or author you admire, learn about their lives and how they overcame adversity. This is not to draw comparisons or to make you feel like you should be further ahead in reaching your goals; to the contrary, this is to inspire you that ANYONE can overcome challenges and still come out with confidence and success. Looking at their challenges, maybe you’ll realize that YOUR challenges aren’t nearly as bad as you once thought.
The strongest, most brave, and confident person I ever met was a woman named Audrey Esther Callahan. She grew up in the Midwest part of the United States during the Depression and had little opportunity to go beyond high school with her studies. She was creative and artistic and played the piano, but her family steered her away from that life and instead encouraged her to take jobs that had a future, at least until she could get married. While she wanted to buy the ticket and take the ride, she instead she was willing to acquiesce to their request and bide her time.
Audrey worked at a few jobs during the 30s and 4os, including at Hallmark Cards and at a dance venue called the Sock Hop. It was at one of the Saturday night dances where she ran into a man named Russell she had known peripherally in high school a few years earlier. They became friends and had fun together with some others on the weekends for the next few years. The reconnected at another dance some years later and danced the night away. He’d been offered a job in California to work on the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine. That night, Russell asked her to marry him and make a new life together.
I was born four years later, but Russell was not my father. That’s a story for another time, but suffice it to say that my mother needed to summon every bit of courage and confidence she could muster in order to make a life for the two of us. It had taken her half a lifetime to understand why her parents had discouraged her from a life in the arts and as a creative, but her strong will and inner confidence helped her to find her voice and pass on that independent spirit to me.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, continually ready to take a stand and make a statement on behalf of myself and for others. Take comfort in knowing that your confidence can be regained! Give yourself a confidence booster every day as needed until you see your mood lifting and your outlook on life turns more positive. Choose to buy the ticket, take the ride, and live life to its fullest and yours will be a life worth living.
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