According to the Cambridge English Dictionary:
Confidence is “the quality of being certain of your abilities” and “having trust in people.”
The only time anyone approaches me about being more confident is when they start to lose the certainty in themselves that they have their abilities and then others start to lose trust in them.
It’s not the lack of the abilities that creates a lack of confidence, it’s not having the skill to look and sound that you are certain of your abilities even when you’re not!
And that’s when the techniques that actors learn at drama school are so useful. It’s not about pretending to be someone else or that you have abilities that you don’t. It’s about being able to be the best version of you, whatever the situation so that you come across as the capable and competent person that you really are.
I like to use the analogy of a light switch when talking about confidence. Sometimes it’s a standard flick switch and sometimes a dimmer but when you start to lose your confidence the switch either flicks off or slowly dims. Either way you quickly become unsure of your qualities and others have no trust in you.
Neuroscience studies are now showing us that you can change your mind by changing your physicality and here are 3 simple changes that I have found can boost your confidence … and you can do them at any time and pretty much anywhere!
- Take up more space. Sit or stand up with your shoulders pulled slightly back. Don’t pull your arms too close to your body or cross your legs. Fill the space you have … it will make you feel more capable.
- Stand on your front foot. There is a reason that people talk about being on your back foot. Try it … if you stand with one foot slightly further forward than the other and them put your weight on your back leg, you’ll start to notice that you feel more vulnerable. The opposite is true too, lean with your weight slightly forward and you start to feel more in proficient.
- Slow your breath down. Breathe in from your diaphragm for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11 several times. You brain’s overriding job is to keep you alive so when it thinks you are in danger your breathing becomes quicker (pumping oxygen to arms and legs for fight or flight!). By breathing more deeply and slowly your brain will stop preparing you for imminent danger and you will feel more relaxed.
These three little changes can make a huge difference … try them and see. And let me know how you get on below.