[Photo taken in 2012 when I first tried Ziplining in Vermont. I was really high in the air…maybe you can tell.]
People are drawn to confidence. We’re attracted to those who carry themselves in a manner where you can sense that they genuinely feel good about who they are, and what they can accomplish. We want to spend time with them, be inspired by them, and learn from them.
So why not focus on boosting your own personal confidence and attract new clients, as well? If you can become the confident person you admire, just think how you can make your clients feel.
No one can help you become more confident. That comes from within. But I came up with a small list of things that may help you.
1. SPEAK YOUR MIND
I have been told on a few occasions that I can be “intimidating”, due to my driven and ambitious nature. It’s never been intended as an insult, rather a compliment, since usually what they are really saying is that I’m confident, and not afraid to tell people what I think or what I want. However, it has also made me reflect on why people interpret drive, confidence and honesty in a woman as being intimidating.
I suppose it is because throughout history, we have often been taught to be quiet, agreeable, and grateful. We have been encouraged to be less confident and less outspoken. We may fear ridicule if we speak our minds.
But if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t fear speaking your mind. You are entitled to think and feel as you wish, and share these thoughts and feelings with others. Others may not agree with you, but you deserve to be respected either way, as long as your delivery is also respectful. If people know that you are honest and upfront in regards to who you are, they will likely feel more connected to you, and want to hire you.
2. BE CONFIDENT IN BOTH HARD AND SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills are extremely valuable. These skills are not teachable, but inherent to who you are. Social and personal skills are soft skills. Unfortunately, these skills have not received the financial compensation they deserve. And historically, women have been viewed as being stronger in soft skills and having less strength in hard skills. This belief has often been used to justify pay inequities, as the workforce has placed greater value on hard skills.
Of course our skills should not be generalized in this manner, and it is up to women to proudly boast that we maintain both soft and hard skills. If we want to build a clientele, we need to be confident in these skills, and not afraid to market ourselves in such a way.
3. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS, EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE
It may sound cliche, but you really are unique. Comparing yourself to others is an exercise in futility. You can never be someone else, nor can they be you. You must embrace yourself exactly as you are and relish in the fact that you are one of a kind.
I once heard of a self-esteem exercise where you stand in the mirror, look at your body, and tell yourself that you love yourself. It may sound strange, but for women who are often so critical of their appearance, to be able to look at every wrinkle and supposed imperfection, smile and say to yourself, “I’m beautiful”, may have profound effects on self-love and acceptance.
3. TELL YOUR INNER CRITIC TO TAKE A NAP
I recently attended HubSpot’s Inbound Conference. My favorite session this year was given by Denise Jacobs and was titled Banishing Your Inner Critic. It was one of those sessions where I sat there thinking she was talking directly to me.
We all have an inner critic, especially women. We hold ourselves back because we let this voice in our head tell us that we can’t do things, we’re not ready, we don’t know enough, we don’t have enough experience, we’re not smart enough, and the list goes on. The inner critic tells us that our past mistakes will cause us to fail for the rest of our lives.
However, this is all false. ALL FALSE! Last week I was having a discussion with my good friend who is a business owner/creativity expert, and she told me that the inner critic is a biological response to danger. It isn’t us, it isn’t our voice. It is nature trying to protect us from possible harm.
Let the inner critic protect you for the emergencies, when there is real danger, but aside from that, tell your inner critic to take a nap. If you decide you want something, you can have it. You want success? Make it happen. Your life is up to you. You need to decide to shut down your inner critic, don’t make excuses, and come up with a plan of action. Then follow it through.
While many may believe that it is lack of skill, resources, or luck that keeps us from succeeding, I would argue it is none of these things. It is lack of confidence. And there is no reason at all for any of us to lack confidence. We all have something to offer the world