Her Business magazine was founded in 1995 by Fiona Powell.
Her Business' vision was to inspire, inform and empower women in business.
Are you as confident as you'd like to be? Of course you're not. Nobody is - at least, not all the time. Confidence, however, is something we can all acquire, as ANGELA GRAY explains...
Before we go any further, I'd like you to think of the most confident person you know. Has it ever occurred to you to ask them if they feel nervous about meeting new clients, or if they anxiously lie awake the night before a business presentation?
Of course it hasn't! The idea has probably never even entered your mind, because you know how easily that person handles even the most difficult situation.
But, hang on a minute. The truth of the matter is that you don't really know how they're feeling - you are making an assumption, based on what you see. You, as we all do, are automatically (subconsciously) responding to the messages that the person is sending out. To put it another way, you're responding to someone who has learned to be a super-con.
CONFIDENCE - IT'S ONE BIG CON!
Confidence - take a look at the first three letters - yes, it's one big CON! Those super-confident people that we all know are expert cons already. They know their weaknesses, they've worked on them and learned that, by playing the part, over time their confidence really has grown. And, thankfully, this is something that we can all learn.
Firstly, we need to understand why, in spite of all our achievements, we still lack confidence in certain areas of our life. Self-development guru, Louise Hay (of You Can Heal Your Life fame) believes that, "Lack of confidence as adults can often be traced back to messages we were given as children." So, for example, if you were told that you were 'stupid' and 'irresponsible' as a child, there is a part of your subconscious that still believes that to be true today.
To combat these thoughts and regain your confidence Louise says that, "Every negative message you received when you were growing up should be turned around and made into a positive statement of self-worth." The idea is simple - every time you hear yourself thinking 'I'm stupid' you realise it's your parents talking and replace that thought with a 'Hang on a minute, I passed my exams, I'm now a successful businesswoman' etc. It sounds crazy but, believe me, it works - try it and see!
There are many ways to appear more confident and the beauty is that, the more you practice them, the more you start to believe them yourself. Try these for size:-
TALK YOURSELF INTO IT.
Use the power of affirmations to build yourself up before any important or stressful event. Refuse to pay any attention to your 'negative chatterbox' (the one that says "I can't do...", "What happens if..." etc) and concentrate on achieving a positive outcome. Tell yourself, (out loud if you can) "I am good at this", "I will do..", "I am looking forward to..."
VISUALISE A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME.
"The brain tends to panic when faced with a new and difficult task," says Gael Lindenfield (author of Super Confidence and Self Esteem) who suggests we use visualisation in order to build inner strength and self-belief. Say, for example, you are worried about a job interview next week - what you need do is set some time aside each day (preferably last thing at night and first thing in the morning), relax as much as possible and then run through the whole process in your imagination, as if you're directing a screenplay. See yourself waking in the morning, feeling calm and confident, showering, dressing, eating breakfast (perhaps listening to some favourite music which always lifts your mood), driving to your appointment, smiling as you greet your interviewers and so on. As Gael explains, "by repeatedly visualising your success, you'll be able to trick your mind into believing it's been in this situation before, and you should be able to manage perfectly on the day".
DRESS THE PART.
With psychological research showing that appearance counts for 55 percent of the impression created, voice for 35 percent and what you actually say seven percent, it's obviously crucial to dress for the part! A good haircut is essential, as are clean, well pressed clothes. From there, it's up to you to choose the most appropriate clothes for the occasion. Wearing colours that suit and flatter you will help of course, as will clothes you feel comfy and confident in (never wear something new for an important event, particularly shoes - they may pinch like mad after an hour or so!). Pay attention to the little things as well, such as making sure you have a fresh notebook and stylish pen (one that works!) when you attend meetings.
STAND UP TO MAKE THAT CALL.
People who stand up while they're on the telephone come across in a much more confident way. Lynda Field, in 60 Tips for Self Esteem, explains that "the person you're phoning is likely to be sitting down, so you have the psychological advantage. Also, smile while you're talking. This transmits confidence and assertiveness down the line and people treat you with more respect".
Before entering a room, take a deep breath, pull yourself up and walk tall, with your head held high. Look people in the eye and smile encouragingly, especially when you're the one who's talking. Remember not to cross your arms and legs (others see this as you being defensive); leaning forward slightly is a much better posture, showing that you are open and interested in what's being said.
BE A COPYCAT.
No matter how well prepared you are, you have to allow for those unexpected, potentially confidence-draining moments. A simple but effective strategy is to take a few very slow, very deep breaths and to ask yourself "How would I behave if I really felt confident?" or "How would so-and-so handle this?" Remember that the more you practice the behaviour of a confident person - adopting the best posture, actions and thoughts - the easier it will become.
ADDING CONFIDENCE TO YOUR LIFE.
As your confidence grows, you'll feel ready to gradually introduce further, deeper, changes
to your life.
If you spend your free time with work colleagues or 'friends' who drain you emotionally, it's worth re-evaluating your social life. Psychologist Dorothy Rowe explains, "So many women go on seeing people we don't like because it's expected and we think it looks good to others. A lot of women would rather be good than happy. You have to decide what you want."
Remind yourself that you deserve positive friendships, and spend more time with those who lift you up rather than bring you down.
Confident people don't waste time blaming everyone else, they accept that they are responsible for their own lives. As best-selling author and psychologist Susan Jeffers (of Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway fame) says "We realise we can't blame others for walking all over us, not society, not our parents, nor anyone else out there - only ourselves for not getting out of the way". So remember, if there's something you're not happy with, you have a choice - to accept it or to take control of your own life and start to change it!
Believe that you know what's good for you and always listen to - and trust - your intuition. Notice what makes you feel happy, strong and confident and aim to do more of those things! The truer you are to yourself and the more fulfilled you become as a person then the more your self-esteem will blossom.
As your confidence grows you may well find yourself behaving in ways you wouldn't once have dreamed possible. Don't leave it there - let the new you grow even stronger by moving out of your safe and familiar 'comfort zone' and begin taking a few risks! Start as small as you like, signing up for a painting class, perhaps, simply because you've always wanted to have a go (and in spite of your partner thinking it's a daft idea) and then think bigger as time goes on. Remember that succeeding at new things boosts confidence and can lead you on to greater things - just what these are is of course entirely up to you!