“Hi, I am Julie and I have lost over 150 pounds and I have self-confidence issues."
It still makes me nervous talking about this, mainly because I had very little self-confidence throughout my life and obtaining confidence was as rare as a unicorn sighting.
Some of the most confident people I knew told me that they never felt confident. We are talking doctors, nurses, and highly successful business people.
I remember going to a charity event with one of these highly successful people, how he “worked the room” and looked comfortable in his own skin. Once we left, he was able to tell me how he had no idea how it was going to go and was totally worried he couldn’t pull it off.
It was at that point I realized that although some people are more self-assured than others, it did not mean that they are all confident and unworried.
Knowing this actually made me feel much better. I mean, after losing the equivalent of a chubby adult, most people expected me to feel more confident - and I didn’t. I simply felt the same, only smaller.
I still had the same issues I have always had. Was I good enough? Did I do enough? Why couldn’t I just trust myself and my instincts with total conviction and walk around looking like I knew what I was doing?
I started to really research confidence. Some of my theories are weird, but I believe that it is a nature versus nurture trait. Some people are just... Confident.
It doesn’t matter how they were raised, they naturally have it. Some that are raised in the best homes with the best families may be paralyzed with self-doubt and fear, unable to be comfortable with themselves in any setting.
Again with the tips. Yes, I am going to give you tips on how to be perceived as more confident. I am not going to tell you how to really be more confident. Mainly, because I haven’t mastered that in my life and I am continually looking to become more confident.
These tips have been my mainstay in how I present myself to others, how I deal with work situations that require a confident hand and what I do afterwards to work toward that goal.
How to Become More Confident
Tip #1 - Fake It
Fake it till you make it. I learned this from my mentor, Richard Simmons.
It was a shock realizing in my late 20s that so-called confident people really weren’t as confident as they appeared. As I was watching infomercials in the 1990s, I came across a crying Richard holding a rather large lady’s hand and saying, “My dear, you just have to fake it till you make it.”
She was talking about how she had tried multiple times to lose weight, and just couldn’t bring herself to put in the energy because she always hated herself when she failed. I could totally relate.
At 26, I decided to fake it, and at age 26 that was the first time I lost 130 pounds all at once.
Tip #2 - Work It
Do things that make you feel more confident. Do your hair, get sparkly nails, hell, even get a tattoo if that's what your into.
Wear something you feel good in. When I want to feel confident I wear super high heels, because it makes me feel more powerful. If I want to look like I know what I am talking about, a sexy power suit completes an ensemble.
I want to be taken seriously, but I also wanna feel hot doing it.
#3 - Body Language
Study it, and use it to your advantage. Seriously, people write whole novels on this stuff and you observe it every day.
Look at the naturally confident homosapien. He doesn’t rush, he isn’t fidgety and he doesn’t pace. He is unhurried, doesn’t monkey around with useless gestures or weird ticks.
He looks you in the eye. He has a firm handshake. He walks straight.
Pay more attention to this than to what you say. I have put my foot in my mouth many a time in a meeting, but I acted like i meant to do it, and people thought it was funny.
I didn’t look at the ground, I didn’t get all face touchy and look scared. I basically pretended my ass off.
4. Do Your Research
Oh. My. God. How many times do I say this stupid step?
Have you seen that Tony Robbins film, “I Am Not Your Guru”? You can see that he knows the room.
He has researched the participants and knows (from asking previous questions) who is despondent, who needs more help than others. He knows he is a master at helping others and he has confidence in doing so, or he is super good at the "fake it till you make it" rule.
If you are going to an event, know about it. It will surprise people, as weird as that sounds that you have researched stuff before you go to it. You will look not only smarter, but you will impress others just by doing a little bit of digging.
Not everyone has the “confident” gene. I know I certainly don’t. However, this can be learned and done in every aspect of your life.
I use these tips every day in business and in my personal life, too. You will feel like an imposter when you first start, but after a while, it becomes second nature. Viola, you are now well on your way to being perceived as a confident person.