No matter how mind-blowingly brilliant your business idea is, or how insanely talented you are, absolutely nothing will take off if you don't believe in yourself.
Confidence is the jet fuel you'll need to fly towards success. There will always be thousands of obstacles on your journey--but you're stopping yourself right at the gate if you lack this one key trait.
If you think building confidence is impossible, realize that it isn't an innate trait anyone is born with. Richard Branson wasn't a shrewd negotiator when he uttered his first words, and I've personally witnessed the most nervous interns quickly transform into self-assured leaders.
You can develop that same self-poise. All you need is a plan and some elbow grease. Here's how to do it.
Oprah doesn't start her TV appearances hunched over in the corner. She always stands tall and gets the crowd amped up by walking around with swagger and self-assurance.
The audience wouldn't be cheering otherwise, and in the TV show of life, you need that same body language to get people to cheer for you.
I'll admit, standing loud and proud isn't always easy. But it's a self-perpetuating cycle, and you can start with baby steps. Everything from slightly improving your posture to doing "superhero" poses before presentations are proven ways to release a flood of confidence-boosting chemicals.
Before you know it, you'll be able to face anything with your head held high.
Dress for success
You don't have to be a fashionista to be self-assured (my receipts at T.J. Maxx can attest to that). But dressing like a slob isn't doing you any favors in the confidence department.
Studies show that our mental state is linked with our wardrobe--if you wear an outfit associated with successful people, you'll look, feel, and speak like a successful person. And if you dress like a "hot mess," you'll most likely act the part too.
So invest in yourself at the mall--your confidence is worth it. You don't need to bust your budget at Prada, but you should get that sharp outfit, and even consider implementing a dress code to boost your whole team's confidence.
Embrace the unknown
Remember how nervous you were when you first hopped on a bike? That slight slope on the concrete sidewalk felt like a freefall down Mount Everest.
But after time passed and you embraced that "terrifying" new venture, all that discomfort washed away.
The phrase "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for," is truer than ever for your confidence.
I'm not saying you should take on every crazy risk out there. But by realizing that your discomfort will go away over time, you can easily dive right into the uneasiness of those smart risks.
Having a solid network of people who have walked in the same shoes can pave the pathway to your success and confidence.
She says, "There's something about seeing someone like you do it. Whether that's development, entrepreneurship, angel investing, or something else, a mentor who has been there can show you it's possible."
In fact, it's actually one of the best ways for women to boost their confidence in entrepreneurship and business, according to multiple studies. So look up mentoring groups in your area--it's well worth it, and I guarantee they'd love to have your helping hand.
Drop the bias
Did you know that humans are naturally inclined to notice the bad stuff over the good?
It's called negativity bias, and it can chisel away at your self-confidence.
The reason is simple: We're instinctually hardwired to pay more attention to something like a dangerous lion over a tasty fruit to ensure survival.
But we're not cave gals (or men) anymore. You can boost your confidence by forcing yourself to notice those everyday victories. Whether it's through keeping a journal or positive self-talk, take some time every day to do this, and see your self-worth soar.
Spread it around
Just like a bad cold on an airplane, confidence is very contagious.
So even if you're not completely sure of yourself, you should take the time to make your team feel confident.
I invest just 10 minutes every week on a Monday morning pep talk, and the returns are enormous. So take that break to shower some praise--your team will be beyond appreciative, and it will pay for itself tenfold.
My favorite moment in basketball history is when Michael Jordan shut his eyes and blindly sunk a free throw against the Denver Nuggets.
He wasn't just entertaining the crowd--MJ's key to success was his mental game, and his ability to face the possibility of failure.
He said, "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
Even though he was the greatest player of all time, Jordan encountered his fair share of missed hoops, too. He mastered the court by mastering his attitude, and realized that he had to make that self-assured leap--even if it meant a few failures along the way.
What are some ways you boost your confidence? I want to hear them!