I'm doing it again.
In a few weeks, I will be heading off to Texas for the SxSW convention with the goal of exploring new ideas and meeting new people. It's always an exciting prospect to think I will uncover brand new mobile apps or meet someone who will create the next Facebook.
As I'm planning my schedule, it's a good reminder to me to develop a core belief of confidence. I'm heading to an unknown location to an unknown event, and I can't wait. For years, I have believed a few things about myself and about my abilities. These beliefs are self-perpetuating. And, they are still in process. How about you? Do these core beliefs about your confidence resonate with you as well?
1. "When I stand up tall, people notice me..."
This one is based on science. The act of showing good posture, standing up tall, and even having a little swagger triggers a chemical reaction in your body. You feel more confident. Those who practice this technique know they have more confidence and that people will pay more attention to you and listen to what you say. Slouch over with your head low in a posture of shame and people will assume you are not worth their time.
2. "When I make eye contact it shows I care..."
People with a high confidence level always make good eye contact because they believe it is an important sign of respect. It means you care what someone is about to say and want to listen intently. More importantly, it shows that people you are also worth their time--your ability to focus and understand comes from a sense of confidence in your own abilities. You will use the conversation in a way that's worthwhile.
3. "I'm not just intelligent, I'm perceptive..."
Intelligence is sometimes overrated. It is often a sign that someone spent a few years in higher education and passed a few tests, or tends to win at chess and can figure out how to use a slide rule. In business, it's pretty much a given that you are intelligent. Perception? That's not as common. Confident people tend to view themselves as both intelligent and perceptive. They not only understand complex subjects, they can offer new insight and an action plan. They combine a high IQ with a high emotional intelligence.
4. "It's likely I already know a fair amount about this topic..."
A sure sign of inhibition is when you question your ability to track a conversation and understand the details. You go into meetings assuming everyone else will know more than you do. The opposite of this? A strong belief that you have a well-rounded viewpoint. When you go to a meeting, you have the confidence to believe you can add something intelligent and worthwhile. You've been exposed to enough situations and enough knowledge that you can almost always add value.
5. "I definitely have something to offer in every situation..."
Tied to this idea of comprehension is the believe that you will be able to add to the conversation. You might not be able to discuss brain surgery, but you have read up on at least some research and know a few of the latest findings. Or at least you know you can. People with a low self-esteem tend to assume they won't have even basic knowledge of complex subject matters. Those with high self-esteem believe they are already on the road to understanding. In fact, they live on that thoroughfare.
6. "When I make a mistake, it will be a learning opportunity..."
You can always spot someone with low confidence. Every single event in life is a whole new reason to get stressed and anxious, to assume your mistakes and your lack of talent is going to be the one thing that causes everything to crumble. They walk with a mental limp. Highly confident people don't make those assumptions. They believe mistakes will happen but almost savor the opportunity to overcome mistakes. They view them with a hint of wonder, not a cause for stress but a whole new way to excel.
7. "New situations make me think of new ideas..."
It's an interesting phenomena of entrepreneurship that new situations often prompt a small subset of society (you know, the Mark Zuckerberg types) to invent new things. New experiences breed new ideas. Instead of being overwhelmed or confused, new situations actually play right into the entrepreneurial mindset. Those who start companies are confident in their ability to think differently. It's basic science. Travel to a foreign country or having a new experience triggers something in the brain. Confident people already know that implicitly and welcome the chance to explore new ideas.
8. "Setbacks are motivators..."
Confident people see failure and roadblocks as motivators. It's not a signpost on the way to failure, it's a signpost on the way to success. That's because the underlying belief is that there will be success waiting at the end of the road. It's not that someone with a high confidence level overlooks failure or ignores setbacks. Instead, they tend to pay even more attention because that's the one thing they need to overcome in order to reach even loftier goals. It's a bit of a challenge to those with confidence.