Some folks just seem so smooth.  Nothing ruffles their feathers; they always seem to have the right answers. People listen to them.  People like them.  And then there's you.  And millions just like you.  You were absent the day they handed out confidence, and you second-guess every decision. 

This chronic self-doubt is crippling, personally and professionally.  No matter what you say or do, you see yourself as smaller, less, and weak.  It seems there is no way out.

I'm here to tell you there is a way out. You can gain confidence.  You will get the attention, recognition, and validation you deserve.  These 5 steps are the beginning of the rest of your life.

1. Know Who You Are 

And be honest. Take stock of your strengths, all of them; you'll probably be surprised at how awesome you really are! Now list your weaknesses.  They won't seem so overwhelming against the list of your assets. Use this as a starting point to tackle those places you need work.

2. Look Your Best 

It's a fact that when you look good, your confidence goes way up. Invest in a wardrobe that makes you look, and feel, like a winner. Even a few great pieces can make difference.

3. Get Your Facts Straight

When you know what you're talking about, you exude confidence. People will listen to you.

4. Learn To Speak 

Overcome the most common fear: public speaking.  Take a course at your local community college; join Toastmasters; give monthly brown-bag sessions in your office.  The ability to stand in front of a group of people, whether it be three or three hundred, is enormously empowering.

5. Stop Second Guessing Yourself

Take the time to make well-thought-out decisions and stand by them.  People (and your kids) will expect you to waffle, hem and haw, and change your mind; because that's what you've always done.  They may even push you to capitulate to their position.  Don't do it.  Force yourself to stand firm.  It will be incredibly difficult at first.  But if you know that your decision is well founded, then your position is defensible.  Stand your ground.

These 5 tips can change your life, if you let them.  They will give you the internal confidence you so desperately need, and that will shine through.  And you will be see a difference in the way people look at you.