One day, I watched as a co-worker put her boss in his place with such finesse that I thought to myself “Wow I wish I had that much confidence!”
Confidence is an acquired trait, and when you see it in someone, you understand its power. But shouldn’t we all feel confident?
Heather Monahan is all about showing confidence in the most trying situations. She has published a book called Confidence Creator. The book is filled with great insights, and lots of personal stories that are super relatable. I am fortunate to also have interviewed Heather and we were able to go deeper on some of the topics.
If you want to exude more confidence in key situations, here are 10 concepts you need to know:
Put yourself out there
To gain more confidence, sometimes you need to approach people even when you’re not comfortable with it. “Just take small steps each day,” Heather says. When she first started working as a sales person in radio, Heather made a promise to herself to contribute one idea in every meeting. “I shared my idea and the meeting went on,” she said. “That one small step allowed me to find my voice at work and in meetings.
A setback is the ideal time to test your confidence
Heather has been through divorce and being fired. “Those experiences helped me build my confidence,” she says. During those times, Heather journaled and put life experiences into perspective. Though both life events were devastating, she detailed her insecurities in her journal and honed in on a self-improvement plan. “The comeback is always better than the setback,” she notes. “Some of the greatest success stories begin with an unexpected firing.”
Fear is a motivator
If you are feeling afraid, that means everything you want is on the other side. You just need to take steps to move forward, Heather says. “When you felt afraid and backed off did you regret it? I bet the times you moved through fear you felt better about yourself. If you’re feeling scared about something, you need to run full speed into it.” Heather wants you to make a list of all the things that scare you, and commit to facing one small fear each day.
Think differently about asking for help
After Heather got fired, she told everyone. She knows that sounds odd, and not exactly a confidence booster, but it turned out to be one. She put a post on social media explaining that she had lost her job, how she was feeling and thinking and told her network if they could help, she would appreciate it. “I got over 100,000 engagements on the posts.”
Convert friends and acquaintances into supporters
Confidence comes from having people go out of their way to help you. When people offer help, accept and be specific, she said. When her network responded to her ask for help on social media, she asked each for one specific request. For example, she asked one person to write a recommendation for her on Linkedin, another to share her post with friends, and another to feature her on a radio show. She found people were willing to grant one simple ask and with the outpouring of support, her confidence soared.
Make a choice to build confidence
Heather says she has learned through experience that in every moment, she is either building confidence, or chipping away at it. “It’s a choice.” If you want to be happier, make the choice to invest in yourself and build yourself up.
Track your wins
Heather carries around a paper that lists her favorite wins – a big one was changing her behavior in relationships. By tracking even small wins, they will add up and become significant, she says.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Heather noticed at the gym, she often compared herself to others who were younger and more fit. She also noticed she had been beating herself up in her mind about all kinds of things. So, she became determined to change her behavior – that meant no putting herself down, no apologizing unnecessarily, no questioning her self-worth. “Speak about yourself in a way that you want others to speak about you,” she says.
Avoid people who pull you down
Everyone’s story has a villain, Heather said, “The more you elevate yourself and succeed, the bigger the target you become for potential villains.” She has found most villains need to be confronted head on, rather than simply ignored. “Most villains aren’t used to be confronted or called out for being wrong, so doing so puts them in an uncomfortable position,” she says. Her advice: “Stay calm, respectful and speak your mind.”
Tell yourself you are not a fraud.
Some people feel afraid of being found out that they are not perfect and don’t have all the answers. Sometimes, learning how others view you is a good way to help change your perception, Heather said. Rather than feeling like you’re not perfect, “Think of yourself as a talented person, stretching yourself to grow,” she says.
Along with her book, Heather has launched Boss In Heels, a global company and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others gain confidence. Her best advice: “Building confidence is not like flipping a switch. It’s a process that develops momentum and builds over time.”