Confident is as Confident Does

Being rejected is not fun. If you’re in an extended job search, every call you don’t get feels like a fresh rejection, and that can wear down your confidence fast.  That’s a problem, because your confidence and energy level are two of the first things your network – and recruiters – notice about you. Here are some tips on how to boost your confidence.

Kristi Hedges, contributor to Forbes online, writes: “Being relaxed and confident in front of authority elevates your own brand. People see you the way you see yourself.” She goes on to recommend that you treat the people you meet as peers. It’s easy to perceive people who are working as being more powerful than you and to feel intimidated by them. But you are more than your employment status; your skills, talent and drive have not disappeared. Hang on to that thought when meeting new people.

We all have outfits that make us feel more confident than others. You might get more compliments when you wear a blue tie, or feel slimmer when you wear that perfectly tailored skirt. Wear clothes that make you feel your best whenever possible and let go of the rest. Even your casual and workout clothes should make you feel like a ten. Make a conscious effort to look in the mirror at your best features: a great smile, blue eyes, strong hands – whatever you believe your best to be. Focus on that feature instead of your flaws as you get ready to head out the door.

Leo Baubata, who writes the Zen Habits blog, says: “Try something new, but small and safe. New things can be scary because we’re afraid we’re going to fall on our faces. But if it’s something small — learning to juggle beanbags in our living room, learning to balance on a rope that’s close to the ground, listening to a language-learning podcast, for example — it’s not as scary. There’s no real risk of getting hurt. And the more we do this, in small, non-scary steps, the more confidence we’ll gain that new things are not painful.”

Tim Ferris, of the 4-Hour Workweek, says: “The other major [sales]lesson was persistence — recognizing that failure was more than 80% of the game. Getting rejected wasn’t fun, but this early baptism by fire inoculated me against the fear of rejection.”

Studies have shown that visualizing an activity stimulates the same regions in the brain as the actual activity. It works for athletes and other performers; going through the course, game or concert in their heads is almost as effective as actual physical practice. Visualizing yourself in a successful networking meeting or interview might increase your confidence – and your actual chances of success.

If you’re having trouble visualizing yourself being successful, why not imagine someone else? Create an alter ego who is confident, successful, and in demand. It sounds silly, but it works; [Performer] Beyoncé is proof.  Ed Tate, a public speaking coach, writes: “Beyoncé was quiet and very shy but she felt at home on stage. ‘That is my alter ego and now she has a last name. I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m on stage, this alter ego that I’ve created that kind of protects me and who I really am.’ Sasha Fierce is confident, aggressive, empowered and fearless. Beyoncé created this character to overcome her shyness.”

Put on that persona when you enter a room and see how you feel. It’s a variation on the “fake it until you make it” school of thought. Think to yourself: “What would Sasha Fierce do?”

“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.”

Baltasar Gracian

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