Confidence

YESSSSSS

That amazing thing you’ve been waiting for HAS HAPPENED.

CELEBRATE!
THROW A PARADE!
CONFETTI ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

::Time out, Saved By The Bell style::

Your thoughts immediately start racing – what if you start bragging? It’s really hard to talk about accomplishments to loved ones much less to folks at work! What happens when you have to – or you want to – tell people about this AMAZING THING THAT HAPPENED? Better just not to do it right, hide it and not worry about what others think?

Wow does that feel awful though.

We started teaching our Unhumble class a few years ago for this very reason: folks have a hard time talking about their accomplishments. We’re told often (especially as women) to be humble, don’t brag – but why? Sure, there’s an issue when another person only talks about their accomplishments all the time, and never gets excited for another person. But what happens when people are proud of what they accomplished AND they care about other people? Should they not talk about things because of how another person might feel?

This is one of the most BS things that I’ve heard people say: don’t talk too much about accomplishments because you’ll make other people feel bad.

When I started Fearless, my other business, a woman told me that a friend of hers was constantly feeling bad when she saw other people in the group talk about their accomplishments. “But I’m just a [insert her identifier here.]”

That, my friends, is her thing.

I firmly believe that people don’t talk about their accomplishments to make other people feel bad. Sure, there are some sociopaths out there – and other people that will always think the grass is greener on the other side and ask “why her, why not me?” But I think we’ve been trained to play small for several reasons – none of which matter, as long as we work to undo this.

What does it mean to be UNHUMBLE? Well, simply put, it’s the idea of being proud of your accomplishments, talking about them, and not playing small in efforts to help someone else. Think about being humble: it’s being modest, without pride.

Shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves and our hard work?

I’m not saying be arrogant, thinking you are the greatest thing since sliced bread – I am saying that it’s not as black and white as you might think with bragging or not. I truly believe the difference between unhumble and arrogant is how much you care about another person’s successes and wins. If you don’t care, and think you’re better than everyone else – you’re probably arrogant.

I remember an entrepreneur group that I was taking part in a few months ago, and a newer full-time entrepreneur commented that she couldn’t seem to find people “on her level” to talk to. I still remember when she said that – the whole room took a moment and then more than half brought it up to me afterward. I was a little shocked myself, honestly, because she had JUST started running her business full time, and before that, was working in fairly well-paying jobs while doing her work.

This isn’t to say she didn’t work hard – this is to say that if you read our last blog on status, she was in the wrong end of high status, and shows the line between unhumble and arrogant. I believe that if she acknowledged some amazing entrepreneurs that existed (and were in the room!) maybe she wouldn’t have come across in such a way that damaged relationships. Assertive communication is great: elevating yourself over others unnecessarily looks like you’re overcompensating.

So what happens when you find that line between being unhumble and being arrogant? You might end up altering a few relationships – some people are not huge fans of people that take pride in their work.

Repeat after me: people will always like you. People will always dislike you. Sometimes, you’re going to be liked or disliked no matter what you do – so why not be enough for yourself?

If you’re proud of something, and you’re also proud of other people for their wins – you’ll start tapping into other people who are like you. There will be people that are not a fan of this newfound pride: find folks that are, and keep celebrating your – and their – wins.

When My Confidence Broke

A few years ago, my confidence broke.

I didn’t see it coming. It also didn’t happen quickly, like a breaking bone.

Rewind my life a few years, and you’ll find me hiding at home, avoiding interactions. Things like meetings and calls were way too much to handle. I had to stay home “for the dog!” “to save money!” “because I had a headache!” – and none of these things were true or necessary.

This wasn’t “just” a confidence thing – I had massive PMDD induced depression and I stayed home. When I got better – ie therapy, meds and caring for myself – I still wanted to hide.

My confidence was broken.

I didn’t know who I was anymore. Social situations were scary because I had no idea how to navigate them anymore – before my depression, I would have a few drinks and be fine. Alcohol was a social lubricant for me, as it is for many people. When I started getting better, I didn’t want to go back to drinking, so I didn’t.

Only now I had to navigate being a social and public person, minus the alcohol, plus massive self-awareness after therapy. Did I mention I had no confidence left?

You’re probably wondering why I am teaching folks to be the best version of themselves and to speak confidently.

Well, I got my confidence back. It wasn’t a day, or a week or month or even a year. I am 100% still working on it. It started coming back when I started to hold myself accountable to other people. I couldn’t keep promises to myself, so I just started showing up for the other people who needed me. Maybe they didn’t need me as much as I thought they did, but let me tell you – thinking that I needed to show up for others because they needed it? That worked.

When I showed up for others, I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this. Showing up for someone else all the time and leaving my needs for whatever time was left? Woof. It was almost ironic, the thing that got me out quickly became the thing that was making me feel stuck all over again.

So I started showing up for myself. I learned how to set boundaries, and weirdly enough, it made me feel more confident. For the first time in my people-pleasing life, I was telling people no, standing up for myself and cutting ties with toxic individuals.

I was finally doing what I spent so much time teaching.

And while I’m not “fixed” or back to being the most confident person in a room – if I ever was – I can safely say that I’m not hiding. And here’s the thing: if I can come back from where I was and rebuild, you can build your confidence too. Promise.

Ever watch someone talk and you just trust them immediately? A little of that is a fancy hat trick called charisma, and a lot of that is all about the perceived idea of confidence. But why does confidence matter so much? Shouldn’t our work speak for itself? I wish! And I bet sometimes you do too. What’s not fun – when we see people get far based on their confidence alone.

That’s not you though – you’re talented and your work is amazing. But you might be lacking that confidence part of things and thinking WHY does this matter?

There are a few reasons that confidence matters – here are our favorites:

  • We Trust Confidence

    We are often persuaded by trust. If you’re seen as trustworthy, chances are you’re telling the truth, being sincere and generally reliable. Trust is powerful! When folks are showing confidence, they are probably being real – and while some folks may not like the “realness” (you know what I’m talking about!) folks will like to be around someone that isn’t lying, being fake and constantly letting folks down.

    Confidence builds trust!

  • We Feel Connected to Confident People

    Research shows that our minds wander about 50% of the time. Yikes.

    Think about the last person you talked to that you’d describe as confident – I am willing to bet all the nachos that that person paid attention to you – or whatever was happening – and did so without missing a beat.

    Confident folks might be drifting all over the place – they don’t show it. When we see that connection that isn’t nervously scattered all over the place, we see them as someone that cares and someone that we can trust.

    Confidence builds connections!

  • Confident People Listen and Help

    Connecting to the last point, confident people listen to others. They also help people out – generally, they aren’t worried if someone else “looks better” – they don’t have that whole “pie of success is finite” thing. And they are respectful of boundaries and the associated “no” that might come along if they are helping out!

    Confident people listen and help out.

These three things are reason enough to work on building your confidence – and simple to start! Be trustworthy, connect and listen. While I’m a big proponent of doing your own thing, these three are simple enough to work on, and will lead to finding yours!

Amid new year resolution land, new you, are you finding yourself attacked by your inner critic? Here are a few common situations – and the start of solutions. Remember, you can’t fix your self-doubt voice in a day – so give yourself time and grace to improve!

You ignore your successes and focus on your failures…
But it’s so easy to fixate on failures! Never mind everything else, look where I screwed up.

This one hits personally.

I can remember being so down that a book proposal I submitted to agents was getting turned down, agent after agent. This was after my book came out to great reviews, and people were (and still are!) getting excited. And all I could think about was my proposal being turned down. Didn’t matter that I had a book out, I was headed to SXSWedu in the spring – all my self-worth was tied up into that proposal, and I clearly couldn’t do anything right.

Except for all the other cool stuff I have going on including my fricken book.

…so try celebrating mini successes…or any success.
Spend as much time with the wins as with the losses. Seriously – if you spend days on your “loss” (or like me, a week being terrible to myself) then you should be able to spend that much time with a win.

Sound hard? Yeah, because the negative can be oh-so-easy to focus on. Flip the script.


You’re focused on being perfect…
Perfectionism is one of the biggest causes of imposter syndrome. You think you have to be perfect, get it 100% right and be amazing all the time, right?

See even writing it out and I bet you reading it sounds weird. Would you ask your friend to be that “perfect” and never make a mistake? What about your partner or family? Probably not. Give yourself some grace and remember that you’re human.

…so try failing on purpose.
This is probably giving you anxiety just thinking about it. Hear me out: try a new hobby. Recently, I tried to make macarons – you know those almond French cookies that are bright and beautiful and expensive? Found a recipe, grabbed the ingredients – I cook all the time! This will be fine!

They. Were. Terrible.

Stuck to the pan undercooked terrible.

And you know what? It felt great to be “huh, ok I’m not good at this right now (and maybe never!) For now, I’m going to spend money on someone else making macarons.


You feel like taking help is a failure…
I can do it myself! I don’t need anyone’s help!

There’s so much therapy tied in there.

If you’re feeling that you can only do things yourself otherwise it’s a failure of your character or hard work, take a breath and know that you’re not alone. While all of these are very specific kinds of imposter syndrome, this one is a big one: the individual. You feel as though you have to be able to do it yourself, not lean on others, and that’s the only way you’re not a fraud.

…so try asking for help.
Do it. Ask for someone to do something for you. Even if it’s a small task that you know you could do with more hours in the day. Take a breath and ask someone to do it and look! Your world won’t end, you’re not a failure because you asked for some support. This doesn’t even have to be a thing you need – it can be a simple ask to start getting you in the habit of not doing everything yourself.


You’ve surrounded yourself with jerks…
This is a hard one – sometimes our self-talk isn’t OUR self-talk – it’s a reflection of what other people say to us. It comes out in our darkest moments – and sometimes just too often in general.

If you’re not sure if it’s someone else, take a moment to listen, really listen, to the people around you. Are they making you feel bad? Are they saying things that you’ve ALSO been saying, and when you dig in, the negative self-talk comes from them?

…so try giving them a time out.
Be busy. Block their texts. Stop talking to them. Being around people like that does nothing…and if you understood how much they projected their insecurities on you, you wouldn’t take them seriously.

Be well, friends.

 

Sometimes, we don’t feel confident but we have to look confident. I’ve been there – headed into a meeting and I have to psych myself up before I get there. My husband calls those moments the “yips” – you get in your head and psych yourself out and you need to project confidence. Maybe you can find it within – or maybe you need to tap into these four steps to look confident:

  1. Confident Stance

    Ready? Stand up with your feet under your knees, under your hips, under your shoulders, with your feet about five to six inches apart. Make sure you’ve for your weight on both legs, not over to one side of the other. Keep your shoulders back (not rolled forward) and turn towards other people, letting your chest and heart facing them when you’re talking to them.

    Be sure your head is upright – you want to imagine a balloon attached to the top of your head, holding you up straight.

  2. Make Eye Contact

    Eye contact makes you look honest and confident –it builds trust. If you don’t make eye contact or look at someone in the eyebrows (even if their eyebrows are on point!) you’re going to appear insecure and nervous, or aloof and as if you’re lying or hiding something.

    Make eye contact when possible, and when you look away, look up or out versus down. Think about why we look down – we’re embarrassed or feel shame.

  3. Speak Slowly

    Rushed mindless chatter filled with ums and ahs is a hallmark of being nervous. Slow it down! Not robotic slow or so slow that everyone falls asleep. Make sure your words have purpose and meaning. A nice way to think about this one: your words are currency and you should spend money wisely.

    By paying attention to how you’re saying what you’re saying, you’re going to automatically slow it down. By slowing down, you not only look confident, but you also show care for your words!

  4. Silence

    Repeat after me: silence is confident! The problem happens when silences are forced on you. When you take a silence: a moment to let the audience think and reflect, a pause, or a break in your cadence – you’re taking a moment to acknowledge the audience and connect with them.

    Scared about taking a silence? Think about the alternative: mindless chatter because you’re nervous. Take the silence.

 

Why is My Inner Critic So Loud?New Year, New You, am I right?! The gyms are packed, our classes are jammed, and it will be like this until mid-March when folks start to get tired of their resolutions and start going back to their old habits.

That won’t be you this year, right?

It’s ok if it is. Resolutions are trash, intentions are amazing – but we’ll talk about that later.

I do want to make a pact with you right now – we’re in 2020 and making this happen. Let’s make 2020 the year we both work on our confidence, ok? I don’t know about you, but I’ve wasted way too much time doubting my abilities and myself. That nagging voice needs to go, and this is the year I’m going to be louder than that critic. I’m not going to kid myself and say “Hey! I’m going to get rid of the little voice that tells me that I can’t” but I am going to build up my positive self-talk so that voice stands out.

That’s just one of the ways YOU can up your confidence. Here are eight more that can get you and me on the same page for our 2020 agreement:

  1. Ask your inner critic questions

    – ask why you feel like you’re not good enough, and then ask for proof. Factual evidence that you’re a fraud. I’m willing to bet all the nachos there is little evidence.

  2. Breathe and unclench your butt

    – if you’re carrying tension, people you talk to are going to feel tense. This is a favorite of ours: clench your butt and say hello, now unclench your butt and say hello. Hear the difference?

  3. Yes And yourself and your accomplishments

    – Yes And is the magic improv phrase that helps the world get along. Kidding, but not? Think of a recent accomplishment – you responded to that stressful email. Now throw some Yes And magic at it: Yes And it took a lot of energy. Yes And it went better than expected. Yes And now it’s done.

  4. Make a confident body happen

    your posture matters. If you’re all scrunched up, you’re going to feel all scrunched up inside. Connect your feet with the floor, stand with your shoulders open versus tightly forward. If you’re sitting or standing, unclench that butt.

  5. Celebrate all the wins

    – answered two emails? WOO! Cleaned up some clutter? YES! Organized some receipts? YOU WIN. Don’t ignore the positive, even if it feels small. You nitpick the little bad things, why not the little good things?

  6. Fail Freely

    – if you make a mistake, embrace it. Remember, failure is better than regret. Always.

  7. What’s your theme song?

    We play a game called Hot Spot with folks that can handle it – one person starts in the center and starts singing a song. Everyone joins in, and when someone else is ready, they tap the middle person, take their place and start a new song. The focus is often to be confident on the spot and support the people around you. The focus for you? Find that song that makes you feel invincible and belt it as loud as you can.

  8. Remember you aren’t pizza

    – not everyone is going to like you. Heck, there are people out there that don’t like pizza! Pizza isn’t mad. Pizza is PIZZA.

If you need help, hit me up. If I need help, I’ll let you know through this blog, social media or carrier pigeon! Promise.

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