Psst. Don’t tell my husband, but sometimes I fake it. Honestly, after over a dozen years of marriage, I think he knows and is just too kind to mention it. Truth be known, I think it is one of the qualities that attracted him to me. We’ve been together long enough that he knows that even when I’m nervous down to my bones, I’m never going to let it show. I’m going to slap a smile on my face, stand a little taller and pull up my shield of (sometimes artificial) self-confidence and never, ever let them see me sweat.
Being the youngest of four in five years, I grew up in a “do or die” sort of world. If I wanted to hang with the big kids, I needed to hurry up and be one. No one babied me. I was taught at a very young age that games had rules and no one wanted to play with a crybaby. I learned quickly that if I acted like I knew what I was doing, paid close attention and modeled my behavior after the “big kids,” acceptance would soon follow. It was good training for life: keep your eyes open, your mouth shut, stretch yourself beyond your capabilities and act like you belong.
I continue to use those guidelines today.
Success in life isn’t all book smarts and pedigree. It is as much about the image you project and the air of confidence you instill in others that can get you ahead. It is about believing in yourself and giving others the impression that they should believe in you, too. And yes, sometimes, you have to fake it a little because even if you aren’t 100% sure you have the ability to do “it” today, you know you have the ability to get there and that’s all that matters. So, get out there and sell yourself. Project that image that says, “bet on me!” Here are some must-do’s that are absolutely critical to your success:
1. Be Positive. Make sure your speech, your reputation and your style are always in the positive. Smile. Use positive words. Make eye contact and use the names of the people you meet when you meet them. Be memorable and distinct when you are introduced to others. Make sure they get your name, too! You always want people to get a positive impression of you and remember you!
2. Stand Tall! No one can project confidence by hunkering down and hiding from others. Whether you are 4’11” or 6’6″, be proud of your height and act like a marionette on strings; tall and lean. Even when you are on the phone talking to someone you are trying to impress, if you stand up to make your best points, you will find that your confidence will come rifling through.
3. Dress the Part. Image is a critical part of the confidence we project and how we present and package ourselves can be as important as what we have to offer. Take care to ensure you are portraying the best possible image possible. Dress for the life and job you want, not the one you have.
4. Master the Art of Conversation. An expert conversationalist is a great skill and one that will serve you well. Be comfortable making small talk with others. Be comfortable talking about yourself and about current events. Be interesting and be interested in others. Master the ability to speak with confidence with anyone — anywhere — and you will reap a lifetime of benefits!
And most importantly:
5. Believe in Yourself! You have to be the one who can cheer you on when no one else can. You have to be able to give yourself pep talks and words of encouragement to get through the rough and discouraging moments. You have to believe in you. If you don’t, how can anyone else?
“If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world we find
Success being with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are:
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.”
― Walter D. Wintle
Confidence is such a powerful, life-changing force. When you believe in yourself and the power to change your life, anything — and I mean ANYTHING — is possible. And yes, sometimes it is hard to must and we all have horrible moments of self-doubt. When those waves of ‘I don’t think I can do this’ hit you, just follow my lead: do your homework, put on your best outfit, sparkle your best smile, stand a little taller and just FAKE IT!
- 10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2013 (forbes.com)
- The Fine Line Between Self-Confidence & Cockiness (psychcentral.com)
- 10 ways to build self confidence (headedsomewhere.com)
- “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.” [Dusanka Narancic] (ecademy.com)