Tag Archives: confidence

Confidence Booster Exercise

Some experts say a great way to boost your confidence is to keep a confidence diary for a month.

It is a smart tool to remind yourself just how good you really are and what you have to be thankful for, and pleased about in your life right now.  By writing (or typing) answers to key questions you are forced to be honest with yourself and to look at the positive aspects and people in your life, even when you are feeling a bit down.

Once a week for the next month you can jot down your answers in a notepad or type them in a Word doc to the following confidence questions.

Take just 10 minutes per week, sit down and record your thoughts to:

1. What have I got to be grateful for in my life right now?

2. What am I happy about in my life right now?

3. Why am I happy about these things?

4. What did I accomplish last week?

5. What am I excited about in my life right now?

6. Who do I love and appreciate in my life? Who do I like hanging around? Why?

7. Who loves and appreciates me for what I am?

Answer these questions at the start of each week and it will set you up for success.

If you need a booster midweek, then by all means answer them again whenever you want to feel centred and remind yourself of what you have got going in your life right now.  Writing makes it real.  🙂

Learning to Fight so You Don’t Have to Fight

As a lifelong martial artist, and current BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) roller, I can relate to this meme.  Many people will agree that martial arts training, regardless of the art, will increase one’s confidence.  Having said that – please be aware that it is very possible to be fed incorrect information and be trained in fighting theory and technique that actually does not work, which is very bad if something serious should ever happen.  However the individual still gains confidence from the training.  It is confidence built with a house of cards, but to the individual, from their perspective (before the illusion is shattered) they feel secure and confident.  My quick advice is if you are interested in training in a martial art, or enrolling a child in some classes, do plenty of research on the art, the school, the teacher, etc. to make sure your personal goals are aligned.  Now go train!  🙂

7 Secrets to Confidence

Are there some hidden secrets to confidence that only the confident, charismatic leaders know and refuse to share with the rest of us?  I doubt it.  If you study the world of confidence, as I do, then I believe you will arrive at similar conclusions as I note below.  Here are a few not-well-kept ‘secrets’ about developing and displaying confidence.  I have chosen to start with these random 7 secrets:

1 – Be calm.  If you want people to listen to you, and follow you, you must show them the way to calmness and security by leading the way yourself.  A confident person has no need to yell, order and argue to convince folks.

2 – Be direct.  Say what you got to say.  Don’t beat around the bush.  You can still say it calmly, and even with friendliness in your voice.  Just make sure there is no confusion.  Be short, sweet and clear.

3 – Have loads of eye contact.  Look them in the eye when you are actively listening to them.  Show respect to gain respect.  Also look them in the eye when attempting to convince them of your opinion or your judgement.  Looking away is not a good way to instill trust. Make a connection by making eye contact – a lot.  Experts say between 70 – 90% in North America.

4 – Your body language should be open and friendly, yet also solid.  We do not want to display threatening, closed or unsure gestures.  We want our body language to be open and engaging so we make sure we have no arms, legs, ankles crossed.  We use gentle but controlled flowing hands, emanating from the ‘truth plane’  – our gut.  We gain a solid vibe by using symmetrical gestures, and having balance in our stance or seated position.  We do not lean awkwardly to one side.  We plant or root our feet to the floor.  A solid base is very important.  Think of yourself like a palm tree – the base is solid but the top flows with the wind and is flexible, so it does not break in a storm.  Be like the palm tree.

5 – Speak with a medium volume voice.  Medium is the rule.  Use medium volume, medium speed, and walk at a medium speed as well.  Match your voice to your pace if walking and talking. Speaking too slowly makes you sound unsure and even boring.  Speaking too fast makes you sound like you are rushing and are not careful or thoughtful.

6 – Be assertive, not aggressive.  Protect yourself and your loved ones, or your team at work.  Stand up for your rights and theirs, but do it in a way that does not undermine your own credibility.  Being assertive means protecting yourself and self-interests.  Being aggressive means bullying to get what you want, regardless of whose best interests it serves.  An aggressive person is always trying to change your mind or force you to do something.  An assertive person is protective and persuasive, yet does not try to force you to agree or change your mind in one sitting. The agendas are different.  The focus of aggressiveness is on the other person, the ‘opponent.’  The focus of assertiveness in on yourself, and your circle.

7 – Trust yourself.  Confidence starts with self-trust.  You must trust your decisions, and your motives behind your actions.  Competence builds confidence, so the more you try, the more you learn, and we all learn mostly through trial and error.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.  Make a decision and go forward.  If you need to revisit it or re-evaluate it later (perhaps based on new data) that’s fine.  A confident person is not blind in their decision-making.  They make the best decision they can, at the time.  They are open-minded enough to consider changes, and if necessary, change course and even apologize.  There is no shame in being wrong.  We all learn from our mistakes.  Part of trusting yourself is also forgiving yourself for being human, and occasionally making mistakes!  🙂

There are more elements to being confident, but for today, these ‘7 secrets’ should get your started in your assessment of yourself and of those around you in leadership positions.

The Body Language of a Warrior

The Body Language of a Warrior

MusashiI’m currently re-reading an old book I have, called The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings: The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Classic Book of Strategy, by Stephen F. Kaufman. This was prompted by my recent viewing of The Samurai Trilogy, the 3 movies created a long time ago to tell the life story of Musashi (1584-1645), who was a real samurai or ronin in the olden days of Japan, and wrote his Book of Five Rings to express his feelings, attitudes and strategies of dueling and of being a warrior.
I came across an excerpt that deals with the body language of a warrior, and I thought to myself: “Wow –this is very specific information on how to set yourself up correctly before a duel!” and as I re-read it, it occurred to me that as a coach, I give very specific instructions on body language, stance, breathing etc. when I am helping clients give a better presentation, or make a winning first impression, for example.  The devil is in the details, perhaps, and so the details must be perfected.

Please enjoy this ‘clip’, and then ask yourself if you were going into a big meeting, interview, giving a talk or PowerPoint, what would your body language convey?  Do you think about it beforehand or just ‘go with the flow?’  I think you know that my advice would be to actually ‘plan’ your vibe that you are sending, just like Musashi did, many years ago.  Here it is, found on page 27:

“I always stress form and balance.  If you are lax in your stances and positioning, then you will be unable to perform your technique effectively.  Focus your concentration on only one thing – making the “hit.”  Narrow your eyes slightly and ever so subtly flare your nostrils.  Always fight with your spine erect and unbent.  Keep your shoulders relaxed and lowered.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and root yourself into the ground.  Make yourself bigger in your mind than you are as a manner of intimidating the enemy.  Slowly work your way toward the enemy until you are ready to strike.  Then do so with utmost conviction, quickness, and power.  Keep your weapons ready at all times.  You should practice the proper stances and movements prior to using any fighting technique and in this manner establish your own sense of being through your particular art.  How often have you witnessed so-called experts with no form or balance?”

How Do You Speak to Yourself?

I know it is a rather odd question, but it is an important one. People like myself who study NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) understand that repeated words and phrases, no matter how innocent or simple they may be, may be interpreted by the brain as a command.

Yes, be careful what you say to yourself. Our self-talk conditions us subconsciously just like water torture. (No, I don’t mean water-boarding!) Water torture is when you let a drop of cold water hit a person’s forehead. After a few of these you may be thinking this is ineffective torture – it’s just water drops. But after a hundred, a thousand or more, it is like a spike being hammered into your skull! So is the result of a negative or self-defeating comment said to you by someone else or by yourself (self-talk) on a regular basis. For example, if you say these things: “I’m getting fat. Do you think I’m getting fat? I’m too fat.” Or if you hear “you look fat” etc. then what do you think will be the result? Your conscious brain will program yourself to believe you are heavier than you actually are and that everyone must think the same. Can you see how dangerous this is? We all fluctuate in actual weight and appearance of weight daily, depending on meals, water, mirrors, scales and choice of wardrobe. You are no different!

Prevent this negative programming. Stop yourself when the negative self talk comes about.  For help with this, check out other blog entries here (especially under the ‘confidence’ category) or take a look at my popular ebook (based on a popular coaching program!) called “Communicating Confidence Inside & Out – how to build confidence, be assertive and succeed!”

What is ‘ConfidenceWorld’?

A very famous Life Coach & Business Coach out of the U.K. named Sean McPheat, who was a very big influence on my coaching career when I first started out, has a new website simply called “ConfidenceWorld”. Here you can sign up (no charge) and gain access to 30 articles, newsletters, a 120-page ebook, reports, a 7-part e-course, 4 audio downloads and great tips on building and maintaining confidence in your personal and professional life. There is a lot that he gives away for fr*ee, and at the same time, like any successful entrepreneur, he also lets you know that he has a Gold Membership, if you are interested, for a small one-time payment of 39 bucks only. The Gold membership has a lot to offer for sure, but like any smart shopper you probably want to get the f*ree stuff first and take advantage of the wealth of inspiring and confidence-building information. I did!  You can see that he is straight forward, clear and motivating – three good reasons why I have benefited immensely from his help over the years in developing my coaching style and practice, not to mention my ebooks. Thanks Sean!

Okay, right now, ask yourself how confident you are on a scale of 1-10, and if the answer is lower than an 8.5, you can benefit from this world of confidence that Sean provides. Check it out and enjoy his excellent articles, ecourse and so much more.  Just CLICK HERE.

If you need me for confidence and/or communication skills building, you know i offer coaching and training right?  just let me know!

So, what are the qualities of a good speaker?

Here are a list of the qualities and characteristics of a good public speaker/presenter.

Make sure you include these points when you have to speak in public.

1. They talk to us as though we are having a conversation
2. They speak our language
3. They look as though they are enjoying themselves.
4. They inspire us to find out more about the subject
5. They tell stories/use the human-interest angle
6. Someone who conjures up pictures in our mind
7. They don’t talk for hours
8. They let us know where we are going
9. They look at us – not their notes
10. They stress important points and pause to allow ideas to sink in
11. The talk appears well prepared but has an air of spontaneity

By Sean McPheat – included in his ‘ConfidenceWorld’ program.

When NOT to fight

A couple of weeks ago I was out with a friend for a couple of beers, and on the way home decided to go to the local liquor store and pick up some supplies. It wasn’t that late, but as I came out of the store I was confronted by a person; a beggar, panhandler, bum, scam-man, etc. whatever you want to call him. (Forgive me if I sound unsympathetic – actually I donate annually to help the homeless. But what I don’t do is give money to a person directly who perhaps wants to buy drugs or alcohol with my hard-earned money instead of much-needed food.  I can’t take the chance.)

Anyway he was polite and I was polite and I told him I have no spare change (what is ‘spare change’ in today’s world, really? Is there such a thing?) He followed me up to the corner and began cat-calling a couple young ladies and getting in their face. I tried to ignore him but unfortunately it was not possible. A few seconds later, while we were waiting for the light to change, he was bothering the girls and so I said something to distract his attention. He turns on me and rambles incoherently something about ’14 years’ and ‘kung fu’ and then proceeds to ‘kick’ me in the tummy! It barely made contact with my thick winter jacket, and it was slow and clumsy, due to his impairment. I had a bag over my shoulder and a heavy bag of new booze in my right hand and so I simply told him (in a stern way but with a smile) “Don’t kick me! Or else I’ll kick you back and you won’t like that!”

My smile let him know that I was non-aggressive but my tone and eye-contact let him know that I was not a push-over or a punching bag. At first he was a bit stunned, but then backed off. The light changed and I headed towards the subway. He followed and apparently not finished yet he called at me saying “I’m right behind you ya know!” so I stopped, took my left hand out of my jacket (I’m left-handed) and stepped up to him with a smile and said “yes I know…” and we talked. Once again it was incoherent (I suspect drugs) but still I let him know that I was not his enemy and that I was just walking towards the subway, and that we were ‘just talking’ with no malice. He seemed to accept that and we shook hands (funny how a few minutes ago he sort of kicked me!) and walked to the station. He went off to harass others and I went home with a smile on my face.

Summary: I was not angry, upset nor had any type of adrenaline rush. I was happy that no violence had occurred, even though some might say I had a right to ‘defend myself’ or put him in his place. I certainly had witnesses to the fact that he struck first. But I didn’t. Why?

I have studied martial arts for 20 years, including stuff like kung fu, muay thai boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu etc. and I know I can handle myself. I have no desire to hurt anyone. I have confidence to talk to people, even if they are aggressive or assaulting, and I do not have a knee-jerk reaction to strike back. For that I am thankful. I know I can handle myself if I have to, even though I’m not in shape like I used to be, but I also know that good posture, a stern but pleasant voice and solid eye contact can diffuse most conflicts before they get out of hand, or even get started. Also, we have to have a sense of humour in life, right? If not that then at least a sense of empathy or sympathy.

What can you take away from my story? To practice not over-reacting, and to work on your ‘stern voice but smiling face’ presentation when faced with aggression. There are really very few true times when you absolutely NEED to fight, verbally or physically.

Thank you for reading my story.

How Do We Build Confidence?

This is no simple question.

Our confidence is greatly affected by our memories, values, previous decisions and environment. I always tell people that competence is the flip-side of confidence. When you get good at (doing) something, your confidence rises. And likewise when you get more confident at something, you perform better, which raises your competence at that task. So it is like the old riddle – “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” The answer is it doesn’t matter, as long as you have both a chicken and an egg, as they are interlinked and there could not be one without the other.  So it is with confidence and competence.

Lesson for today: build your competence in your targeted task, job or hobby in small steps to gain more self-trust and positive feedback from others, so that your confidence rises up a few notches. That will in turn show on your face and in your voice and body language, starting off a very positive ripple-effect. After a while of small successes you can look back at your journey and see the great accomplishments, and feel the stronger confidence gained from your personal goal-achievements.

Now go climb a small mountain! (figuratively, of course!)