Tag Archives: how to build confidence

Confidence in the New Year

A feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances.”- Merriam Webster Dictionary

If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Fordconfidence

Scene #1: Yesterday my daughter and I attended a hot Bikram yoga class together. As I stand at the front of my mat, preparing for the grueling 90-minutes in 95 degree heat and 65% humidity, hands folded, eyes closed, I set my intention: “Give your best effort, have fun and don’t judge yourself.” I’m calm but my sore body and the more experienced yogis on either side of me wane my confidence.

Scene #2: Zip lining in Montana, last summer with my husband and teenage children. During the long hike and once on the high platform, I’m shaking like a leaf. We’ve gone through all the preparation and we’ve been told several times how safe and fun flying on a line hundreds of feet above ground will be. Yet, I’m thinking I can’t go through with it and the fear of what’s about to happen is overcoming me. I have no confidence in my ability to complete this.

Scene #3. It’s a few minutes before the start of a two-day seminar I will lead for a new client. A senior executive is saying a few words to kick-off the session. I’m sitting next to him. As I listen to him and await his introduction of me I’ve got butterflies, but the good ones. Their fluttering around my stomach but flying in unison. I’m nervous and excited. I’m confident that since I’m prepared and I know the seminar content is valuable, once I begin speaking everything should proceed well from there.

Three different circumstances with three varying degrees of confidence. What gives us confidence? As a health and fitness trainer I see so many women who lack confidence. As a mother of a teenage daughter I observe her and her friends either beaming with it or doubting their capabilities.

We all want to be confident and to appear confident, especially in those situations that might make or break our career or might allow us to experience something outside our comfort zone. Confidence isn’t a skill that we learn, it’s a feeling that we can grow and develop. From my personal experience I’ve realized I’ve been more confident when certain best practices or circumstances are in place- as Merriam Webster defines above.

  1. Celebrate your successes. When leading communication skills workshops we often conduct role-plays. I always find it interesting that at the conclusion of these practices people will immediately start talking about everything they felt went wrong instead of what they did well. To build confidence you must tame the inner critic and start with a positive self-appraisal. For whatever New Year’s Resolution you’ve set, set out smaller goals or milestones and celebrate those minor successes along the way. If you want to lose 50 lbs. this year and you completed 3 workouts this week, congratulate yourself (not with junk food, of course) and feel good about your progress.
  2. Surround yourself with positive influences. I’ve been blessed. My mom instilled confidence in me on a daily basis. My mom was beautiful, intelligent and ambitious but she came into adulthood in the wrong era. Women in the late 50s and early sixties were not encouraged to pursue a career or use their brains. She took every opportunity to recognize my successes and encourage me to take advantage of all the opportunities that were not available to her. I credit my ability to exercise daily and eat right to the people in my support and accountability group that I’ve been leading for over 5 years. Without their positive comments, encouragement and the “no judgement” culture we’ve created together, I would have quit long ago. Find people whom you admire and work to nurture those relationships. For me those are people whom are credible, caring and confident themselves.
  3. Be prepared and don’t dwell on the outcome. We’re typically more confident in any situation we’ve prepared for. If I’m going to lead a workshop for a new client I learn about their challenges, business model and goals. Even If I’ve lead the workshop 10 times before, I still take time to practice my words and get mentally prepared. If you practice and prepare for any big venture whether it be a presentation, asking for a promotion or making the leap to change careers, it makes no sense to dwell on the potential bad outcomes outside your control.

How are you going to build your confidence this year? How can you feel good about who you are and the God given gifts you have? I’d love to hear your ideas.

#50in15 and Walking Past Mirrors

I am at the airport, gearing up for my  flight. I stop into one of those shops that sell all the items people don’t normally need or eat but suddenly feel necessary to purchase to survive travel.18aebb55b502cec5ed5f7f263504ed33

I don’t allow my eyes to settle on the candy and chocolate for too long. I go straight to the cooler to grab a one-liter bottle of Smart Water® It will force me to stay hydrated and help prevent my ankles from swelling up like balloons on this 4-hour flight. Perhaps I’ll enjoy some light reading instead of working the entire trip. I peruse the magazine section and see all the young, hot bodies on the covers of magazines like Self, Women’s Fitness and Shape. I’m tempted to purchase one of those and then I notice the magazine; More. Tea Leoni is on the cover, currently starring in the TV drama Madam Secretary.  “Wow, she looks amazing,” I think and I know she is my age. I have the quick thought that the secrets to having her skin and lean body are behind the cover, so I buy that too.

As I peruse the article about Tea Leoni, I stop on a story she tells about a comment made about her at the age of 34. She heard a director telling someone that “despite her age she was still doable.” She was not so struck by the rudeness of the comment, but her reaction to it and asked herself if she was concerned about “being doable.” At the time, she was and how can we blame her with the pressure that comes with looking a certain way to get work in her profession. However, she went on to say that was the “meanest thought she ever had about herself” and realized that chasing youth is a war one can never win.

We are women. We like to look in the mirror and see a tight rear-end, a small waist and bouncy breasts. Whether it stems from nurture or nature, women will always look in the mirror and judge what they see.

So, this blog is not only for women my age, but more important, for all you gals in your teens and twenties. Your happiness with yourself should never stem from your appearance. So much of our fulfillment is victim to the desire to stay young and desirable. I am now inches away from the half century mark and for the first time in my life I am starting to feel settled with the body that God gave me. As a Fitness Coach I know people (mostly women) will look at my pictures on my website and social media and their first thought will be about my appearance. They will make some sort of assessment, and that’s okay. It’s human nature.

My lesson to you is this: it’s important to have a passion in life, dreams and goals. It’s important to feel good about what you can do, at any age, than how you want to appear to others. Women that are attractive are those who are passionate, confident, strong, focused outward and who can laugh at themselves. For all you young girls, the person who you ultimately spend the rest of your life with and who will love and respect you, will seek these qualities.  The people who hire you and the people who follow you will seek these qualities.

I am lucky to have had a mother who taught me at a young age that I could do anything, be anything.  She encouraged me to be a leader, to work hard, and to behave in a way that earned respect. She taught me how to enhance qualities that extend beyond the mirror and ultimately I realized that it’s those qualities that make one attractive to others.

What women do you truly admire, do you truly strive to be like, that have qualities that can help you grow and be a better person? Sure, I picked up the magazine because I admired Tea Leoni’s beauty. After getting to know her by reading the article I admired her more for her turning down parts that took her away from her kids, her willingness to take risks, and her generosity.

Walk past the mirror more often and know that you are beautiful for who you are.