This is a topic that many of us think about but being British is not always discussed. It’s something we all recognize that we need, but often wonder how to change something seemingly unchangeable.
Often we get labelled as shy or lacking confidence or self-belief early in life and we become conditioned to believe this is how it must be. Or life knocks us repeatedly and it’s something we lose. Either way, things can change.
It’s a topic I’ve always found fascinating, both personally and professionally. Because confidence is so important yet also quite intangible and difficult to assess…..
When you meet someone socially or professionally you make a pretty quick decision about whether they believe in themselves, whether they are confident or whether they are “putting it on” don’t you?
What signals do we read in others that tells us about their levels of confidence (and maybe competence) and how can we look for them in ourselves?
Do you know someone who talks a good story but you never quite believe what comes out of their mouth? What is it that makes you doubt them?
My personal belief is it’s all wrapped up in how they carry themselves. Their posture or posturing. Their personal tone or vibration tells you a lot about someone, and some of us are better than others at reading it.
Posture is something we assess on a regular basis in our office. Whilst useful to analyse photos with a scientific approach (you’ll see the numbers and angles that we measure), it’s also important to look at them using our emotional brain to get a sense of what is going on inside that person……
Take the following examples :
If you look at the view from the side – what’s your impression of this person?
Do they look motivated? Do they have get-up and go? Do they have self-belief and confidence?
Look at the same individual 8 weeks later.
What do you see now? Do they look the same? Are they experiencing their body in the same way?
Now we see a more upright open posture. Not perfect granted, but there is a sense of more energy, more get up and go, more life in the second picture.
So I know from personal experience, it’s very hard to evaluate your own posture. One thing you can do is get a friend to take a picture of you from the side with you standing in a relaxed position looking straight ahead (those are the instructions we give people when taking their photo). Then you can see how you look and it gives you a starting point.
Another thing to consider is your experience of your body. Firstly, are you aware of your body beyond painful symptoms or daily feedback like hunger or thirst? Is it something you’ve thought about before?
Another was to look at confidence is to ask yourself, how do I feel internally when I’m being confident? Remember a situation when you felt confident. What was your experience of your body? How did you stand? How did you walk? Did you feel energized, if so where was the energy in your body? How did the energy move in your body? How were your breathing? We you relaxed? Were you excited? Can you get yourself into a posture that makes you feel that way again?
And if confidence has been a long term challenge for you, imagine or dream how it would be, and then go through the questions. You may have to start small and thing of a very safe situation that you know you feel confident it.
So next time you hear yourself saying “but I’m not a confident person”, remember that you have a choice in this and it can change…….when you are ready to.
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