I remember my first big speech. It was grade 6. I was so prepared; I’d spent days memorizing the entire speech. I was sitting at my desk, tapping underneath the desk drawer, eagerly awaiting my turn. I was going to give the best speech anyone had ever seen.
Look out Martin Luther King, Jr.
My teacher called my name. I strutted up to the front of the room and handed my speech over. I didn’t need it. I knew it off by heart.
I stood in front of the room, no notes, no palm cards, just me.
I opened my mouth.
And nothing came out.
I forgot everything. I became a nervous wreck.
What seemed like hours dragged by to the soundtrack of crickets.
Standing in front of the class, palms sweaty, knee’s weak – mom’s spaghetti – staring at everyone staring at me, I learnt a lot.
I wasn’t confident. I was cocky.
– Oxford Dictionary
Confidence is a scale. Too little, and you’ll find it hard to seize great opportunities, but too much and you can find yourself in situations like grade 6 me.
So how do you build just the right amount of confidence, the right way?
Ever looked around your gym and noticed how easily PTs strike up a conversation with anyone? I bet if you followed them around all day, they would do the same no matter where they are. It’s a skill that they’ve built because they put themselves out there a lot. To build their business, PTs have to cold call and approach people from the get-go. Too little confidence, and they can’t build their business. Too much, and they’ll come off cocky and people won’t want to train with them, or they’ll just be too intimidating.
Confidence helps with every situation, and no one knows this like a PT. So we’re sharing two confidence-building tips from a PT.
Feel comfortable acknowledging and being proud of your accomplishments. Don’t punish yourself when you make a mistake, learn from it and just move forwards.
Being humble is a great quality. Just make sure you’re not putting yourself down to appear humble. Celebrating your achievements doesn’t make you arrogant or conceited, or any other word. It builds your self-respect, which boosts your confidence.
Being honest with yourself about your abilities (good and bad) means that other people’s opinions won’t bother you. So anxiety won’t get in the way when you put yourself out there.
Every day, write down 3 things that you’re proud of, and 3 things you want to improve on. Remember to be honest with yourself and don’t beat yourself up for the things you’re not quite there yet with.
Put yourself in uncomfortable situations often.
We try to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable, like turning down an opportunity to pitch an idea just because it means talking in front of a bunch of people. Can you think of a time you were anxious because you had to present an idea, speak up at a meeting, or go to a networking event? You were anxious, but you went anyway, sweaty palms and all. How did you feel after?
Each time you do something that makes you uncomfortable, you prove to yourself you can do it. The more you do it, the better you get, and the more confident you feel.
Each time you feel that tug of anxiety, don’t think, just do it. With enough practice, anxiety will turn to excitement.
Start by talking to at least 2 strangers every day. Whether it’s a full conversation or just saying ‘hey’ in the street. Once you feel comfortable, increase it to 5. Try to hold a longer (genuine!) conversation. You might even make a few more friends 😊