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Confidence may not be innate in all of us, but the great news is that it can be acquired. Confident people are successful, take risks, live life to the full, and don't let setbacks knock them down. It's no wonder we all want to know their secret.

Just like any other skill, though, confidence can be learned. A little daily practice is all that is required and, before too long, self-confidence can become your default setting.

Here are nine practical techniques to help you move towards mastering the art of gaining confidence (and inspiring others to be more confident too!)

1. Adjust your body language and presentation

Sitting straight and standing tall are two of the simplest tricks in the repertoire of confident people. A slumped posture indicates defeat, so pull back those shoulders. Equally important is eye contact, a firm handshake, a warm smile and a purposeful stride. Speaking slowly sounds sincere and helps others to understand your points. Looking good goes hand-in-hand with these measures. Wearing freshly laundered clothes and that complement your frame, whatever the occasion. Keep your hair clean and pay attention to details like polished shoes and neat fingernails. You will feel better knowing you look your best, and you will radiate self-confidence.

2. Practice positive self-talk

Negative thoughts can lead to reduced productivity and giving up. If you allow yourself to think that you are not clever enough, talented enough or athletic enough, those mantras create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of focusing on what cannot be done, switch your thoughts to what you can achieve. Identify your strengths, celebrate your successes and what you are good at.

If negative thoughts creep in because you are experiencing difficulties or venturing into the unknown, instead of saying "I don't know how to do that." replace it with "I don't know how to do that, yet." then focus on developing the skills you need.

There is a solution to all problems, and with a bit of extra effort, you can find a way to conquer adversity. Never say never!

3. Surround yourself with positive influences

Unfortunately, some people have the habit of pulling us down in their interactions with us. They may be critical, judgemental, harsh or dismissive. In other words, they always want to "rain on your parade." These sorts of relationships can destroy confidence and lead to self-doubt and a negative mindset. These people either need to be avoided altogether or, if necessary, treated with positivity and enthusiasm. Negativity can be contagious, so don't catch it. You may need to weed out some friends and contacts if they continue to dampen your spirits.

Instead, surround yourself with positive people, those who support and champion you.

4. Preparation is paramount

It is a lot easier to feel and be confident when you know what you're doing. Whatever your occupation or goal, learn as much as you possibly can about it. Keeping an open and enquiring mind is essential for empowerment and growth. Being well-prepared and well-informed is a considerable asset in almost anything you undertake. Time spent in preparation will pay dividends in accomplishment, and the satisfaction this brings will only add to your ongoing confidence.

5. Be thankful

Keeping a gratitude diary - a daily reminder of all the good things that have happened, however small, and all the reasons to be grateful - is a habit kept by many highly successful people. It's a life-affirming and confidence-boosting record. Even on a bad day, when everything seems to have gone wrong, you can still give thanks for a beautiful sunset or a tasty meal.

6. Maintain your health

A balanced diet, exercise, restful sleep and fresh air are all well-known necessities for a healthy life, but they can often be neglected, particularly when we are busy or stressed.

A healthy diet and exercise help increase endorphins (the body's natural opiates) and helps us to maintain a positive mood while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

7. Random acts of kindness

Freely giving up your time and effort to help others is guaranteed to provide powerful feelings of satisfaction. Consider volunteering, or simply go out of your way to smile and say hello to a stranger. Being kind and generous does wonders for your self-confidence and spreads positivity.

8. Success diary

Keeping a success diary or inventory is something my clients find highly beneficial in helping them improve their confidence. Not only will you feel more confident as you see your successes start to stack up, revisiting your accomplishments is a great way to help you pick yourself back up if you're experiencing a period of self-doubt.

9. Push yourself out of your comfort zone

The thought of doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone might sound uncomfortable, but the more you do, the more your confidence will increase. Doing even small things that move us out of our comfort zone regularly increases our knowledge, skills and experience, making us feel more confident and expanding our comfort zone.

What one thing can you do today that will push you out of your comfort zone?

Everyone struggles with confidence issues and self-doubt at one time or another. However, if a lack of confidence interferes with your work or personal life, positive steps need to be taken to turn things around. Try these tips, and if you’re still struggling or could use some additional support, arrange a discovery call to see how coaching can help increase confidence and help you reach your full potential.

Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 19th April 2021