“Walk into a room as if you owned it.” My mother used to say that all the time when I was a girl. I didn’t understand what she meant back then. She was always saying what I considered to be grandiose things. I would just roll my eyes behind her back (I didn’t dare do that in front of her face). But, with her urging, over time, I learned to stand up straight, throw my shoulders back, and walk into a room with confidence. It became an ingrained habit that has served me well over the course of my career and my life.
As I got older, I realized that my mother was a very wise woman. She didn’t explain to me back then that she was teaching me to project confidence in the way that I moved – in the way that I carried myself. She didn’t explain that she was teaching me to make myself feel confident by learning how to fake it ‘til I made it. With her guidance, I learned how to walk into job interviews, boardrooms, bedrooms, courtrooms and onto stages with my head held high, my shoulders thrown back, a purposeful stride and a smile on my face whether I felt confident or not. I learned that people looked at me differently when I felt confident and that projecting self-confidence made me feel confident.
Later in life, I learned that certain exercises and practices boosted my self-confidence. For great ideas on how to boost your self-esteem, grab a copy of my freebie: “Quick Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence.”
Over time, mentors and life experiences reinforced the lessons my mother taught me. When I was a young associate at a law firm, one of the senior partners there told me to speak up in a loud clear voice when I was preparing to cover a court hearing. My voice is not very loud naturally, but I learned to project and speak with authority and confidence because that’s what catches and holds the attention of clients, judges and jurors. Of course, it helps to be prepared and to know what you’re talking about too, but, in a world of loud mouths and noise, if you don’t speak with confidence and authority no-one will hear you no matter how brilliant or prepared you are.
So, I want you to try something. When you walk into the office or to the grocery store or to the bank today, I want you to stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, look people in the eye and greet them with a confident smile. Practice in your house first in front of a mirror if you have to. See if there’s a difference in how people treat you. See if doing this makes you feel different. Come back here and let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Don't forget to grab a copy of my free cheat sheet “Quick Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence.”