Sometimes, you just need a little more confidence to help you get over that hurdle.
Whether it’s making it through a job interview, a date, or a presentation, from time to time we’re all faced with situations where our confidence is lacking and we fear that we’ve lost a sense of control.
However, in such situations, you’re limited to what you can do in the moment to help the situation.
Maybe you can make a quick stop to the restroom or you take a minute of private time in your car beforehand, but there’s no book or “magic” system in the world that can teach you how to develop confidence fast enough when you’re five minutes away from interviewing for the job of your dreams.
The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.
– Blake Lively
Here are three weird tricks you can use to feel more confident the next time you need a little boost:
1. Take a Superhero pose
In a 2012 TEDx talk, body language expert and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy taught us all the incredible power of body language and how it helps us feel more — or less — confident (among other things).
One of the best takeaways for me was the ‘superhero pose.’ Cuddy’s research has found that certain positions naturally boost our confidence, one of those being the classic superhero pose.
Take a moment before you head out and adopt this pose to feel like you can jump tall buildings in a single bound:
- Stand up straight, legs spread shoulder-width
- Place your hands on your waist
- Puff out your chest
- Pick your head up
- Hold for thirty seconds
2. Talk to yourself
The goal here is similar, but instead of adopting a ‘power pose,’ you use positive self-talk for a short period of time.
- “I can do this. I have all the skills, I just need to show them.”
- “I have greatness in me. Every moment in which I choose to do the things required to be great I am great in that moment.”
(Side note: Adopt a power pose while you do this to combine both points for maximum effect.)
For this to work, it can’t be a flat-out lie. As soon as you start lying to yourself your BS meter flies off the handle and your conscious and subconscious thought rejects what you’re saying (that’s why affirmations take time to work).
Because you only have a moment to do this, you need to say the kinds of things that are reassuring based on the work you’ve already put in, the person you already are, or something that’s already the case which you just need to remind yourself of.
Also, this is hard to do on the fly, so I suggest taking some time to write down some powerful phrases that instill you with confidence (especially in areas you might be weak). You can email them to yourself so that you can pull it up on your phone whenever you need them.
Even if they do nothing but get you started with ideas for things you can say to yourself to help in that particular situation, they did their job.
3. Think of it as a staring contest
What do you do when you’re actually in the midst of said social encounter and you need to gain a little boost in confidence?
Have a staring contest, of course.
I’m not telling you to propose a game right in the middle of a job interview or date, though. Make it a friendly game within yourself that you play against the other person in secret.
- Make eye contact with the other person, conversing as usual (even if this makes you feel uncomfortable)
- Maintain eye contact until they look away
- Keep eye contact for a few more seconds for good measure
If the other person was making you feel nervous or uncomfortable, this will give you the perfect little boost in confidence mid-conversation, easing your nerves and allowing you to perform at your best.