We all know the supreme role confidence plays in business. It’s also fairly common knowledge that courage is a trait that’s generally nurtured in young boys and sometimes stifled in adolescent girls. With more and more women being part of today’s workforce and making it into key leadership positions, confidence or a lack thereof needs to be addressed and mastered.
So, how can women better master the art of confidence in the workplace?
Mind Your Body’s Language
Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, the body and the mind are part of the same system. The actions of one will influence the other. Many hormones release when performing various activities or taking specific postures, changing your overall mood, as a consequence. The same thing is real when it comes to confidence.
By taking specific postures, called Power Poses by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, and Professor at Harvard Business School, anyone regardless of race or gender can boost their confidence levels. By performing the so-called Wonder Woman pose, for instance, with your hands on your hips, shoulders back, and head tilted upward, and you will increase your body’s testosterone levels and, by extension, boost confidence and lower nervousness.
These changes in body chemistry happen after roughly two minutes of standing or sitting in a high-power pose. Body posture that takes up more room can be considered a power pose. By comparison, shrinking in size, crossing your ankles, touching your face and hair, are all examples of a low-power pose and were shown to increase cortisol levels. This hormone has, more or less, the opposite effect of adrenaline and, to a certain degree, testosterone.
In short, the pose you choose to take will determine whether you have or don’t have power in that situation. The best part about all of this is that, according to Amy Cuddy, you can fake it ’till you make it.
Other Tips For Boosting Confidence
In addition to your body language and power poses, there are certain behaviours you can practice to develop and improve confidence.
- Take More Risks – Many of us are drawn to comfort. But staying in the comfort zone for too long will prove a significant disadvantage in stressful situations such as interviews, team meetings, or presentations. By regularly getting out of your comfort zone, you will increase the levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure, appetite, learning, and memory. This amino acid will also help you by stopping you from becoming overwhelmed in stressful situations.
- Stay Away From Complacency – While on the topic of comfort zones, they will often lead to complacency. Complacency is usually where hopes, dreams, aspirations, and achievements come to die.
- Challenge Your Self-Doubt – Perfection is an unattainable ideal while success is a mindset. Your self-doubt, however, will tell you otherwise. Meditation or cognitive behavioural therapy can help you develop more positive thought patterns and eliminate self-doubt from your way of thinking.
- Fail Fast – Failure is a part of life, and nobody can escape it. It’s also the best teacher, so it’s best to treat it as such. Learn what there is to learn, dust yourself off and look forward.
- Don’t Hesitate – Passivity and inertia will destroy your confidence. Women will usually wait for support, which doesn’t always present itself, and which will keep them from recognizing or seizing opportunities.
Mastering confidence is not something that people are born with. Some may learn it at a younger age than others. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be acquired later in life as well. By following these practices presented here, you too can learn to master and benefit from what confidence can bring.