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Building Self-Confidence 5 ways to project confidence By Carol Kinsey Goman I’ve been studying confidence (especially as it relates to the ability to deal optimally with change) for the past twenty-five years. Confidence is the personality trait most responsible for an individual’s ability to deal well with organizational transitions. Confident people are selfmotivated, have high self-esteem, and are willing to take calculated risks.  Here are five ways to build your self-confidence:  1. Play to your strengths  I once gave a speech for the senior management team of a software company in Silicon Valley that was relocating out of state. A few days later, the president of the company telephoned me to say, “I have an administrative assistant who is probably the brightest, most creative person I’ve worked with. The problem is, she’s married and can’t move her family. I was wondering if you would see her for a private coaching session, so that when she applies for a new job, she will come across just as terrific as she really is. I’ll gladly pay for the session.”  Of course, I agreed, and looked forward to meeting this talented woman. When she came into my office I said, “This is a real pleasure. I’ve heard so many terrific things about you. Tell me about yourself. What is it that you do exceptionally well? What would you most want a prospective employer to know about you?” The woman was silent for several seconds. Finally she sighed and said, “I really don’t know. I do a lot of things well, but when I do them, I don’t notice.”  Competence, strangely enough, bears little relationship to confidence. The fact that you do your job extremely well does not, by itself, insure that you are also confident of your abilities. It is only when you are aware of your competence that you become confident.  My favorite tip for increasing awareness of your strengths and talents is especially effective right before a job interview or any other important event in which you want to project your most confident self. First, think of a past success that filled you with pride and a high sense of achievement. (This doesn’t have to be taken from your professional life – although I do encourage clients to keep a “success log” so that they can easily find an event.) Then recall the feeling of power and certainty – and remember or imagine how you looked and sounded. Recalling that genuine emotion will help you embody it as you enter the meeting room or walk up to the podium.  2. Watch your posture  You know that the way you feel affects your body. If you are feeling insecure or depressed, you tend to round your shoulders, slump, and look down. If you are upbeat and assured you tend to hold yourself erect and expand your chest. But did you know that the reverse is also true? Your posture has a powerful impact on your emotions and on the way that others perceive you.  Research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools, shows that simply holding your body in expansive, “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone - the hormone Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 06.2014 10


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