If you're living life right, you're taking risks and putting yourself out there—for romance, your career, and your fitness endeavours. Because of this, your confidence is due to falter from time to time. And if you're paralyzed by your fear to fail, constantly struggling to summon courage, feel comfortable in your skin, and exude confidence in everyday life, well, you're not living much at all.
Confidence coach Steve Errey has cultivated a list of behaviors, tips, and advice so you can drop-kick self-doubt, stop second-guessing, and prioritize yourself instead of people-pleasing everyone else. Here are 16 easy ways to feel more confident today.
Get up and get moving every single day. "We spend so long in our heads that we forget how our body feels or what it needs," Errey says. Getting bogged down by work and responsibilities can numb the smells, feels, and emotions of everyday life with thoughtless motions and actions. "Exercising gets you right back into your mind and body, as well as releasing endorphins that give you that amazing physiological buzz."
Breathe deep. Stand tall. Push your shoulders back. "Standing tall and strong has been shown to make you feel more assertive, which can give you a quick boost of confidence if you need it," Errey says. Feeling like you have a more dominant presence can help inflate your self esteem, but don’t mistake this for anything other than a quick fix, Errey advises.
"Whether you’re looking to make a career change, facing a big challenge, embarking on a new relationship, or tackling a new project, trust yourself to take one step," Errey advises. "That’s it. Then, when you’ve taken that step, trust yourself to take the next. You don’t know what's going to happen ahead of time, so trust your ability to engage with the process rather than the outcome." This is a great solution if you're the type to back away from making decisions when it feels like everything hinges on them, or if you're terrified of change. Instead of taking the plunge, change one or two things for a week, and see what happens. These small experiments can help you make an entire transformation.
The desire and obsession to fit in is suffocating, not to mention exhausting. "And fitting in isn’t a measure of success or popularity, it's a measure of insecurity," Errey explains. "Replace the urge to present yourself in a way that fits in with what others might expect, and replace it with the mantra you'll do better work and have better relationships when you show up as yourself." It'll be difficult; we're hardwired for comparison. But every time you look around and wonder how others got to be more successful than you, it will strip more and more of your confidence.
"Pursuing perfection is a spectacular way to ruin your life," Errey says point blank. You'll be in a constant state of discontent because you'll always feel like you're not good enough. "Perfection is about doing everything you can to appease everyone else." To rectify the thought process, accept your best and begin to accept you’re good enough without perfection in your life.
Always feel the need to prove you're right? "Time to let that go," Errey says. "It places your self-worth in the wrong place and drives you to pursue being right over being happy or fulfilled."
Why would you ever want to surround yourself with people who say or make you feel like you're not good enough and plummet your self-esteem? "It's said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so look for friendships and relationships that make you feel free," Errey says.
Fear is only present when there's risk, change or opportunity. You're no less a man for being afraid or experiencing fear, and it's not something to be avoided or pushed away. "Avoiding fear is a super-smart way to kill your confidence, so reframe it as part of any meaningful endeavor and see it as an opportunity to step up, try something new, give it your best shot and maybe have a heap of fun."
"Following the tired advice to 'fake it ’til you make it' leads people to act in ways they think confident people act, but more often than not leads people into hubris and arrogance," Errey says. "Real, natural confidence is choosing to trust your behaviour because you’re already good enough, not pretending to be a certain way because you don’t feel good enough." Trust yourself. You already have what it takes.
It may seem counterintuitive, but letting your guard down can instill more strength and confidence. "We all have one huge fear in common—that we're not worthy of love or belonging and that we'll be rejected, and that fuels our desire to stay hidden or protect ourselves," Errey says. Find a way to reassure yourself you'll be just fine without your armour on.
"What are you like when you're at your best? Errey says. "Think about it—when you're flowing, at the top of your game, buzzing or alive, what does that allow you to do?" If you're like most guys, this state of well-being allows you to do what comes naturally without thinking about whether you're good enough or confident enough to do it. Think about that the next time you're faced with a big challenge.
It's hard not to feel awkward when you have to engage in small talk with a stranger—especially when conversations dries up. It zaps your confidence and makes you feel uncomfortable. The fix is simple: Always have a couple of go-to questions on your mind that can open things back up. Errey suggests the following: "What's the best thing about your [town/job/challenge]? Tell me how you started out with that? Tell me more about..." Simple conversation starters can really take off and provide a crutch in times of need.
Everybody tends to be a bit self-deprecating when narrating their life story, skills, and achievements. If you often find yourself telling stories that cast yourself as being small, weak or powerless, heed to this advice: "Be aware of how the narrative in your head affects what you do (and how you do it), and let go of any old stories that strip your confidence to the bone," Errey says.
"Confidence comes, in part, from the honest acknowledgement of your own capability, so it's about time you gave yourself some credit," Errey says. Don't dismiss your achievements and never think your life hasn't amounted to much. "Write a list of at least 10 things you've achieved, created or added value to and give yourself credit where it's due."
"It's your primary responsibility to make sure you're physically and mentally okay, and fundamental to keeping that is prioritizing the nourishment of your mind, heart and body," Errey says. Even when you're schedule is jam-packed, make time to do one thing every day that truly stimulates you—whether that's making a healthy, homemade meal, hitting the gym, or meditating. The practice of self-worth and preservation will fuel your confidence.
You'll hear women say they love a confident man, not an arrogant one. The problem is guys often confuse the two. "Arrogance and confidence are worlds apart: Arrogance is noisy and needs other people; confidence is quiet and needs nothing other than self-trust," Errey explains. Once you understand the difference, you'll never worry and wonder if you're being too confident.