5 Guaranteed Ways To Boost Self Confidence

Imagine sitting in a job interview with a hiring manager staring at you. She’s just asked you a difficult question. Feeling confident?

Some people are self-assured by nature. The rest of us have to work at it. Fortunately, confidence is something we can build.

Here are some suggestions for ways to do just that.

1. Visualize success

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. In your mind’s eye, see yourself, the hiring manager, and her office in detail. What are you wearing? What’s on her desk?

Now imagine that you’re completely prepared for that difficult question she just asked.

Picture yourself sitting up straight and feeling relaxed. You have a slight smile. You know this topic well and enjoy talking about it.

You’re speaking with assurance and enthusiasm.

And you see her looking impressed.

2. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep

We all know we’re supposed to exercise, right? But why is it especially helpful for building self-confidence?

One, it lowers stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also makes endorphins that naturally create an upbeat mood.

Two, keeping up an exercise program is hard for most people. When we do so, it makes us feel proud.

And three, we usually look better when we exercise.

3. Give attention to your appearance

Just as your environment reflects your sense of calm or chaos, how you present your appearance reflects your self-esteem.

People treat you differently when you look put-together. Even more important, you can change how you view yourself when you spruce up a little.

Something as simple as ironing your shirt or getting a good haircut boosts confidence.

The clothes we put on can have a big impact on how self-assured we feel. Dress the part of someone who takes themselves seriously and is attentive to details.

It may well make you more aware of all that you have to offer.

4. Pay attention to other people

Low self-confidence mushrooms when we’re focused on our selves and our worries. But helping other people and thinking about their happiness makes us feel better.

Something as little as paying someone a compliment will lift your spirits as well as theirs.

Learn some jokes to tell. This will get you smiling more without plastering an artificial grin on your face. Humor helps us relax and creates a good feeling between people.

This is also a good time to think about volunteering. It makes you feel good and gets you around friendly people. You’ll get the chance to use your abilities to make someone else’s day better.

5. De-clutter your home or office

Your environment can say a lot about what’s going on inside you. What does your desk, dresser or bathroom counter top show about how settled you feel?

You can impact your mood and sense of control by bringing order to your surroundings. Take even 15 minutes to straighten your work or living space.

When you finish, enjoy this newly organized area for a little while. You’ll feel a sense of greater ease and accomplishment.

Finally….

There is so much in life that we cannot control: the economy, what others do, world events. But you always have control over your level of self-confidence.

Try out these ideas and watch your optimism grow. You’ll be happy to see how much your choices can change your life.

I’m Not Sure What Kind of Work I Want To Do….Part 2

Pam’s story continues (see last post) as she thinks about the work she’d really like to do. She’s on the road now. She just needs to give herself permission to go after what she wants.

The next idea she comes up with is to move into bookkeeping.

“I think I could do that,” she says. Problem is, it feels a lot like medical billing. She’d continue to work at home alone, which was lonely for her. She’d still be working with data, which was boring.

And worst of all, she’d still be tied to a computer all day.

“But I think I’d be good at it. It wouldn’t take a whole lot to move over into bookkeeping. I wouldn’t need a lot of new training for it. And at least it’d be different than billing.”

She pursues this possibility for a couple of months. All the while, her coach keeps asking her:

“If you really had permission to do whatever you want, what would you do?”

Something clicks one day and Pam goes into see her coach, all excited.

“You know, I’d like to go into sales. If I could really do whatever I wanted, that’s what I’d do. I’ve always wanted to do this, actually. It’s just that I never thought I’d be good enough to make a living working on commission.”

At this point, everything starts falling into place. She feels motivated for the first time to write out her goals and objectives. She quickly comes up with a realistic plan.

“I may not have sales experience, but I’m good with people. Actually, I’ve had to do a lot of selling with the billing business.

“Since I know billing inside and out, I could go to work selling billing software. I could start out there and once I’ve been doing it for a year, I can branch out into a different area where I’d make more money.”

Now Pam is excited about her career path. Even though she’s making quite a switch to go from medical billing to sales, she has a clear and workable plan.

There is no doubt that Pam will be able to start a new career in sales. Her belief that she really has permission to do something different is the foundation for this change.

If you haven’t done so yet, give yourself permission to go after what you really want. Even though the economy is in bad shape, do it anyway.

Do it even if you don’t have work experience in your new chosen field. You probably have tons of informal experience.

It may take you a while to make the shift, but knowing that you’re moving in a good direction will keep you going.

Take the risk. Believe what your heart is telling you. You have permission.

I’m Not Sure What Kind of Work I Want to Do….Part 1

Trouble Je/Confusion by audhray
Trouble Je/Confusion, a photo by audhray on Flickr.

How the heck can you move into a new career when you’re not sure what you want to do?

The first and most important step is to start believing that you can do something different. You start believing you have permission to make a change.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine a woman named Pam who’s been a medical biller for the past 18 years. She’s been running her own business for 6 years now. She’s very good at what she does. Problem is, she’s lost interest in doing the work.

For quite some time she tried to get herself to like it again. Finally she decides that it’s not working and starts thinking about doing something different.

That’s when Pam decides to start seeing a career coach. As they talk, she begins to give herself permission to not just think about moving into a new career but to decide that she’s really going to make this change.

However….

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” she says. “What else could I do? I don’t know how to do anything else. Nobody is going to hire me to do anything besides billing.”

Pam and her coach talk about what she’d do if she really had permission to do whatever she wanted. The first thing that comes to her mind is web design. She made a website around the time she started losing interest in billing and had a ball doing it.

“But I could never do that,” she says.

“Why not?” her coach wanted to know.

“I don’t have any training. I don’t know anything about it.”

But a few weeks later, an idea hits her out of the blue. She could take a web design class at her local community college and see how she likes it.

The class turns out to be frustrating for her. It’s quite different from making a website with Go Daddy.

But since Pam now has permission from herself to leave medical billing, she starts thinking about Plan B.

In the next post, we’ll talk about what Pam does next.

How Not to Write a LinkedIn Profile

Are you familiar with LinkedIn? If not, you’ll want to find out about this
online professional networking site.

Employers and recruiters routinely use LinkedIn to find good job candidates. A survey done earlier this year showed that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential employees.

Some of the things you can do on LinkedIn are:

•Showcase recommendations from people familiar with your work
•Post a resume and other work-related information
•Apply for jobs
•Create a network of your work-related contacts
•Join professional groups
•Demonstrate your expertise

Although LinkedIn is often considered a social networking site, it’s not a place to share casual photos or information about the party you went to the other night.

Unless, that is, you want to alienate potential employers.

Since this is such a powerful tool for sharing information about yourself, it’s good to consider how to write about work skills. Or perhaps how not to write.

LinkedIn recently released the results of a study it did on its 187,000,000 members to create a list of the most overused, tired buzzwords of 2012.

When employers and recruiters see these words on your profile, they can lose interest in you immediately. They could peg you as too lazy or indifferent to think up fresh and meaningful ways to describe yourself.

Go check your LinkedIn profile (and your resume) to make sure it doesn’t contain any of these words. They’re arranged in order of how overused they are:

creative
organizational
effective
motivated
extensive experience
track record
innovative
responsible
analytical
problem solving

If writing doesn’t come easily to you, hire a professional writer to create a profile that shows you in your best light. It’s that important.

Be creative and innovative. You’re responsible for producing an effective and dynamic profile. Be motivated to draw on your extensive communication experience. Use your best analytical problem solving skills to highlight your organizational track record.

On second thought, let’s scratch that last paragraph.

The Right Environments

Imagine you learn of a wonderful job. You want to go after it.

But it happens to be in a windowless office. And you’re someone who needs natural light like you need air and water.

Or the job requires travel. You know you wouldn’t function well with this, but you try to talk yourself into pursuing the job anyway.

Not gonna work.

You may not think to consider your working environment as you plan your career. This involves not just your physical environment but the people and cultural environments of an organization as well.

Think now about what kind of environment you need to be happiest in your work. Here are some questions for you to think and write about:

Environmental Factors

  • Would you be happiest working outdoors? Indoors? How much natural light do you need?
  • Would you like to work from home?
  • Do you want to work in one building or get out and about?
  • Would you like to settle in at a desk or move around a lot?

People Factors

  • Would working with a lot of people make you happy, or with a few? Do you want to work alone?
  • Do you want to constantly be interacting with new people or mostly work around people you know?
  • Do you want to work with children? Teens? Adults? Seniors?
  • Would you work best independently or as part of a team?

Organizational Culture Factors

  • Would you like to work for a non-profit? For a business? For yourself?
  • Do you want your co-workers to be an important part of your social life?
  • Would you work best for an organization that places a high value on family and personal commitments?
  • Would you thrive in a high-stakes environment that requires a deep commitment of your time and energy?

As you work with these questions, pay attention to your non-negotiables. Your answers may lead you to consider new possibilities or take some ideas off your list.

Just be true to yourself.

How To Cope With a Miserable Job

Stuck in a really boring job
Boredom, a photo by Teeejayy on Flickr.

First off, I’d like to congratulate you.

It takes a lot of strength to keep going each day to a job you hate. You could have run screaming from your cubicle ages ago. You could have just melted into a pool of boredom in the staff lounge.

But you’re sticking it out.

And more importantly, you’re involved in a process of figuring out what kind of work you really want to be doing and how to get to there from here.

In the meantime, you have this boring or toxic or stressful job to contend with until you can find or create something better. Here are some ideas to help you cope:

See the job as your teacher. Any difficult situation holds the opportunity for emotional growth. It’s very possible that your job is providing the exact conditions necessary for you to change in ways that will enhance every part of your life.

Do you need to learn greater understanding or assertiveness with difficult people? Do you need to develop patience? The ability to hold onto your dream when you’re feeling discouraged?

Ask yourself right now what you might have to learn.

Enjoy whatever you can about your job. What good exists there? The people? The schedule? Opportunities to develop new skills?

Unless you’re in a dangerous or highly unethical environment you can find something good about your job. Focus on this.

Appreciate the job you have and think often about the parts you like, especially if there aren’t many. You may miss these things in a better job that you’ll have down the road.

And oh – if you are in a hazardous environment physically, emotionally or legally, get out immediately.

Be around people. You need others now more than ever. It’s easy to avoid people when you’re down, or complain to the point that your friends wish you would isolate yourself.

Have lunch with someone every day. (And you must take a lunch break.)

Look around for a job-hunters’ or career development support group.

Take walks during your breaks (you must take breaks) and ask a co-worker to come with you.

Don’t give up! This job is temporary.

Even in this difficult economy, you aren’t condemned to a dead-end job.

You’re in the process of creating a great career, and nothing can throw you off this path. Celebrate your courage, your smarts, and your conviction that you can have more.