The Quest for CONFIDENCE!

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To me CONFIDENCE is like a tiny kitten, when it is feeling good it can be fierce with personal belief, and unstoppable in determination. But if it gets scared, it may want to run away or hide, so it needs to be lovingly nurtured and comforted, and told that things will be okay. We all have moments of vulnerability, moments where our confidence is shaken and we stand alone and want to run away from different situations.

In moments of reflection it is the little things like confidence that catch your attention and you wonder how to tame it and hold on to it a little longer, so it doesn’t disappear for awhile.

Confidence has been a topic at our house lately. Between my husband questioning why people have not called him regarding job positions, or wondering why my daughter is afraid to talk to her teacher (she has been in her class for over a month & still doesn’t know her name), or why I can’t focus on anything, we are a household in a quest for confidence, so when the Oprah magazine arrived at our house with the word CONFIDENCE in big, bold letters, I grabbed it & began to read. There were some great tips and tricks, so I am going to share some ideas and expand on some others.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas from Oprah’s “The Confidence Kit”…

Sit up straight: Research suggests that people with good posture have more confidence in their thoughts than people who slouch.

Knock wood: Psychologists have shown that embracing superstitions and carrying good luck charms can help you perform tasks better.

Break a sweat: Science long ago proved that exercise enhances your mood, but did you know that a 20-minute workout can sharpen your state of mind for a whopping 12 hours.

Focus on your breathing: Those who regularly practice Buddhist mindfulness meditation report increased self-acceptance.

Strike a pose: Standing for two minutes in a “power pose”–think wonder woman, with her feet flat on the ground, shoulders square, and hands on hips–can help you feel 40 percent more powerful than sitting with your arms crossed.

Grab a cup of joe: One more reason to love your latte: 100 milligrams of caffeine has been shown to increase alertness, energy and confidence.

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you on your QUEST for CONFIDENCE…

Look at your LIFE SUCCESSES: What have you been able to achieve, the big things, the little things, the things you may not consider a success (your happy attitude, your willingness to help others, the good sister you are, etc)–count them. What do you celebrate about what you have done with your life (motherhood, fatherhood, volunteering, teaching, medical school, started a campaign for a good cause, made others feel appreciated, beat a personal fear, built a car engine, wrote a blog post, published an article, learned how to cook, home schooled your kids, are an artist, a gifted musician, can tell amazing stories, love animals, etc)

Evaluate your strengths & weaknesses: What do you view as a personal strength and weakness. This is a good starting point in addressing your personal needs and what you can begin to work on. Ask your friends and family what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. Write them down.

Ask yourself, What do I want? right now, in life, my career, my family. Creating goals helps you on a personal level see and achieve what you want to create for your life. When you are able to see small goals and achieve them…personal success, which increases your confidence.

What is stopping you? Your thoughts, money, social confidence, the right exercise routine, time, etc. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Begin to use affirmations to eliminate the self defeating mind chatter and rid you of old beliefs and patterns that may be in your way.

Stop the negative self-talk: Confidence is a funny thing, it seemingly comes and goes depending on the day & the self-talk. Yesterday my husband was waiting for a phone call for a potential interview, he was told they would call him the next morning (yesterday), but by noon they had not called. His mind was a furry of concern, worry and wonder if they would call. He went on about how he should have been more assertive and scheduled a time then and there. I stopped him mid-sentence, “Do I hear a ‘shoulda’ ‘coulda’ woulda’? Are you living in the land of should, woulda, coulda? Well, I am not going there with you.” I smiled and kissed him gently. He laughed at me. It broke the pattern of worry, concern & negative chatter. I went on to explain to him that if they did not take the time to find a valuable asset like him, then they don’t deserve him. I told him if they are smart, they will call. We left it at that.

What little step can I take? Create a baby step outline of where you are and where you want to be relating to your goal. Example: If you desire a new job–what skills do you need to begin working on, maybe you need to buy the right suit for an interview, practice talking about the new position, begin to see yourself working for a specific company, doing the job you desire.

What is the worst thing that can happen? ask yourself what you are afraid is going to happen.

Now list if they are REAL fears—can or will they likely happen? 90% of our fears are not true fears. Don’t buy in to the negative thoughts.

Ask yourself again—What is stopping me? (write these reasons down and address them) If you have doubts that continue to rise to the surface, write them down and calmly challenge them.

ACT. Take action. Commit to your personal success. Make a promise to yourself that you are committed to this personal journey…wherever it may take you.

When it comes down to it–you need to begin to give yourself a little credit, be kind to yourself and begin to love who you are!! Your self-confidence and self-esteem stems from how you feel about yourself, how you challenge yourself and how you handle the situations that life hands you.

One last thing…Dawn Breslin is one of my favorite authors and is a coach on confidence, so I wanted to share a little something from her book, Zest for Life…enjoy!

The secret recipe to enjoying life is to have simple little pleasures sprinkled throughout your day. To boost our self-esteem and in turn our self-confidence first of all we need to become aware of the internal dialogue that plays in our minds. It’s a bit like a tape recorder that plays over and over, and if what the tape is playing is negative and critical of you and your life, you aren’t going to feel good each day.

The expectations of society, our parents, our partners, and our peer groups–not to mention ourselves–dictate that we should have more money, more possessions, a bigger house, a bigger car, a better education, a better job, a better partner…Constantly living by these core values, focusing on getting more, and thinking about all the things we don’t have in our lives blocks us from seeing the natural beauty and joy that surrounds us every single day. If this is the belief we are living by, then there are going to be some serious side effects on the journey to succeed. In Eastern wisdom, the foundations for achievement are almost the opposite: Success is about being happy, connected to spirit, fulfilled, calm, energized and content.

Here are a few habits Dawn suggests to improve your confidence: Read personal development books, Pray, Write down ten reasons to be grateful each day, Read inspirational biographies, take up a creative hobby, begin to play a musical instrument, watch the Discovery Channel, watch inspirational movies, read health and fitness magazines, share good news stories, limit your intake of bad news each day and only speak positively about people.

Hope these ideas send you in a good direction for your personal quest for confidence. Good luck and best wishes in all you do.  -Heather

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”  -Marie Curie

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