This article was originally published on SheKnows.com—the #1 women's lifestyle digital media company, with a mission of women inspiring women—as "How To Get Killer Confidence," and is reposted with permission from the author.
Confidence is a practice, here's how to get started
Want to start feeling confident and in control of your life? Try these three steps and you will begin to see results in no time!
1. Ditch the four letter F word.
As a trained psychotherapist and mindset coach I hear women throwing this word around quite often: FEAR.
But what if I told you it most likely is not fear? What other emotion exhibits very similar physiological symptoms? This, my dear, is excitement. Yes, excitement. Fear and excitement can feel the exact same way internally. Think elevated heart rate, fluttery stomach, racing thoughts, loss of appetite, etc. So the next time you tell yourself you're "scared", stop, evaluate the situation and decipher. Is this really fear or could I possibly be excited? Am I really scared to be finishing grad school or am I excited to finally be off on my own and working my dream job?
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2. Do what scares you.
When you evaluate the fear and rule out excitement, don’t panic. This little tool called “opposite action” will give you the courage to begin nipping fear right in the behind! This skill was derived from a modality I was trained in called Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. This particular skill encourages you to do the opposite of what most are used to doing. In the instance of fear, most naturally freeze, tense up, and avoid. To practice opposite action, rather than avoiding, you dive into the fear. You right away do what scares you. Now the reason for this is because we know that the longer fear hangs out in our mind, the greater we let it build up. And the longer it hangs out in our mind, the more brain space you are allowing it to occupy. And whose got time for that?!
Let me give you a simple example: Your boyfriend surprised you and booked a vacation for your birthday. You know that time of year is a busy time at work and you aren't quite comfortable requesting time off so you WAIT. You let a week pass, a month pass, the closer you get to the date, the more anxious you feel, and now you really aren't sure it will be possible. Now you've let two months pass by, you've allowed it to take up space for that long in your mind, and the chances that your boss will give you this time off with such short notice is pretty slim. This is why opposite action is going to be your new BFF. Imagine how (yes, scary but) simple it would have been to ask your boss the day after finding out? This would have been plenty of notice, you would have gotten your answer right away, not had that two-month internal struggle in your mind, and probably avoided arguments with your nagging boyfriend who continued to ask why you haven't requested time off yet. You see what I’m saying? Do what scared you today.
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3. Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
Back to number two’s scenario. What would have been the worst thing that could have happened if you asked for time off right away? Your boss says no? Would that really be the end of the world? No, you would have been able to figure it out. You would have had plenty of time to find someone to cover for you or push back the dates of your vacation. We tend to turn things into big to-dos in our minds, when the worst case scenario A. isn’t really so bad or B. would never actually happen.
Implement these three steps and your confidence will be soaring in no time!