The Three Minute Confidence Boost

Bev James, CEO of The Academy Group, including the Entrepreneurs' Business Academy and EBA for Coaches, talks to The NextWomen about the importance of confidence in business, and shares key takeaways from personal experience and lessons from successful entrepreneurs.

Throughout my training and career as a coach, I have worked with successful entrepreneurs, world champions and Olympic athlete. It is clear across the board that confidence is a key ingredient to success in sport, business and life.

Who are these self-assured, self-confident super beings who can face new and even uncomfortable situations with grace and ease?

I have learnt so much from those people I have coached, who like myself, have worked on their goals and developed their own confidence. Just like us, they have days and situations when confidence can ebb and flow.

They are people just like you and me. Fortunately, confidence can be developed at any age, by anyone at any time.

I learnt that those who have achieved success have learned to turn setbacks into comebacks, and have an inner resilience that is built on self-confidence.

However, there is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.

In my opinion, arrogance can be a way of compensating for lack of confidence.

Self-confidence can be spotted from a distance. Without even hearing someone speak, we can gauge a person’s level of confidence by their body language and general demeanor.

Imagine if people had speech bubbles above their head so we could see what they thought of themselves - confident people would have speech bubbles that would read –

I’m comfortable in my own skin.

I’m at ease with myself.

I respect myself and I expect to be treated with respect.

With confidence comes an air of assertiveness - if acceptable boundaries of communication or behaviour are crossed, a confident person will make it known that the person has over stepped the mark.

Confidence is also a very attractive quality in the opposite sex, because it can be reassuring to be in the presence of someone who is self assured. In that sense, it is clear that there is a big difference between arrogance and confidence.

When I took my book Do it! or Ditch it to my publisher, the editor loved the concept of ‘turning ideas in action and making decisions that count’ but said to me:

“It’s OK for someone like you who is naturally confident, but what about those who aren’t?”

I continued to tell the editor that as a child I was quite shy, I never put my hand up in class even if I knew the answer, just in case I was wrong. As an adult, I had a debilitating fear of public speaking and on several occasions, I passed up media opportunities in business because I was afraid.

Feeling unconfident can be as painful as a tooth ache, it’s nagging, constant and needs to be dealt with.

I discovered coaching when I attended The Coaching Academy training in 2005 (a company that I am now the MD of). I found coaching to be life-changing not just for my clients but also for me.

As any good coach will tell you, the first person you coach is yourself.

I used all of the tools and techniques that I learned during my coaching training on myself. The great thing about building your self-confidence is that over time, the things you first practice become natural and part of your DNA. The first time we drive a car we have to remember each and every maneuver until one day, we get into the car, start the engine and we don’t even give it a second thought – we can just Do it! The car moves in the right direction and we are in control .

I’ve condensed what I have learned from personal experience and also the lessons I have gained from successful people at the top of their game to create the 3 minute confidence booster.

 1.     Become aware of your inner chatterbox (1 minute)

When you are about to attempt something new that could be a little scary, are you your own critic or cheerleader? Telling yourself that everything could go wrong is not very helpful.

Do It!: Take 1 minute before moving into that situation to encourage yourself, the way you would encourage a child or friend that you truly believed in. Be kind with your words and tell yourself you can do it!

 2.     Imagine yourself looking confident and self-assured: how would you stand? (1 minute)

Notice your posture and your facial expression. Just walking into a room with good posture can create an immediate effect. Not only does good posture look good, it also makes you feel good.

Do It!: Take 1 minute before a high-pressure situation, or in any moment of the day to check your posture. Now change it so that your posture shows confidence. A habit can start to slowly form each time you do this.

3.     Be interested in other people (1 minute)

Being confident isn’t about talking about yourself, it’s having the confidence to be interested in others and not feel that you have to prove your worth by telling people how great you are. To be interesting is to be interested. It’s amazing how much pressure it takes off of you when you become interested in others.

Do It!: Next time the self-talk in your mind becomes too loud, take a 1 minute breather. Who else is in the room? What might they be thinking about? What might they have to say of interest? Then when appropriate, ask them.

Don’t be a prisoner of your own inner doubts and insecurities. Step up, step forward and tap into the fountain of potential that lies within each and every one of us. When confidence is high, anything is possible.

Remember we often judge other people by what we see on the outside and we judge ourselves by what we feel on the inside.

True confidence isn’t about always knowing that something is going to go well. It’s about knowing that whatever the outcome, you will be able to deal with it.

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Bev James is CEO of The Academy Group including the Entrepreneurs' Business Academy and EBA for Coaches, joint ventures with James Caan; and The Coaching Academy – the world largest training school for coaches. She is a millionaires' mentor, a serial entrepreneur and author of DO IT! or DITCH IT: Turn Ideas into Action and Make Decisions That Count – 8 Steps to Business Success.

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