behaving confidently

Behaving Confidently

Can you look like you’re behaving confidently if you don’t have confidence? Is there a difference between doing something confidently and being confident? Can you really ‘fake it till you make it’? This article explains how.

What is the difference between having confidence and doing something confidently?

Having confidence is your certainty about your ability to do something.  You believe you can achieve the activity ahead of you and you have the self-belief in your impending success.

To do something confidently means that you are doing it in a self-assured way.  You express little to no doubt.

Is there a difference?

Can you do something confidently without having confidence?  It is argued that you can.

One is an action (to do confidently), and one is a feeling (with confidence). If you can complete the action, then the feeling will come with time and experience. This means that we can give the perception of having confidence, hence the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’.

“I delivered the presentation confidently. However, I lacked confidence in being able to get my message across to the audience.”

How do you do one without the other?

To do something confidently and in a self-assured way means expressing little to no doubt. Body language plays a big part here; how we stand, how we hold ourselves and how we move. If you can display body language that indicates self-assurance, then this is the nonverbal cue that people you are communicating with will pick up.

Standing up straight, shoulders back, chin lifted, eye contact and smile. These are all key indicators of whether someone appears to be confident.

Pay attention to your voice. Your tone, pace and inflection, can also express self-assurance. Take a deep breath and pause before you speak. Slow down the pace a little and don’t rush your sentences. When speaking, alter your tone and inflection to keep the listener engaged. Words should be clear, not mumbled and project your voice towards your listener not to the floor.

We can practice, rehearse and display all of the above even if we don’t have confidence in our ability …Yet!

Practice makes permanent

The more we consciously practice different behaviour, the more the behaviour becomes unconscious. This behaviour then becomes a habit, and in time, we no longer have to think about it. The more we place ourselves in situations where we have to do something confidently, the more we achieve. The more we achieve, the more we validate our ability to do something.  The more we validate our ability, the more we have certainty that we can achieve.  This certainty is confidence.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Whilst we can adapt our body language and verbal cues to do something confidently, we must also adapt the internal conversation. Our minds are a powerful tool.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t. You’re right” Henry Ford.

This is such a powerful quote. Our internal conversation is often the key to success. Check the conversation you are having with yourself. Is your head full of self-limiting beliefs?  Are you the blocker to your own success?

“I’m rubbish at interviews”

A common statement but rarely true. Most people who say this are employed meaning that they have had at least one successful interview!  What they actually mean is that they don’t like interviews. However, if they prepare and practice, they can do well in an interview.

I’m rubbish at interviews” = self-limiting belief

“I am good at interviews when I practice and prepare as this gives me confidence” = enabling belief.

You may also find useful the Zing 365 article on Interview Techniques.

You CAN turn it around


The first action you need to take to turn it around is to identify your self-limiting beliefs. Get them down onto paper and spend some time re-writing them into enabling beliefs and positive statements.

Ask yourself if the original belief has any validation or is it something that you have just said to yourself out of habit? Be conscious of when you use them. Be conscious of correcting yourself and rephrase the sentence so that it is positive.

Start in your head. Speak to yourself confidently. Change your language to one of self-assurance. Be conscious of when you are expressing doubt and challenge the validity of these thoughts.

Finish with your body. How are you likely to be perceived? Is your body language showing any limiting beliefs that have been running through your mind or are you conducting yourself with body language that gives the appearance that you have confidence?

Nobody said it would be easy

None of this happens in your comfort zone. You will have to take that first step outside to make this happen. The more you practice, the more you become comfortable, and at some point, it will become your new comfort zone. Once you can do things confidently then your confidence across all areas will grow, and so will you!

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