confidence: scientifically-proven ways to fake it til' you make it

Confidence. The ever-elusive and slippery fish that almost everyone grasps for on a daily basis. We all have our #bossbitch days that seem to happen randomly, but wouldn't it be great if we could create those days instead of just wishing for them? If only...

But wait! Science to the rescue. Do do do DOOOO! Science has proven that it is actually possible to fake it til' you make it when it comes to confidence. As this Forbes article states:

"Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for. Not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed."

You know what that means, right? It means confidence is your personal choice. Granted, there are certain factors that can boost and hinder your confidence - but overall, it's entirely up to you. To help you discover your newfangled confidence, here are 7 ways to fake it til' you make it.

1. Dress up.

Remember this article I wrote recently about 5 reasons to dress up every day? One of the major reasons is to boost your confidence. The overall experience of wearing clothes that make you feel great (whether it's a sharp blazer or girly dress) has been proven to chemically affect your brain and make you feel more confident.

2. Stand straight.

My posture sucks and I know it. But when I'm going for an important interview or into a client meeting, I make sure to stand straight and tall and push my shoulders back. Why? Because science has proven that standing tall in a confident pose actually affects how we feel about ourselves, and also how other people perceive us. So stand tall and push those shoulders back like you're wearing an invisible crown - or put your hands on your hips like the Superwoman you are.

3. Smile (even if you don't want to).

Smiling has been proven a thousand times over to improve your mood and decrease stress -- even if you're just faking it. But besides that, much like your posture and your clothing, it affects how you will interact with other people. Smiling in an interaction means they will typically respond positively to you, which in turn will increase your confidence.

4. Use a memory of a past success.

How powerful do you feel when you remember a time that you kicked major ass at something? If you're not feeling as confident as you'd like, focus on a time you succeeded and how you felt during that time. It could be anything from solving a big problem at work to getting published to mastering a skill you worked hard at. What you accomplished doesn't matter as much as the feeling you had when you accomplished it.

5. Put on your pump-up music.

In my personal opinion, everyone should have a playlist specifically for when they need to get P to the UMPED UP. Different music works for different people - it could be metal, pop, or classical - but spend some time making a playlist that will get you amped when you most need it (maybe before an important sports game or a big meeting at work).

6. Visualize success.

According to science, visualizing success is an incredibly effective tool for generating confidence. Not only can it help keep you calm and focused on your goals, imagining a task in your mind actually mentally conditions your neural pathways so that it feels familiar when you do it - making it easier to complete. Athletes have been using this technique for years - legendary golfer Jack Niklaus apparently used to visualize all his swings before he took them - as a way to improve their skills.

The most important thing about visualizing success is making sure you're focusing on things you have control over - sorry guys, that means visualizing you winning the lottery doesn't mean it will come true. But if you're nervous about an upcoming presentation at work, for instance, visualizing you presenting with a calm and collected demeanor - and totally kicking ass - can be an incredibly useful tool in helping you achieve the outcome you want.

7. Make a list.

It's absolutely paramount to have goals - but sometimes they can get lost and jumbled in our head. To feel organized and goal-driven, write down all your goals and the steps you can take to achieve them. Whether it's joining a fitness class to get healthier or revamping your resumé to snag a new job - spend some time seriously considering what goals you'd like to work towards, and how to get there.

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