By Erin Treloar, RAW Beauty Talks Founder
One of the main reasons we started RAW Beauty Talks was because we recognized how many women out there were living with limiting beliefs about themselves that were resulting in a lack of confidence. We’re talking about successful, uniquely beautiful, smart, powerful women. Mothers, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, students, sisters and women who should not be spending their time or thoughts thinking anything other than, “I FKN ROCK!!”. We’re brought up to be humble, to strive for perfection and to avoid conflict or failure which isn’t terrible unless it strips one of building the confidence they deserve.
Why does it matter if we have confidence? For starters having confidence gives us better quality of life and we only get one life so it better be pretty damn good. What is the point of spending your days questioning yourself, feeling fat, stressing over a spelling mistake in an email you sent or battling anxiety about whether or not you are good enough? This argument for the benefit of confidence is personally advantageous but there is another reason confidence is important on a bigger scale. Confidence results in action. It results in more hands going up in meetings, more innovation, greater happiness and reduced cases of depression and anxiety. It will result in more women in leadership roles in the workforce which has the potential to create great change. Striving for confidence is a gift to yourself personally but also to society as a whole.
The great news is, confident people don’t necessarily pop out of the womb ready to take over the world. They aren’t born with a special gene that the rest of us are missing. Confidence is learned and cultivated which means that you too can have it with a little practice.
Keep reading for tips on how to cultivate confidence like a rockstar!
Let go of perfectionism. You will never be perfect. It is just not possible to please everyone at every moment in your life and the reality is that trying to be perfect is actually holding you back from really succeeding. That’s right – trying to be perfect is screwing you over. Study after study have shown that perfectionism is something women struggle with more than men. In school we obsess over perfecting essays and art projects, at home we feel inadequate when we can’t cook, clean, raise the kids and work a full time job. We stop trying new activities out of fear that we won’t be the best one in the room and we don’t lean in enough at work out of fear that we might fail. “Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson, the authors of The Plateau Effect, call this tendency the “enemy of the good,” leading as it does to hours of wasted time. The irony is that striving to be perfect actually keeps us from getting much of anything done.”*
We’re not telling you to stop trying or to give up on reaching for greatness but we do believe we all need to be a little easier on ourselves. Sometimes you just need to hand in that report, sign-up for that 10km run or speak up in that meeting even if the result may not be perfect. If you’ve been a perfectionist your whole life it’s going to take more than reading this to change the thought processes and habits that make you feel the way you feel. Here is a great document outlining some simple steps to overcoming perfectionism.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Putting my hand up here as I have been a major culprit of comparing. The trouble is we often compare ourselves to people we don’t even know. Celebrities, people we read about in the news or magazines, people we’ve seen somewhere on instagram. The accessibility of social media allows us to look into the lives of millions of other people floating by on our feeds making it even easier to get sucked into a vortex of comparison. The issue is that we are seeing a small snip-it of these people’s lives and we are never getting the full story. We’re also comparing ourselves to pictures that have been edited, filtered, Photoshopped, styled and carefully selected before being sent out into the world. It is not real life. So next time you catch yourself endlessly doing the one-finger drag on Instagram or lost in some girl you don’t know’s profile pictures ask yourself, “Is this inspiring me or making me feel less about myself?”. I always try to think one nice thing about the person (no need to cut them down to make myself feel better and a great way to change your perspective about the situation) and then I put my phone away or get onto something more productive.
Get your sweat on! Ahhh the power of moving your body and getting some exercise. It really is amazing. There are so many known benefits to exercise, one of which is that it can help increase feelings of confidence. First of all, exercise helps you release endorphins that give you a natural high and just make you feel better all around. It’s also a great outlet to help manage stress and it can give you clarity of mind so that you see things differently. Often times when we are busy exercise seems to be the first thing we let slide when really it’s probably the thing we need most. It allows us to think clearly so we are better at our jobs and we get a feeling of satisfaction that we’ve done something good for ourselves. Exercise doesn’t have to suck. Find something you love doing or keep mixing it up so that you don’t get bored but whatever you do make time to sweat.
3. Set SMART goals. Okay so you want to be famous, change the world, make a few million dollars and make the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Awesome! Totally possible but if you don’t break these larger goals down into smaller goals first you’ll constantly feel like you’re failing on the road to getting there. We all learned about SMART goal setting in elementary school and it turns out it can be a great way to boost confidence. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely and when used properly this type of goal setting can help you take the steps necessary to achieving your wildest dreams so that you feel a sense of accomplishment. As you check things off your to do list and move forward towards reaching your goals your confidence will soar! Here is a more detailed breakdown on how to set SMART goals.
Change your perspective. There are certain things in life that we can’t change but that being said, we also have an enormous amount of ability to shape our lives. The key to creating a life that you love is to take responsibility for making it happen. No one is going to hand you your dream life on a golden platter. You need to get out there and make it. This includes becoming aware of and taking control of limiting beliefs that pass through your mind. Watch the #IAMENOUGH video and then ask yourself, “What are my NOT ENOUGH thoughts and how are they serving me at this point in my life?” Start to become aware of how often they pass through your mind and then as you notice them stop yourself and switch the thought to something positive.
Another way we sabotage our own confidence is by victimizing ourselves and blaming others for our circumstances. It feels good to pass the blame in the moment but long term it’s getting you absolutely nowhere. It’s important to take responsibility for your life and to understand that you have the power to make it as wonderful or as terrible as you like simply by adjusting the perspective from which you look at things. How does this relate to confidence you ask? When we start to take control of our lives we respect our needs and slowly create a life that we’ve visioned for ourselves. This is the ultimate confidence booster. Next time you catch yourself complaining about someone else ask yourself, “What can I do to change this situation? How would I like this to look? How will I get there?”.