When I was in college, my mother bought me a little coffee table book titled, Everyday Confident: 365 Ways to a Better You, by Jane Garton. I have always thought it was a cute little book. It was purple, my favorite color, and had a cartoon woman on it that looked like she was just hanging out. Surprisingly enough I did not start reading this book until this year. It was sort of an experiment for me, a New Years resolution of sorts, to see if it would actually boost my confidence. Each day of the year, there is a new exercise to try that is supposed to help boost your confidence. Forty-Five days into it and there are some lessons that I’ve learned that I would like to share with you.
Sing Your Own Praises (Day 2)
“Follow the lead of many successful people and use encouraging self-talk to celebrate when you have achieved a goal. Don’t be timid. Talk out loud in an excited tone and heap yourself with praise. Use phrases such as ‘I’ve don it, I’ve done it!’ and ‘I am so clever.’
This lesson took me by surprise, as I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Every two weeks, I set a grocery budget of $50. Most weeks, I rarely make my budget. I’ve spent as much as $70 before. But recently, I was way under budget, coming in at $32 and change. When I saw that number at check out, I exclaimed, “I did it!” The cashier looked at me confused and said, “What?” I had to explain to her that I was just excited that my grocery bill was under budget.
I didn’t stop there. When I left the store, I called my mom and sang my praises some more.
Get A Sense of Direction (Day 6)
“Take a couple of hours and compile a list of short- and long-term goals for yourself. These must be unique to you. They may range from losing weight to sorting out your finances or taking the steps you need to put yourself in line for a new career.”
This one was quite easy for me. I always have in my mind all the things that I want to accomplish in life, but had never put a physical list somewhere I, and everyone else who came to my home could see. But now, I have list of long and short term goals hanging on my refrigerator. It’s not fancy or anything, just white printer paper with a list written in pencil. It includes goals like pay off my student loan debt, go back to school for my MBA, get a job in marketing, and ask for a raise. And it’s public, which means my friends and family can hold me accountable.
Stick Up For Yourself (Day 10)
“Search out a friend, relative or co-worker who always tends to put you down. Today you are going to start sticking up for yourself. Be firm and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that their opinion of you is not held by everyone and, most of all, not by you.”
I am not at all a combative or confrontational person so, no, I did not seek out someone to tell off. But at work one day, an older co-worker of mine approached me about a deliverable that I’d given her. She told me that she had already titled it and that I had overwritten her work with the wrong titled, but I knew I hadn’t. While searching my mind for the words to tell her that she was wrong, gently, she must’ve seen the confusion on my face (I’m very easy to read). She finally asked, “What is it?”
I knew what client she was talking about and I explained to her that my manager had sent a department wide email with the correct ways to label all deliverables and I was following instructions. She then felt the need to prove to me that she wasn’t crazy by showing me an older copy of the email.
Dress To Impress (Day 12)
“Make sure you’ve got a good classic jacket in you wardrobe, ready to wear to meetings or interviews. You can get away with more ordinary trousers and skirts, as well as sweaters and shirts for wearing underneath, but spending money on a stylish, well-cut jacket is worth every penny, every time. So splash out on something special. It will take you places, giving you power, influence and confidence.”
I broke out my peach blazer, which I hardly ever wear because it is so bright, my black peplum top, black skinny pants, and black pumps. I made up my face, which I also hardly every do because it takes way too much time in the morning, and I went to work.
This did somehow make me feel more confident. I was complimented on my appearance by some of my coworkers and according to my fitbit, I was active at work 4 out of 9 hours when usually, I’m at 0.
Desk-top Confidence (Day 21)
“A healthy desk promotes a healthy mind, so introducing order will make you feel more in control, as well as more confident about your work priorities.”
Up until reading this tip, my work desk was organized the way that the person before me had left it and it was not conducive to my own work style. So… I moved around some trays, and moved my physical inbox closer to the opening of my cubicle. This was way more efficient for me. I could see all of the things I needed to get done, and co-workers wouldn’t have to be confused on where to leave my deliverables. It was clear to me what was new and what was old, what needed to be kept, and what could be thrown away.
Date Yourself (Day 32)
“Identify six things you like to do and make appointments with yourself to do them regularly over the next six months. The more you fill your spare time with the things you enjoy, no matter how big or small, the more your confidence will grow…”
This is something that I’ve been doing since college. I call it ‘Meish-day.’ I take a whole day for myself and do all the things that I like to do by myself. Such things include going to a sushi restaurant (and getting Boston rolls), going to the movies, taking a bath instead of a shower, going grocery shopping for prime ingredients and then making something I’ve never made before. Doing this makes me feel like I don’t have to rely on anyone but myself.
Say Hello (Day 37)
“Start chatting to anyone you come across today and don’t be choosy about who it is… Sharpening your social skills in your everyday life helps you to become more confident with people, especially people you don’t know. As a result, you won’t feel threatened or insecure in unfamiliar situations, especially at social events you find challenging such as parties or networking functions.”
This one is very difficult for me. I consider myself painfully introverted and I usually don’t talk to people unless they speak to me first. But, I did it. While on my lunch break, waiting for the microwave to be free, I noticed my manager also waiting. We stood there for a while before saying anything to each other, awkwardly looking into the distance. Finally I said, “How’s your days going?” Yes, I know this is small, and some of you may even think it is trivial, but this was an accomplishment for me. We got to talking about our work loads and although the conversation had probably lasted less than two minutes, I was proud of myself (I’m singing my praises right now!). I am also trying to say hi to everyone I pass in the hallways (or at least smile).
Try some of these exercises and let me know what you think. What are some things that make you feel more confident?
If you would like to read more on Everyday Confident: 365 Ways to a Better You, by Jane Garton, you can find it by clicking on the link.