When was the last time you felt totally insecure and unconfident in yourself and your abilities?
Last Monday, at work, I received an invitation to a meeting that threw my entire week for a spin. I was invited to a meeting that would take place on Friday to talk about an assignment I played a role in, and apparently an important public official was going to be present. My entire division was STRESSED when I walked into the office.
I knew something was important because all of my higher-ups were literally telling me “THIS IS A SUPER IMPORTANT MEETING.” At the beginning of the week, I was pretty chill about everything.
As the week went on and more people start talking to me about the meeting, the more my stress and anxiousness was increasing.
It got to a point on Thursday night, where I questioned this job, my own engineering acumen, and whether I was ready for this meeting emotionally at all. But, by the beginning of the meeting, I was ready emotionally and mentally.
I was confident on Friday morning – so confident, one of my higher-ups was a little worried by how calm I was.
“I don’t think you really understand the gravity of this moment. You seem pretty confident.”
I realized that my confidence that afternoon was tied directly to 5 things I did before the meeting.
Here are 5 things you can try this week to boost your confidence when you’re under pressure.
1. Listen To Positive Music
I have an extensive library of music. I have everything from Trap to Gospel Music; N’Sync to Kanye West.
My music tastes and what I’m listening to usually is based on my current mood – if I’m feeling happy or super hype one particular day, I’ll play music that matches that emotion. But, I’ve noticed that whenever I’m sad, stressed, or depressed, I’ll turn to artists and songs that only reinforce that emotion. On that Thursday night, I decided to turn off the depressing songs and listen to music that actually encouraged and made me feel like I could get through this tough day. Music is a powerful medium. Listen to music that uplifts you.
2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
One of the reasons I walked into that meeting confidently was because I had prepared to the best of my ability. I reviewed my work, made the appropriate corrections, and had everything prepared. One of my main confidence killers is when I’m unprepared. As the cloud of insecurity and doubt started to gather around me, I reminded myself that I had prepared myself to the best of my ability. I knew the ins and outs of the assignment. I completed all of the tasks that the assignment called for. I knew what I knew and I knew what I didn’t know. For many of us, the reason we don’t feel confident in some situations is because we walked into those situations unprepared. So ask yourself, what can you do to be the most polished and prepared version of yourself? Does that mean you have to practice that presentation? Does that mean you need to have someone look over your report? Does that mean you need to wake up a little earlier than usual to get yourself together? Get prepared.
3. Dress Confidently
I’ve noticed over my college years that clothing can convey confidence, even if you’re not exactly the most confident. For many of us, when we feel less than confident, we dress less than confident. We stop taking pride in our appearance. But for this meeting, I knew I needed a confidence boost. So I made sure I was dressed, not only in a way that was appropriate for the occasion, but also made me feel good about myself. So I threw on one of my favorite dress shirts and a nice tie. I didn’t care that it was casual Friday. No one was gonna catch me slipping. My mom always told me it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Now I’m not saying that you should engage in retail therapy. I’m just saying that if you want to feel confident, dress in a way that is conducive to that.
4. Encourage Yourself
One of the questions that kept coming to me over the week was “Don’t you know that “Mr._____” is gonna be at the meeting?” For them, the position and power of the person should have been a reason I should have been a nervous wreck. I don’t know whether it was pride or confidence, but my mental reply every time someone said “Don’t you know who’s going to be at the meeting?”, was “That’s cool. But I’m Vladimir Jean-Pierre. I’m a somebody too!”
Don’t get me wrong. I had great respect for the position and the title, but I wasn’t going to let someone’s position or title make me less confident in who I was. So before the meeting I encouraged myself. I reminded myself of my own accomplishments. I reminded myself of what God thought about me. I started complimenting myself. Not in a cocky or prideful way, but as a way to combat the negative thoughts I already had about myself. I had to remind myself that I am smart, that I am a good communicator, that I am a good engineer.
What do you think about yourself? What do you say to yourself? What you think about yourself will determine how far and high you go in life.
5. Listen To The Right People
Stress and insecurity can be contagious. And it was all in the air during the days leading up to the meeting. But I knew I had to talk to individuals who would encourage me.
Their confidence became my confidence. Their belief became my belief. Some of us surround ourselves with doubtful people and wonder why it’s so hard to be confident. The reality is, not everyone should be able to speak into your life. Especially, if all they do is say things that discourage and leave you unmotivated.
Who are the people you can call up that will affirm you and encourage you? Keep a mental note of them and hit them up whenever you need a quick pep talk. Who you listen to will make a huge difference in your confidence levels.
What situations do you need to be more confident in? Is it at work? Maybe it’s a job interview you have coming up. Maybe you have to give a speech and you’re a nervous wreck. Maybe you just need to be more confident in life.
Which of these 5 tips can you incorporate into your life starting today?
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