It is guaranteed that you have been told this at some point in your life, “just be cool,” “be yourself,” “be chill,” “they will like you for you,” and “hey, be confident!”
This is all the worse advice in the world. It doesn’t mean anything and if I told you, “before your interview, just be confident.” You will look like a deer in the headlights. Even if you see someone across the bar and I told you to just be cool. You would still say, “okay cool, thanks for the advice. What do I say?” (by the way, you can learn how to start a conversation here) You need something specific.
Let’s talk about how to practically be confident.
Before we do that, we need to identify the two different types of confidence. I know, you probably didn’t know there were types of confidence.
The first is Situational Confidence:
This confidence is misleading. It is the type of confidence that you get when you buy new clothes or get a new haircut. It is the type of confidence that is very ego-based (I dive into a lot about ego here as well).
Let’s draw a picture, if you are hosting a party or event and people come up to you and tell you how amazing your party is and/or, even better, how amazing YOU are (it happens). You will carry yourself in a better way. You are validated.
But what happens when everyone leaves? What happens the next week when your boss yells at you about doing terrible work? Your confidence is gone.
Another scenario would be going to a bar or an event WITH your friends. You are comfortable because you have a safety net to always have someone to talk to this will then lead you to be more confident.
What if you don’t know anyone? What if you can barely say hi to the greeter at Walmart? Quit holding that beer to your chest at the corner of the bar and be confident when talking to strangers! Of course that isn’t practical.
Before we talk about how to be confident practically, lets take a trip back to our childhood.
When we were young, usually between middle school and high school we were often shamed. If you were not shamed, then you may have been the shamer. So thanks for years of trauma, deuces. Anyway, remember those times when you were interested in a boy or girl and classmates would of course find out. They would then tell everybody, including your crush, then all hell would break loose.
You would constantly be shamed, bullied, and, unless you were lucky as hell and your crush liked you back, good luck on talking to that person again. If you can’t tell already this has happened to me plenty and it severely affected my confidence growing up. I have gotten so many damn teddy bears for all these girls when I was in middle school. I have done the note thing and embarrassingly in a senior yearbook. Not my proudest moment.
I was a hopeless romantic nonetheless and this led to zero confidence. Didn’t take until late college where I finally started to gain confidence in the professional and social world. How did I do it? Did it just happen? Absolutely not. There is only one way, that I am aware of, that gains genuine confidence. Or what we will refer to as:
This is the type of confidence that we all strive for. The difference between this and situational is fairly intuitive. Core confidence does not rely on any validation, any new haircut, and even a new leather jacket! I know, hard to believe. Core confidence stems from within and it leads to you believing every word you say, which will make the one on the receiving end also believe it.
How do you distinguish whether you have situational confidence vs core confidence?
Simple, are you confident everywhere and talking to anyone? Or are you nervous talking to someone at work, going to say hi to someone at the bar, or even worse going to an event, bar, party, any social gathering A-L-O-N-E. My body was shaking as I typed that.
This is extremely nerve-wracking for a lot of people, including me, how can you go out alone? I will write an entire post on going to an event alone. It will push you out of your comfort zone like you wouldn’t believe.
Back to core confidence.
How do we be confident practically?
There are many ways people will tell you to be more confident, but I think it all stems from one word. This one word is exactly how you can measure your progress on being more confident. That one word is:
Experience creates confidence. That is one thing I know for sure. As I reflect on my life, even at 26, I didn’t truly become very confident until 22-23. This is, of course, when I graduated college and lived in my parents basement. Wish I had the confidence I have now back in college, I would have had a lot more fun.
Lets dive deeper. How do you get experience? This is exactly how we will learn to be confident practically.
I am sure you have experienced this too. You gain confidence through seeing real results at the gym, getting a cute guy or girls number, getting a promotion. These are real metrics that you attribute your confidence to.
But you still have to start. You need to show up to the gym,
need to go up to that person, or need to apply, or ask, about that dream job
opportunity. This will then be the experience that will result in real core
Let’s practically talk about those three I mentioned:
Going to the gym:
This is very common for people. A lot of people are too intimidated, nervous, or uncertain about what exactly to do. I will talk about actual fitness plans later, however, having some structure is good so you don’t feel and look lost. Also, do not be afraid to ask a more veteran gym goer or personal trainer for help on what to do and good form so you don’t get hurt. It is their job. Don’t let your ego get you hurt.
Another great practical tip is to go with a friend and just be honest with them by mentioning that the gym makes you nervous, again, don’t let your ego stop you with progressing and gaining core confidence. You can start by doing introductory fitness classes, yoga classes, or sports leagues. Other than helping you get more accustomed to going to the gym and sweating in front of people, this is a great way to meet people too. It’s very practical and you will not regret it.
Going up to a guy or girl at the bar:
Preferably without any alcohol, but I understand that the general population needs that to “loosen up.” This is a very big way to gain real core confidence. The reason isn’t necessarily the successes but the failures. The more you do this, the less you will get affected when they reject you. Yes, I said “when” because it will happen, and you will over time get numb to it. This is an experience that you need to go through.
Of course, it feels amazing when you get their number, take them out on a date, and it ends up working very well. Those are the moments when you say, “I am so happy I did that.” It’s the opposite that will hurt so much more than the rejection. The “what if” is what kills my friends and I way more than a “no.”
If I knew that the girl standing in front of me was going to be an amazing experience, girlfriend, or even my wife, and I was too nervous to say anything, I would be extremely pissed.
Applying or asking about the dream job:
It took me three years to finally get the job I have now. Three years of constantly emailing, annoying, and even scheduling interviews. Persistence is everything. Of course, I will write an entire post on persistence, but this really is why I got the job while having very little experience. This action is exactly how I learned to be more confident.
With all the practical tips I listed above as well as a brief history as to why our confidence may be shaken at an early age, and even some embarrassing stories about me, I believe that you will begin your journey on getting core confidence. No more faking it ‘til you make it, experience is what creates confidence.
Also, I would highly checking out my entire book recommendation list. Knowledge is a great advocate for confidence.
Now go to that fitness class, go up to that person at the bar, and email that hiring manager on why you will be a great fit!
Post below on an experience you have had with any of the categories I listed that helped you get core confidence, I would love to hear them!