How to hack your way to a confident mindset…

The concept of confidence has been the subject of intensive study in recent years – researchers around the world have been asking the question – “how can we feel more confident?”. Everyone’s heard the advice “Fake it till you make it.” But no one ever tells you how. And if it’s been a while since you felt truly confident it’s hard to know where to start.

As a mum looking to go back to work, or grow your business, the struggle can be even greater after so much time away from the workplace. If this sounds like you (and let’s be honest – we all struggle with confidence from time to time!) we have some good news. It turns out confidence can be hacked. Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on what the science says, and how you can put this to use.

But first of all, why is confidence so important? Ultimately, other people believe what you put out there. If your body language shows you don’t feel confident, others are less likely to feel confident in your abilities.

It’s easy to see how this could have a detrimental effect in a job interview or client meeting – but don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. The KMPG Women’s leadership study found that women lacked the confidence to ask for a mentor (79%), pursue a job opportunity beyond their experience (73%), request a raise (61% ), and request a new role or position (56%).1

That’s why the research is so important. Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP) is a psychological approach that analyses the behavioural patterns and beliefs of successful people, and empowers others to apply these techniques in their own lives. While some of the findings have been contested, many have testified to the power of NLP. Here at Successful Mums, we want to share our top two NLP techniques for developing confidence from the inside…

The Growth Mindset – believing you can

Originating from American psychologist Carol Dweck’s educational research on children’s attitudes towards failure, the growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and skills are not set in stone. Dweck found that children who had a positive outlook on failure, and believed in their ability to develop their talents were more resilient and reached higher achievement levels than those with a fixed mindset, who believed their abilities could not be developed through time and effort.

So what does this have to do with confidence? And how can you adopt a growth mindset? When job hunting, or pitching to new clients and customers as an entrepreneur, failure is inevitable, and it’s easy to let it knock your confidence. The growth mindset approach encourages you to focus on one word – ‘yet.’

Instead of viewing failure as an absolute judgement on your abilities, telling yourself that you just haven’t got there ‘yet,’ can help you to develop a resilient approach to your career development. This isn’t to say that you should suppress or deny feelings of disappointment when you experience a set-back – that’s not healthy for anyone – but believing in your ability to grow from failure does help you to bounce back quicker and remain calm, confident and resilient. And when you start to feel that way, others will see it too!

Power Posing – a 2 minute ticket to confidence and calm

Imagine the scenario – you’re waiting to go into a job interview, or you have an important pitch to a new client in half an hour. What do you do? We can bet your first thought isn’t “I’ll go into the bathroom and stand like Wonder Woman for 2 minutes.” But that’s what social psychologist and researcher Amy Cuddy recommends. In her TEDtalk titled ‘Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are’ Cuddy shares the results of her research, which looks at the relationship between body language and feelings of power. She found that standing or sitting in an assertive and open posture for two minutes raised testosterone levels – which is known to increase feelings of confidence – and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In contrast, adopting a closed off posture and making your body take up as little space as possible, had the reverse effect.

With these findings, Cuddy created the concept of ‘Power Posing,’ as a way to hack into our body’s physiology to increase feelings of confidence and calm. She suggests that in stressful situations – and big career moves definitely qualify as stressful – you should stand in an expansive posture for a few minutes to increase your chances of success. The ‘Wonder Woman’ pose, standing with your legs in line with your shoulders and your hands on your hips, has become one of the most popular, but you can stand or sit in any open posture which makes you feel powerful and confident.

Of course, it’s advisable not to adopt obvious power poses while you’re actually in an interview or meeting situation- at best it would come off as slightly strange! But taking two minutes in the toilets beforehand to stand in a powerful posture could be just what you need to calm you down, increase your feelings of confidence, and help you bring your best self to any situation.

If you still feel you need a little extra support with your next career move, or to grow your business, Successful Mums is here to help. 92% of mums feel more confident and career ready after attending one of our training courses, and 96% of mums would recommend us. Apply today and watch your career and your confidence flourish.

Words by Izzy Wilson

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