Do you ever see that woman who walks into a room and commands attention because of her confidence? Just by looking at her, you find it difficult to imagine she is ever nervous or unsure of herself. Confidence is such an important facet of success -- it’s not that you’re always sure you’ll succeed, but that you will have no problem handling the outcome if you fail.
As a personal trainer, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of confidence when it comes to achieving results from working out. The gym or any kind of new fitness endeavour can be terribly nerve-wracking for many people, and the catch-22 is that having confidence can help you succeed at your fitness goals. So, I asked a few of my confident female friends for their best advice on how they manage to be such confident women. Here’s their advice to use in life AND in the gym:
1. "I do consider myself confident now -- that wasn’t always the case. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that people aren’t even thinking about what I say, or wear, or do, and that has made me far more confident." -- Kim
Remember the old advice for public speaking or interviews, where you were supposed to imagine everyone else was in their underwear? Well, this is a similar concept. Next time you’re feeling nervous or unsure of yourself, recognize that everyone around you is so busy feeling the same way about themselves, they don’t have time to notice what you’re doing or wearing. It can be really liberating to realize that most of the time when you’re working out, no one is paying attention. Bask in that anonymity and enjoy your workout!
2. "My dad taught me that if you say it like you mean it, then people will believe you. I have found that this works on myself. Stand up straight, look people in the eye, and speak clearly. It's amazing how it can help you to feel more confident. Let your posture lead the way." -- Shannon
Posture can have a huge impact on whether you’re perceived as confident, and when people think you’re confident, it reinforces that idea of yourself in your mind. It’s a bit like forcing yourself to smile when you feel down -- sooner or later the feeling you’re trying to "fake" becomes the way you really feel. Next time you’re trying something new, like a spin class or free weights, act confident and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help!
3. "I act confident outwardly and expect rejection and failure. I don't see this as pessimism, rather that I'm prepared for things not to work out, so I'm comfortable with an enormous amount of professional risk taking. With making attempts comes some inevitable successes -- some of which I never would have thought would be a success! This has translated to my approach to fitness, that I should never be afraid to fail, because it’s the process that matters more than the outcome." -- Emily
You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try. I have a friend who took a yoga class on a whim, expecting to be horribly inflexible and out of her element. To her surprise, she picked it up really quickly. Four years later and she’s a certified yoga instructor. Even if you believe you’re not going to be able to do a certain kind of workout, attempt it anyway! You never know where your hidden skills may lie.
4. "Confidence has a lot to do with distancing myself from ideas of perfection. It's infinitely harder to feel good about who you are today (which confidence requires) when you're beating yourself up over your flaws, imperfections, and unmet goals." -- Alicia
This is a big one, guys. You don’t have to be perfect at everything. Even when you’re working hard at something, even when you’re good at something, you’re always going to have "off" days, and that’s okay. As a runner, I’m used to having a race where I do amazingly well followed by one where I feel awful and have a really poor result. That’s okay -- it’s part of life.
5. "Always think of yourself as the original, as if no one is like you, and don’t compare yourself to another. Comparison is the seed of self doubt." -- Jihane
Everyone has things they’re good at and things they’re terrible at doing. Recognizing that you are unlike anyone else leads to the realization that it’s a waste of your time to compare yourself to anyone. It’s not a personal failing to never get the hang of Zumba while your friends look like they’re born dancing. I guarantee there’s some form of exercise you’re great at that those same friends would find near impossible.
What’s the best advice you’ve heard on becoming confident? Have you ever used that advice when you’re working out?