The glitter of his smile caught the attention of every lady in the crowd. Most of them looked at the man like a hawk targeting its prey. Each of them hoped that he would glance their way, so that she could have a moment of flirty connection with each him.
This same man went to the office the next day, and stood up in front of all the executives there. He looked at his audience and started to smile. He opened his mouth to present an idea he had in mind, and he spoke with an air of confidence filling the room. Eventually, he was able to persuade his bosses to support his idea.
That’s the life story of Luke, the man who was mentioned earlier. He’s not the most handsome man in the world, and he’s not even as bright as others. But his secret weapon to being able to influence others is his confidence. (Not the cocky, nonsense swagger type, but rather a flame inside him that is fueled with believing in himself.)
Luke was born in a middle-class family who sought to give him a good education so that, one day, he could be a supervisor. Along the way, Luke found mentors, both in his school and in his office, who coached him on how to be a better man. Today, he is now on the way to be the youngest executive of his company, and hopefully one day, he’ll start his own big business too.
Luke’s confidence stems from his reason to live. He lives, not because he wants to earn a living or to play it safe, but because he truly wants to follow his passion and make a difference in the world.
A man’s intelligence and skill is watered down exponentially if he’s not confident. It doesn’t matter how high your grade-point average is, or how shockingly high your IQ rating is. What’s important is how you carry yourself in good times and bad times – most people would call this skill “grace under pressure.”
Every man needs this sense of gentle power inside him, a certain balance that carries him through every situation there is. Confidence helps a guy in his relationships, career, finances, street smarts, business, health and many more. Not only that, but confidence is an intangible that every man needs, because there will be days when you don’t know what to do, and people are depending on you to know what to do.
Just like Luke, you also have the power to be as confident. You have a sleeping giant inside of you; it just needs to be awakened, and here are the steps to releasing the power of your giant.
1. Find A Mentor
I have a mentor for each area of my life: my business, my leadership, my career and my relationships among others. This is because mentors can teach you a lot about life through their experiences. In fact, they’ll share with you how they got to where they are now, and they can teach you to get to the same place with less time, energy and effort.
Whether it’s knowing how to court a girl you like, or learning how to do something in business, having a mentor is key to mastering the different areas of your life. Never live your life without one.
2. Practice Talking To Yourself
I communicate to hundreds of people every week, and there are times that I don’t feel too good about myself. When that happens, I look at a mirror and talk to myself to find out what’s bothering me. (SpecificalIy, I ask myself what the matter is, and then I try to encourage and affirm myself with good thoughts.) If things still don’t work out for me, I talk to myself in the car; during this time, I converse with myself until I figure out what’s wrong with myself.
In my experience, men aren’t naturally expressive about their feelings. But talking to yourself is a good way of knowing your feeling, if you are not yet ready to discuss them with people around you.
Friend, you can fool people with your mask, but don’t fool yourself. Knowing the truth about yourself will set you free.
3. Talk Slower
I grew up with a stutter while talking. Many people say it’s because I’m scatterbrained, while others say that I think too fast, and that my lips can’t keep up with communicating my thoughts.
I felt bad about what people were saying about me, because I wanted to make speaking as my life career. I realized that I couldn’t go up on stage and speak jumbled words; doing so would force people to stand up and leave.
I was determined to continue making speaking as my dream. Hence, I started to practice talking more slowly. Other times, I also practiced taking a pause in my talks, and taking a deep breath in order to maintain my internal rhythm. Thankfully, these practices had been very essential to my growth as a speaker; they allowed me to keep calm and collected during my speeches, and they taught me to give power to my talks at the right times.
4. Stand Up Straight
I grew up with a head that was tilted forward, and which made my back look hunched. This position caused me a lot of back and shoulder pain when I was younger, and I felt unpopular with people because of the way I looked. Up to now, I continue to have this posture, and I go through yoga and exercising in the hopes of fixing it one day.
In spite of my hunched position, though, I practiced getting my body in a straight, standing position. Eventually I got into the habit, and I felt that I gained more confidence in my decisions, as well as the way I communicated and related to people. Not only that, but people began to perceive me in the same way too.
How do you stand up straight? Make sure that your pelvis and stomach are tucked in properly. Straighten your back. Spread your shoulders, and push your chin backwards with your index finger.
By accomplishing the above steps, you should be able to feel like your body is one whole straight stick, from the base of your spine to the tip of your skull. In doing so, energy will flow more naturally and easily through your body, and you’ll feel more confident.
5. Breathe Properly
From previous experience, I learned that feeling nervous and having a hunched back causes a person to breathe in a shallow manner. When that happens, he or she doesn’t put enough oxygen in his/her organs, and it causes him/her to function at a weaker state. Hence, she wasn’t breathing in a way that allowed her to be confident?
How does one breathe in a way that boosts confidence? Start by breathing in slowly through your nostrils; as you do this, make sure that your stomach expands when there’s air in it. Afterwards, take a one-second pause and slowly breathe out as well. Do this numerous times, and you’ll eventually feel relaxed in a way that allows you to think better and act more confidently.
Breathing properly is like adding fuel to fire; when done correctly, it gives you power to boost you in what you need to do.
Numerous experiences in the past taught me that, during moments of insecurity, fear and worry, there’s a tendency for people to surrender and panic. One quick example of this was when I was asked one time to dance in front of a crowd. Dancing was something I was uncomfortable with, and I didn’t know what to do in that moment except panic.
I realized, however, that panicking wasn’t going to get me to do what I needed to do. Hence, what I did instead was to imagine myself doing something I was strong at, which was giving talks. When I focused on that thought in my mind, it gave me the courage and strength to start dancing for the crowd.
If you are faced with something that makes you nervous, imagine instead that you’re doing something that you confidently do. For example, if a man was afraid to give a presentation but he needed to, he could imagine himself playing basketball instead because that was his strength.
Setting your mind to doing things that you feel confident about can give you the energy you need to do things that are uncomfortable to you.
I’m a firm believer in the saying that “actions creates your emotions”. Hence, if you remain stagnant while sitting in your office chair all day, the bolts of energy in your body will become stagnant and start dying as well.
What you need is something that push your heart rate faster, such as exercise. And exercise is known to trigger the release of chemicals such as oxytocin, which enables the feeling of confidence in your body.
You don’t need to run a marathon or fight a professional boxer, but you can start with yoga, pilates or any kind of exercise that initiate the release of oxytocin. Go push yourself today.
8. Read Books
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons
Reading books doesn’t only add value to your mind and soul, but it also expands your world. After you read a new book, you learn things about the real world, you start imagining bigger things about life, and you begin to have depth in the way you see life. Aside from that, you can also use the books you read as things you can talk about with different people.
Read a book today. You can start by reading my book, “A Young Man’s Manual To A Successful Life”.
9. Join A Class
After officially preaching for about 2 years, I realized that I wanted to learn more in being confident in myself. So what I did was join improvisational theatre classes with SPIT Manila and Third World Improv. It was in those classes that I learned how important it was to be genuinely true to yourself, and how beneficial that could be when you go out in the world.
You can join an improvisational class too, or you can join other classes like theater, singing, dance and sports/martial arts. The important thing is to find a class that will enable you to grow in confidence in yourself.
10. Fake It Til’ You Make It
Most of the time, when I try out something new, I don’t know what to do. When that happens, I take a pause and move forward. Even though I don’t know how things are going to work out, I put a lot of my trust in God and hope for the best.
I put on this feeling of knowing what I’m going to do, and take another step forward. I continue to take steps forward, and slowly, along the way, I find that I’m able to figure out how to do things. Eventually, I find that I’m now where I need to be.
That’s the trick of faking it ‘til you make it: you don’t need to be all-knowing about the things you do to be confident in yourself. You just have to be comfortable with yourself, trust in God and take steps forward. Eventually, you’ll find that your confidence will start oozing out.
Friend, put your head up high and keep moving forward. One day, you’ll get to where you want to go.
I am here to tell you that you are a great man. You can do great things with your life, and you’re destined to touch many lives. All you need to do is just believe in yourself, and remember that confidence does not come from other people; it comes from within.
You have what it takes to win the world with your confidence!
The Best Is Yet To Come,
*To follow JPaul Hernandez and his stories, you may visit his blog at www.jpaulhernandez.com or https://www.facebook.com/jpaulhernandez/?fref=ts