#120 | 3 brain hacks to being more confident
In this episode, I built on the Facebook live a upside I did a couple of weeks ago where I talked about the 3 most common work goals that people set. The top goal is around the theme of confidence.
This blog expands on the concepts covered in the Facebook Live.
What is confidence?
To me, confidence includes poise, composure, and self-awareness.
In the dictionary, confidence is defined as: the quality or state of being certain. Confident is defined as: having or showing assurance and self-reliance.
If confidence is something you want, then I share 3 brain hacks to firstly ‘trick’ yourself into feeling confident and this is just the begining of your journey.
To embody confidence into a way of being, you will need to do more work, because to create lasting change, you need to change the way you think.
Afterall, thinking influences how we feel, feelings influences how we behave, our behaviour gives us the lasting results we are chasing.
But don’t despair – if you need a quick fix – these brain hacks might just be the thing you need.
Before we move onto the brain hacks, lets unpack how lack of confidence shows up.
How lack of confidence shows up in the brain
You will firstly notice how it shows up in the brain by listening to your thinking and more specifically your inner critic – the things you tell yourself.
I can’t do this
Why should people listen to me
Others are far more knowledgeable than me
I will stumble over my words, then look like an idiot
This is a fear (or what I refer to as threat) response. Your amygdala is always scanning for threat, whether that be physical threat or social threat.
At this point, your neurochemicals are moving – rapidly. Moving away from your prefrontal cortex (PFC, where you do your thinking) and into your limbic system (where emotion is controlled). Which makes it difficult to think clearly because your PFC doesn’t have enough resources to be at its best.
The brain hacks below may just slow down the rate the neurochemicals are flooding your limbic system to give you enough clarity to get through your immediate confidence crisis.
Hack #01 Reflect on a time you were confident
One of the first strategies I recommend is to write it down a time (or even better a list of times) where you were feeling confident. Reflect on this time in as much detail as you can.
And write it down as if you are a screen play, using all your senses. If the sun was shining, describe how it felt on your skin. What could you smell in the air? What sounds could you hear in the background? Were birds chirping? Was there a hum of an air conditioner?
Once you have written your screen play, its time to notice your thinking, your feeling, your behaviour and what was the result?
Now, look back on everything you have written, and find attributes that you can bring into this new situation you are in.
Hack #02 Give your brain neurofeedback by smiling
There is evidence that your body language may shape who you are. Amy Cuddy calls this ‘fake it until you become it’.
And it works like this: Place a pencil in your mouth – which forces your facial muscles into a smile. Hold it a while.
Neurofeedback is given to your brain, indicating that you are smiling. Under fMRI imaging, it lights up the exact areas in the brain – as if you were actually smiling!
Hack #03 Practice a power pose
This is by far my most favourite and fun suggestion. And it works. It also comes from the research from Amy Cuddy. I encourage you to watch her Tedtalk.
Find a quiet spot (just before you enter into the situation that you lack confidence), and strike a power pose for a few minutes.
If the event that leaves you with the confidence crisis relates to speaking to people in authority – you could also try some of the strategies in Episode #104
Leading up to the event (if it is a planned one) do this power pose a few times a day.
My favourite power pose is Wonder Woman. Go on, give it a try. Just like the pencil trick, this also gives neurofeedback to your brain, letting it know you feel confident.
As mentioned, these hacks won’t give long term confidence.
Longer term confidence can be build by changing your thinking – because thinking influences how we feel, feelings influences how we behave, our behaviour gives us the lasting results we are chasing.
To get that short term boost you need:
1. Reflect on a time when you were confident and draw key lessons from that time
2. Give your brain neurofeedback by smiling
3. Fake it until you become it by practicing your power pose
I have also created a Confidence Worksheet to support you on this confidence boosting journey.