Have you ever seen a garden with colorful blooms and beautiful views and wondered what it takes to build, nurture and maintain a garden? Picking the right plants,working the soil, watering at the right time are just a few of the many things that go into creating a dream garden. I think this metaphor fits perfectly with how women develop confidence: investing in building the right habits and weaving it into the fabric of our being.
I’ve had the honor of working with quite a few successful, inspiring and confident women in my life and in this blog I want to share with you the 12 habits I’ve observed them demonstrate that exude confidence!
Being self-aware is so important in order to lead a happy and content life and this to me is the number one habit of confident women. They know their strengths and opportunities, have done the deep work needed to identify their true purpose and meaning in life. It’s hard to get to a destination without a map or worse yet if we don’t know where we’re headed, right? Some of the most wonderful women I've met, have a true sense of purpose and are keenly self-aware of what makes them tick and what brings them joy.
Set high standards
Les Brown famously said “When you shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars”. Confident women tend to set high standards in everything they do. It doesn’t matter how minute the task is, they pursue excellence and set a high bar for themselves.
Results and people driven
Notice I didn't say just results driven. Building confidence requires both focus on results and also the people around you. Getting results is pointless if you aren’t building relationships and making a positive impact on others through your actions. This is something I've learned from one of my mentors.
True to their authentic selves
Authenticity is being true to yourself in both your thoughts and actions. Humans are hardwired for connection and in this day and age, when we want to fit in with others, it’s easy to do and say things to try to “fit in. However, that’s not the best strategy in the long run and creates this sense of not being true to yourself and reflects as being inauthentic to others. Authenticity and being yourself are one of the key elements of building your confidence.
Don’t aim for perfection
Ever been in an analysis-paralysis mode when making a key decision or putting something out in the world? Aiming for perfection and doubting yourself could contribute to that. One key lesson I’ve learnt is that writing an imperfect blog is better than never writing a perfect blog. I’'m not minimizing the importance of quality work- It’s vital to put in your best effort and focus on quality but know that perfection causes inaction, leading to self-doubt and drains your confidence.
One key strategy to building confidence is to favor action over inaction. Confident women tend to move forward and do the work needed even if it’s not easy. One thing I’ve understood is that our confidence levels might vary based on the subject or situation. Confidence is built taking one small step at a time even when there’s uncertainty and a lot of unknown variables. One of my friends, Amanda, recently ran a marathon and has documented her journey in her blog. This is a great example of what taking action and moving forward can do. It’s the small but key actions she took every day that prepared her for her first marathon. No matter how hard the task ahead is, continue to take small steps and focus on action first.
Step outside of the comfort zone
Growth comes when we step out of our comfort zone and try things that stretch our thinking and challenge us to expand our skills. Let me ask you this question, what is one accomplishment that you are most proud of? How were you successful? Now, I am pretty sure you wouldn't say it was the easiest thing you ever did or it didn’t require you putting in the effort or pushing your limits. For me, some of my proudest accomplishments challenged me to learn and grow. Confidence is built when you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and move forward in spite of fear.
Prioritize Self Care
Confident women don’t see self-care as selfish, it’s seen as an important tool to maintain health and well-being. Notice when you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put on your mask first before assisting others in case of an emergency. The key idea here is that if you run out of oxygen yourself, you cannot help others. Self care is like the oxygen we need to fill ourselves with confidence before we can serve anyone else on this planet.
Invest in growth
Growing and learning broadens our thinking and perspective. It doesn’t always have to involve an expensive course or a conference. It could be as simple as learning a new skill like meditation, reading a book or listening to a podcast. Investing in new experiences gives you the opportunity to struggle and fail your way through learning. When we welcome new experiences and are open to learning from our failures, it fuels our self-confidence!
Mentor other women
In my experience being both a mentor and a mentee, I can tell you that it's a very rewarding way to build confidence. Sometimes we have this notion that we have to be at a certain level or in a certain role to mentor someone. That’s absolutely not true. You are doing a disservice by not sharing your experiences with other women who can learn and grow from it. It doesn't have to be this elaborate or time consuming process. It can be an informal meeting with a colleague to offer your perspective and support.
Surround themselves with other strong women
I’ve shared this a few times in my other blogs but it’s so important and applies in this context as well. The famous quote, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” is another piece to building the confidence puzzle. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, challenge you and support you in your journey is a perfect confidence booster.
Stay humble and centered
Last but not the least is to stay humble and centered regardless of your accomplishments. If I can say there’s one thing common with all the women role models in my life, I would say it’s their ability to stay humble and centered regardless of how far they’ve come in their careers or personal lives. This is such a true gift they offer to people around them by being approachable and flexible.
What are the habits that inspire confidence from your perspective? What habits from the above list have worked for you? I’d love to hear from you!