Earlier this week I photographed another photographer (Natasha from Cocodash) in my studio and by the end of the day I felt a mix of elated excitement and nagging self doubt. This concerned me at first, because I’m meant to be the girl who has self-confidence licked. But the fact is, I’m still just a human with a fragile ego who goes through the same bouts of low self confidence as everyone else.
The next day I read an article that shared 6 Ways to Increase Your Confidence on a daily basis and when I read them, I realised that I was already implementing them and they were already helping me experience fewer of those low self-confidence moments.
6 Ways to Increase Your Confidence & How I Implement Them
The authors tips were:
- Just Say ‘Yes’
- Keep a Record of Positive Feedback
- Sit Still
- Rock Out
- Give Yourself Some Credit
- Remember We’re All Just Figuring It Out
1. Just Say ‘Yes’
Don’t allow your ego to talk yourself out of a situation that’s good for you, one that ultimately stretches you out of the safety of your comfort zone. I was the one who asked this Natasha, this other photographer, if I could photograph her. Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s a lovely person who I knew would be patient with me as I practiced and experimented with her as my subject. But the closer the shoot day came, the more nervous and unsure I became. She’s a really great photographer with a keen eye for the smallest detail and sets an extremely high standard. I began to worry that she might critique how I conduct my shoots and judge me for it. Of course she didn’t do anything of the sort, and before I allowed myself the chance to back out, I stepped up and did it. If nothing else, I could learn from the process and in the end, the result was gorgeous images, the freedom to experiment in a low pressure environment and a fund day spent with a colleague.
2. Keep a Record of Positive Feedback
All too often when we receive a compliment or good feedback, we easily fob it off as undeserved or untrue or biased. But let us get a complaint or criticism and suddenly the weight of the world is carried in that single sentiment. I’m guilty of doing this too.
So over the years, to offset this tendancy, I’ve created a folder in my inbox titled ‘Testimonials’. At first it was to keep a list of testimonials I can use on my website, but over time it’s turned into a resource that I tap into when I need a lift in my confidence. It’s my reminder of how the work I’m doing is positively impacting other people and making them happy and when I read them, I feel more self assured and confident of the work I’m doing.
3. Sit Still
As the author of the article states, success is a mental game. It’s the consistent effort you make to check your thoughts and manage where they go. I’m definitely not at Zen-Master guru level, by any stretch of the imagination, but what I do daily is my Brain Gym (there’s a future blogpost about Brain Gym!) I visualise the outcomes I want and I listen or say positive affirmations among other practices that help me manage my thoughts. I listened to a great podcast by James Wedmore on the Mind Your Business Podcast about meditation and it really took off the pressure of having to be silent for an hour a day before sunrise! Instead, mediation can take the form of walking silently in a forest, or sitting for 5 minutes in bed and breathing deeply for getting up and starting the day. For me, it’s all about doing the things that get me closer to being the best version of myself in small bite sized chunks.
4. Rock Out
It’s no secret that music has emotive powers. Think of those tear jerking movies you love! Or the one where the hero saves the day. There’s always music in the background to tap into the emotions the director wants you to feel at that point in the movie. In my world there’s a constant soundtrack playing in the background. I can’t work without music breaking the deafening silence. I’ve set up specific playlists according to the mood I want to be in. I have a ‘Chill’ playlist for when I need to relax or focus, like when I’m writing blog posts. I have a ‘Boost’ playlist for when I need higher energy and happy vibes, like when I’m with a client. In fact I can’t photograph a client without music. It makes me feel uneasy and self conscious and those are definitely not the vibes I want to be bringing to the room.
5. Give Yourself Some Credit
When we remember our past successes, it makes it easier to take on new challenges that can lead to future successes. The first time I hiked to the top of Lion’s Head in Cape Town I was scared stiff at the section of the route where the main option is to climb up the chain ropes and steps. Although I froze to the spot, mid-climb, I did it! Not just on the way up, but on the way down too. Just this week, I found myself climbing a ladder in a construction site to get a shot for a client (as you do) and when the thoughts of “How am I going to get down?” or “It’s gonna hurt if I fall off this ladder!” started creeping into my head and nearly preventing me from climbing up, I just remembered that I had successfully climbed to the top of Lion’s Head, and this measly ladder was nothing compared that! Of course, I got the shot as you can see below…
6. Remember We’re All Just Figuring It Out
Nobody is unaffected by low self-confidence. Sure, some people manage it better than others or they experience those lows less frequently. But the fact is, if you’re human, you have at some point in the past, and you will at some point in the future experience lower self-confidence. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s the people who carry on regardless that appear to have an endless supply of confidence. I’m sure if I were to ask Natasha, my photographer friend, if she still has days where she’s feeling a little low on the confidence scale, she’d admit that she does. Hell, I bet Oprah still has days where she’s not feeling her over-the-top confident self. We all experience the same emotions, just at different times and in different ways. When I look at it that way, it definitely does make it easier to just soldier on and stop concerning myself with how easy and effortless it looks for other people.
I hope the sharing of this article and the 6 Tips for Feeling More Confident has helped you. And I hope that the stories of how I manage and implement them makes you realise that you are probably already implementing them too. If not, get cracking!
I’d love to hear from you – What do you do to make yourself feel more confident?