6 Instant Confidence Boosters
By Colleen Rush
It’s normal to have doubts in life. Things don’t always pan out, and you are bound to make mistakes
in, say, love or a job interview. But there’s a problem with regularly assuming the worst outcome. Out of ego protection
or a dip in self-assurance, you prepare for possible failure and, thus, inadvertently sabotage your chances.
you get out of this rut? You need to become cognizant of any pessimistic phrases you habitually feed yourself and switch your
thinking to make it more cooperative with your ambitions. Kind of faking optimism. Here, six harmful thoughts and the instant
trick to boost your confidence.
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #1: "I'm Not a People Person."
Many chicks resort to this
spin to explain why they don’t effortlessly attract tons of attention at parties or keep people spellbound with witty
conversation. But for the most part, it’s just an escape clause to avoid the awkwardness almost everyone feels when
it comes to chatting and mingling.
“By ascribing it to your personality, you convince yourself that it’s
something you can’t change and it isn’t your fault that you’re not a social butterfly,” explains life
coach Judith Wright, author of The One Decision.
But the more you repeat this to yourself, the more it causes
your social life to fester ... leaving you less likely to connect with potential dates and pals. And this reinforces the idea
that you’re just not good with people, trapping you in a negative cycle.
Mental flip: First, understand
that pretty much everyone gets anxious when it comes to striking up conversations with strangers. Once you realize that this
is very common, you won’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t leave an event with a bunch of new phone numbers,
says Wright. Then redefine people person so that the new definition more realistically reflects your personality.
For example, you might not be a natural party girl who meets dozens of guys or career contacts at every function, but you
may be someone who’s really good at connecting with one or two interesting men or a potential boss.
is a much more positive way of thinking, so you’re more likely to succeed,” says Wright.
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #2: "If I Get Too Excited, I'll Jinx Things."
By some strange
act of mental voodoo, you truly believe you’ll ruin a career move, a date with a new dude, or other awesome event by
getting keyed up about it. “It’s a protective move: The only way not to be disappointed if things don’t
work out is to keep your excitement muffled,” explains Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., coauthor of Conquer Your Critical Inner
Problem is, when you stifle your enthusiasm, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that you don’t
expect a happy ending ... which affects your drive and, thus, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, others are likely
to be influenced by your underlying negativity — say you’re going for a promotion but your boss senses a lack
of passion, so you may not land the gig.
Mental flip: While it’s wise not to get so wound up that you
put all of your eggs in one basket, you’ll increase your odds of success if you let yourself fully feel your excitement,
says Firestone. In other words, daydream about that new guy becoming your boyfriend ... but hold off on assuming he’s
“When you allow yourself to imagine good things, the exhilaration fuels you and improves your chances
of success,” says Firestone. “Even if things fail, your excitement makes you feel more alive and up for another
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #3: "I Hope I Don't Make Anyone Uncomfortable."
Often a chick
will be so afraid of upsetting or imposing on another person that she never stretches her boundaries and makes waves in the
“When you become fearful of inconveniencing or offending others, it locks you in place,” says Wright.
A few examples: not going after a guy you like because a buddy has a crush on him or never coming clean to your parents that
you’d rather skip the home-for-the- holidays ritual this year in favor of a dream vacation to Hawaii.
flip: Next time you find yourself worrying how something you want will affect others, ask yourself: This might make
someone uncomfortable, but is their discomfort a valid reason for me not to go for what I want? As long as you’re
not lying, cheating, or carelessly causing someone pain, you owe it to yourself to pursue your goals.
to truly believe that it isn’t necessarily your problem if someone else becomes upset,” says Wright. You don’t
want to be a thoughtless jerk, but you can’t always put other people’s happiness before your own.
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #4: "I'm in Way Over My Head."
When life gets tough —
like if you have started a new job and are sweating under the pressure — it’s a common knee-jerk reaction to conclude
that you don’t have what it takes to deal.
“Many women view a challenge as something that magnifies their
flaws, and they withdraw rather than fight because they don’t want to look foolish or incompetent,” says Wright.
The result: When you reflexively think that you can’t handle something, you never find out what you’re truly capable
Mental flip: Whenever you encounter this kind of difficulty, don’t look at it as an automatic roadblock
but rather as an opportunity to prove yourself. Get your mojo pumping by imagining how amazing you’ll feel after you
successfully tackle the job. “Visualize yourself after the pressure is over, when you’re satisfied and proud of
what you’ve accomplished,” says Wright.
Another way to change your thinking is to pretend that the little
voice telling you that you aren’t up for the challenge is coming from someone who wants to see you falter, like a nasty
coworker or ex-friend. “This is a great motivator in pushing you out of a comfort zone because you’ll show that
voice that it’s wrong,” says Wright.
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #5: "They Know I Want It, So They'll Come to Me."
what you tell yourself when you’re waiting for your boss to offer you a raise or for your guy to bring you flowers for
no reason. “It’s a way of avoiding speaking up for yourself or asking for what you want,” explains Dan Neuharth,
Ph.D., author of Secrets You Keep from Yourself.
So why do so many women think this way? Maybe you have a sense
of entitlement — you believe that you deserve the raise and, therefore, shouldn’t have to ask. Or perhaps you
think asking for it sucks the integrity out of getting what you want. So when you’re bypassed for the job or your guy
brings home a six-pack instead of a dozen roses, you get angry or annoyed.
Mental flip: Consider this: The temporary
discomfort of asking for what you want is way less painful than not getting it. “If you want something badly enough,
the rewards of speaking up outweigh any awkwardness,” says Neuharth.
Doing this also puts you in charge of your
own happiness so you don’t end up waiting around for someone else to make things happen for you ... nor are you sitting
around assuming that people can read your mind. “Your unspoken expectations may not be on the other person’s radar
at all,” says Neuharth. “It’s perfectly okay to remind them.”
DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHT #6: "It'll Happen if It's Meant to Be."
This mantra makes
you think that cosmic forces will miraculously drop opportunities in your lap ... without your having to do any heavy lifting.
“By convincing yourself something is out of your control, what you’re really saying is that you’re afraid
to make the first move,” says Wright. So when a job opening you hear about through the grapevine doesn’t seem
to materialize or the fabulous apartment you applied for goes to someone else, you conclude that it wasn’t in the cards.
flip: You can affect fate ... by taking action. Often it’s a matter of making a few tiny moves to get the ball rolling.
“One or two small steps give you momentum to take others until you’ve made progress achieving your goal,”
If you follow up on the job lead or dial up the landlord of the apartment you’re after and make
it clear that you’re the right person to sign the lease, at least you’ll be able to take credit for your success,
says Firestone, instead of leaving it to slippery concepts like karma or luck.
Why Being Overly Confident Isn’t Smart Either
These rah-rah statements actually
undermine your goals.
“It’s my destiny.” Thinking that you’re fated to do something makes you
forgo the work it really takes.“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.” Pinning your hopes on one scenario
can be devastating if it fails.“I’m a natural at it.” When your “natural” gift backfires on
you, it’s a major blow to your self-esteem.“There’s nothing to worry about.” If you believe this,
then you’re practically asking to be blindsided.