Past experiences, the things people say, even the everyday challenges of life can chip away at our ability to achieve our dreams and goals. ..unless we have confidence.
Confidence gives us the courage to visualize change and take risks necessary to get us there. But let’s face it, every MaeB won’t feel confident about everything in every situation, every day. The good news is there are things we can do to build confidence.
I was not blessed with an invisible suit of armor that makes many MaeBs naturally fierce and invincible. I built my shield many years ago as a new reporter for a small suburban newspaper. As a recent college graduate, I couldn’t believe my editor trusted me to enter politically heated gatherings, interview elected officials and other grown-ups, and come back with accurate stories on my own.
Because I wanted to do well, I gathered as much background information as time allowed, donned my professional best and went to work. I thrived and became a trusted source for news. More importantly, I began a process I continue to use to keep my confidence level high.
Here are some of the things I do to keep myself feeling fierce and invincible. Perhaps they will work for you, too.
|1.||Vote! One of the best ways to say “I matter in the world” is to make sure your vote is counted. Regardless of your political affiliation, your voice is important and voting gives you the power to change or preserve your way of life.|
|2.||Dine out, alone. I tried this after watching an episode of Sex and the City. Dining solo (and enjoying your meal) in a public eatery—without reading material or the distraction of a cell phone—can be liberating. It presents opportunities to chat with people you wouldn’t necessarily meet as part of a couple or group. Plus you’ll see that you won’t always need to depend on the company of others to enjoy yourself.|
|3.||Buy a new shade of lipstick. Every new season offers several new must have shades of lipstick. Finding a new color that’s right for you can be a great way to keep your look fresh and in line with the hottest fashion trends.|
|4.||Take a class. Whether you join a knitting circle at the public library orenroll in aforeign language course at the local community college, developing new skills and expanding your knowledge basecan make you feel even better about all that you have to offer the world.|
|5.||Mentor a young person. Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help others. And with today’s teens dealing with a murder rate that in Chicago surged 27 percent this past summer, making a difference in the lives of our youth is definitely something to feel proud about. To find volunteer opportunities, check with local churches, civic groups and youth organizations.|
|6.||Give your shoes the once-over. Buying a new pair of shoes may not be in every MaeB’s budget this Fall. But that doesn’t mean last year’s styles can’t still make a good fashion statement. Take your shoes to your nearest shoe cobbler/repair shop for a professional polish and spruce-up any wear and tear to their soles and heels.|
|7.||Read a classic I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when reading the final page of any novel. But nothing compares to my sense of achievement after finishing a literary classic…especially when it’s a book I was assigned to read (but didn’t complete) in high school or college. You’ll have to try this to fully understand what I mean.|
|8.||Keep your chin up. I mean this literally and figuratively. Focus on keeping your chin parallel to the ground (rather than pointed downward) and you’ll receive greater eye contact from others, which can lead closer attention being paid to what you have to say, which can help lift your confidence. Also, practice positive thinking…exercising this mental muscle will benefit your psyche, as well.|
|9.||Choose a favorite failure. No one is perfect, which means we can all point to at least one instance when our plans didn’t turn out as we expected. Chances are that we learned something new, strengthened our resolve or built character from these experiences. Identify one mishap or embarrassing moment (large or small) from your past. When you’re feeling less than certain, remember that time and celebrate whatever you gained…more importantly, remind yourself that you can handle whatever challenges come your way.|
|10.||Love yourself! If you can’t feel great about yourself, then how can you expect others to see the greatness in you? Make it a habit to stand in front of your mirror, look yourself in the eye and tell your reflection “I love you because ______________.” Do this every day and fill in the blank with as many reasons as you can find.|