Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How to Be More Confident

By: Nazenet Habtezghi, Essence

Go from fainthearted to fearless--or at least look like you have--with these tips

Not as bold as you'd like to be? Not a problem. With these subtle but effective strategies, you can appear more self-assured in nearly any situation.

At the Gym
Confidence Crusher:
After months of saying you're going to, you finally join a fitness club. But the chiseled gym junkies you see on your first visit leave you too embarrassed about your own body to even show up again.

The Cure: Treat yourself to some sleek fitness wear. "When you put on flattering clothes, you feel good about yourself. This helps build and maintain your confidence to keep you going at the gym," says Rana Walker, a mental health therapist and founder of Diamond Cutter, a wellness coaching company in Philadelphia. You'll look good and, most important, show up and get closer to your fitness goals.

In the Club
Confidence Crusher:
You spot a cute brother at the bar you would love to talk to--if he'd step to you. While you watch and wait for him to make the first move, some other sister pulls him onto the dance floor.

The Cure: "If you're too shy to introduce yourself, at least make yourself approachable," suggests Sophfronia Scott, life coach and contributing writer to Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul (Health Communications). No matter how nervous you are, you can project a warm, radiant smile in his direction when he looks your way. "When you smile, it relaxes you, plus it helps you feel more attractive and confident," Scott explains. "It creates a glow that emanates from you. Men see that as a signal that you're not going to reject them."

In the Bedroom
Confidence Crusher: Your man thinks you've turned off the lights to set the mood, but little does he know, you're actually trying to hide your ample curves in the dark.

The Cure: Before you start flicking switches, spend some quality time exploring your body alone. Stand in front of a mirror and pick your best features. "This will help you love the skin you're in, a sexy trait your mate will appreciate as well," says Walker. Then figure out how to flaunt that favorite body part the next time you're with your beau. If it's your rear, for ex ample, put on a sexy thong with a killer pair of heels and saunter around your bedroom showing off your assets. Trust us, it'll raise more than just your confidence.

At the Office
Confidence Crusher:
You want and deserve a raise, but you're just too timid to ask your boss for one.

The Cure: Be sure to do your homework "Lack of experience or information are the main causes of low confidence," says Scott. So first gather all the info you need to plead your case for a promotion. Try creating a detailed outline of the reasons why you're due a raise or job advancement. Then practice, practice, practice what you'll say. By rehearsing, you'll internalize the conversation so that you're comfortable when the time comes to talk to your boss face-to-face. Maintaining eye contact (instead of looking away) and a slight smile (instead of a blank stare) can also help you seem more self-assured.

If You Do Only One Thing…
Rehearse any jitter-inducing things you have to say. You'll internalize the conversation and be more comfortable when it's time to talk.



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