5 CEO Confidence Hacks to Unleash Your Inner Badass

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Nobody likes to admit that they struggle with a lack of self-confidence. I know too well what it feels like to present a certain picture to the world, but secretly worry behind the scenes about what others think, then hesitate and do nothing. For a time, anything just outside of my comfort zone just felt too much for me to emotionally handle, and so my self-sabotage would spiral out of control.

CEOs live in a world where there is a lot of added pressure, part of which is struggling with the emotions of team members, customers, etc. Due to a lack of emotional control, there was a time when I avoided conflict and didn’t maintain boundaries with clients, and this weakness only fueled further negative internal dialogue.

What I learned over time was that this lack of confidence was due to multiple factors and that my childhood played a big part. Being bullied and not standing up for myself rippled well into adulthood, and both dealing with it and healing from it played a big part in instilling the confidence needed to build a successful business.

Here are some tools and practices that I have discovered in the process that may be helpful to those who have a desire to make a greater impact – to do great things in the world:

1. Confident memories moments

Memory plays a huge role in self-confidence. We either draw thoughts from the past that support us or others that hinder us and prevent us from taking actions that we know will help us and our company.

Try this exercise: close your eyes and think back to a time when you felt most confident. This can be any moment in the past, just pick a moment that really made an impression (perhaps a sporting competition). Close your eyes and see again what you saw in that moment, hear what you heard, and most importantly, feel what you felt. Embracing this is an important shift because it also provides an understanding that you are, in fact, in control of your emotional state at all times.

Related: Male entrepreneurs often lead with “What do you do?” Instead of these 7 life and career changing issues

2. The post-wiring exercise

Taking action creates trust, but often we don’t take action because we believe the outcome will be negative. If we do this often enough, we condition ourselves to be procrastinators, and that will only further lower our confidence.

Take a sheet of paper and create three columns on it. On the left, record the action you have committed to take. In the middle column, indicate how you will feel after completing the promotion. Describe in the third why it’s important to go through with it. Unfortunately, when we create a typical to-do list, we don’t take into account that emotions can self-sabotage us. Encouraging yourself to think and feel into a positive outcome will help significantly.

3. Trust Stacking

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big leaps of courage, as they inevitably come with a higher level of responsibility. However, something you can easily do is get involved in smaller initiatives that build and support you in the CEO role. For example, if you’re not approaching strangers over coffee at the moment, start by just saying hello. Then proceed with a compliment. The positive mental reward you get from micro-actions like this is actually a major contributor to broader confidence. When we lack this quality, it’s often because we’re stuck in a mental loop — doing the same thing day after day. As you start breaking this cycle, you will find that you feel happier and lighter and get things done.

Related: 12 ways to boost your confidence in 2022

4. The physical factor

Body image plays a huge role in self-confidence. The more we let health and fitness slide, the more self-esteem pivots. “Not having enough time” is a reliable excuse, but it’s one that can become that biggest self-sabotage statement by many CEOs. Exercising and a healthy diet should become part of a lifestyle as they promote both strength and confidence. If you’re struggling with exercising, ask this question every day: “Is there a real excuse why I can’t exercise today?” Also, make sure to mark the time on your calendar and focus how you’ll feel afterwards, not the process of doing it – know that every workout and healthy meal contributes to both present and future success.

5. Confidence Consequence

One of the reasons we get stuck in low confidence and avoid courage is that we’re not held to doing the things we need to do. A big part of personal development is being aware of when we need to take responsibility and when we don’t. Now think of the things that are easy to trade and that you can count on. Other people may need to take more responsibility to advance such actions, but you don’t do it because it’s easy for you. The consequences of accountability create leverage: Good accountability creates consequences for not taking action, which then compels you to do what is uncomfortable — and you will end up being grateful for that nudge to do something you put off to have.

Related: The 5 steps to building unshakable trust

Building real trust doesn’t have to take long. The right combination of actions can go a long way in creating a momentum that not only affects you personally, but also spills over into work, earning you more respect and more results.

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