Shaun T's 7 Powerful Confidence Builders

Full out confidence means that you believe in your ability to handle anything that comes down the street.

November 7, 2017
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Adapted from Shaun T's new book, T Is for Transformation: A 7-Step Program for Digging Deeper, Feeling Stronger, and Living Smarter

Full out confidence means that you believe in your ability to handle anything that comes down the street. There is situational confidence ("I know I can finish this workout/learn this dance move/write this book") and general self-confidence ("I can hit life's serves, lobs, volleys, and move past the errors").

More: Shaun T's 7 Exercises That'll Transform Your Life

Full-out people believe they can make any situation work for them. They live to see a new day, not Groundhog Day. The downside: Overdoing full out-edness can lead to a cocky, know-it-all attitude, so when friends tell you how crazy you're being, you won't even hear them.

Use these tricks to build up your confidence in no time: 

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Exercise #1: Strike the Superwoman (or Superman) pose

Amy Cuddy—watch her Ted Talk "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are"—was right: You can fake it until you become it. Impersonating Superwoman changes your posture and your life. Stand tall! Chest out! Head up! Leap buildings! Be super! Okay, it's just an act, but the act becomes you, if you stick with it. 

More: The Key to Having 'Nothing to Lose' Confidence

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Exercise #2: Change your soundtrack

Remember the life soundtrack? It's the stream of words that we use to describe ourselves to ourselves. Let's face it, that record would probably have a warning label: CAUTION: LYRICS CONTAIN VIOLENT IMAGES, PROFANITY, AND OTHER STUFF NOT SUITABLE FOR HAPPY PEOPLE. Listen to how you address yourself, inside. If it's "You f*&^%g idiot!", change your soundtrack to something more accepting, supportive, and inspirational. Save the curses for your enemies; reserve the best for yourself.  

More: 8 Strategies for Boosting Confidence

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Exercise #3: Invest in exteriors

I'm not just talking about a better haircut or new clothes. Though I'm also not ruling them out. When I was trying to make it in L.A. I gladly went to Ross for last year's styles at used-clothing prices. People buy how you present yourself, and you can do that for free by maintaining eye contact; by speaking slow, loud, and clear; and by smiling more. You'll come off as confident, and people will believe in you more. That should lead to even more smiling. 

More: 21 Ways to Be a Happier Person Every Day of Your Life

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Exercise #4: SWOT the difference

Pull out a piece of paper and list your:

Strengths: What unique skills, knowledge, insight, or passion do you bring to the world?
Weaknesses: Be honest now. What do you hate doing, or repeatedly fail at? Is an addiction starting to mess up your home and work life?
Opportunities: Your supervisor announced that she's leaving the company? Your neighbor is looking for a partner in a business venture? Your online sales initiative is taking off?
Threats: Is your new boss skeptical of your skills? Is your business in a down cycle? 

If you're taking this exercise seriously, you will have filled four pages with your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As you scan them, look for themes that emerge. How do your strengths match the threats? Which weaknesses can you bolster to take advantage of your opportunities? And which of these themes is ultimately going to be most important to you, and provide the most opportunities for growth?

More: Inspirational Quotes From Top Olympic Athletes

Distill those down into three or four specific goals—I'll boost my opportunities by doing X, I'll handle threat Y by developing personal strength Z, I'll take class W to bolster weakness V. Organize your personal to-do list around those goals. Doing the work to figure out not only what's holding you back but also what can drive you forward can give you reason to really believe, and take you there.

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Exercise #5: Distance yourself from Debbie Downer

You know this lady. When the sun pops up, she finds a reason to criticize it. And you. And that new skirt you're wearing. So, as extra credit for the exercise at the end of Chapter Eight, draw up a list of the five most negative people you know, and a separate list of the five most positive. Now draw up a life path that puts you among the positives, and limits access to the negatives. Changing up the soundtrack of what you're hearing all day can change your mental direction at the speed of sound. And, don't forget: Maybe a quick word with Debbie Downer could change her tune as well. 

More: 5 Friends Every Badass Babe Should Have in Her #GirlSquad

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Exercise #6: Put it on the line

Your greatest fear is public speaking? Teach a class in a subject you know cold. Embarrassed by your body? Wear spandex to your new exercise class. Think your opinions aren't worth listening to? Join the book club at your public library. Your demons shrink when you shine a light on them. The bigger they seem, the more reps you need to make them disappear. So, get started. Now. What's your first action? 

More: 4 Ways to Conquer Your Biggest Fears

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Exercise #7: Switch it up

It can, in fact, be dangerous to exercise to exhaustion. But, the opposite extreme has its downsides as well. It can simply be a waste of time to do the same exercise routine every day, with the same amount of effort, until death do you part. So I'm going to throw down a challenge at you: Within your workouts, you should constantly be switching up the amount of weight you're using, the number of reps you're doing, or your exertion level while you're doing it. That's one of the reasons I've included three workout routines my book. If you're new to Shaun T world, any of them can shock your system into a new mode of fitness, just like I did with the workers at the PSERG nuclear power plant in Jersey. Same with you: If you're not turning up the juice in your efforts, your fitness levels go into brownout. 

More: 5 Ways to Make Stress Work for You

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Can you go too full out?

Stop bragging in your Facebook posts, and... 
• Join groups of people who can teach you something.

• Learn a new skill in an area where you're entirely ignorant. Kick-ass accountant? Take a cooking class. Made of muscle? Let me see you coordinate that with timing and grace in CIZE, or hone it through tennis lessons.

• Tackle a problem that's bigger than you are, like hunger in your neighborhood, or illiteracy in city schools. Remind yourself of all you've been given, and start sharing the wealth.

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