On Becoming the Confident Person You Aspire to Be

Written by on April 4, 2014 in Self-Awareness, Sense of Purpose

Fake it till you make itWhat do you think is the fastest way to become the confident person you aspire to be? Possibly it’s by sheer willpower or enforcing positive self-talk? How about visualization or affirmations?

While each of these tools is effective in its own way and can support your efforts, individually they are only pieces of the puzzle.

You must be the person you have never had to courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent. ~Paulo Coelho

The Secret to Becoming That Confident Person is …

The fastest way to develop new behavior(s) is to simply begin acting like the person you aspire to be – often referred to as “fake it till you make it.” For example visualizing yourself as a confident speaker is great, but in order to achieve that vision, you must take action in a way that enables you to become that confident speaker.

Education and practice will provide you with the foundation you need, but eventually, you will have to move outside the classroom. Our tendency as a society is to look at people who have achieved success in some area and see them only as they have become, but if you look at their individual histories you’ll see that in each case there were struggles and failures (sometimes many) overcome along the road to becoming who they are today.

Each of those experiences enabled them to be stronger and more resilient and taught them a bit more about how to behave like the person they aspired to be.

Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful. ~Mark Victor Hansen

Where to Begin

It may be easier to understand the process if we look at the term “fake it till you make it” a little closer. This is not about simply pretending you’re someone or something you’re not – there’s no growth or fulfillment possible from that perspective.

What we are talking about is simulating a behavior you desire to master as you actively work toward making that a natural part of who you are … it may help to think of this as you creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyone can do this and it works whether you just want to learn to say “no” without feeling guilty or you aim to achieve growth in your career. And trust me on this – as someone who’s been formally labeled as an “extreme Introvert” – I can tell you from firsthand experience that you do not need to be especially outgoing or overly confident, you do however need to believe in your ability to grow, committed to doing the work, and passionate about achieving your desired outcome.

Here are a few strategies to help you get started.

Be Very Clear About the Behavior You Want to Develop

If you want to achieve a meaningful change you need to be specific. Deciding you’d just like to become more confident in life is admirable, but it doesn’t give you a target or anything tangible to work with, so it’s best to pick one area to focus on and build from there.

Let’s say you want to be seen as more confident at work and you decide one way to do that would be to speak up more often at meetings. The first thing you’d want to do is find a role model, someone who doesn’t just speak up, but effectively contributes to the discussion. The next step is to observe and learn from their behavior and think in specific terms about what they contribute to meetings and how you might be able to adapt that behavior to your own unique personality and perspective.

Once you have a clear image of your desired outcome, then you can begin practicing at home (This is where visualizing yourself confidently contributing to the meeting can help you.) and depending on the nature of your support system, with family and friends.

When you’re ready to step out of your shell at a meeting, try to be among the first to speak and don’t worry about making a grand statement. Even if you speak up just to agree or ask a question, it’s much better to make your presence known early so that you don’t end up losing your nerve. If at all possible choose a topic ahead of time that’s important to you so that you’ll be ready to chime in.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Setting high standards for yourself is admirable, but don’t make them so high they are impossible to achieve. You’re far more likely to stick with your plan if you’re able to see a few early successes. As soon as you master one small goal, reach for another and another.

We often focus our attention on BIG changes but the truth is that most change happens gradually over time. You may not even realize how much you’ve changed until one day it suddenly dawns on you that you are no longer faking it, you have become that confident person you aspired to be!

Redefine Your View of Failure

When it comes to your personal growth the only true failure is to stop trying. A certain measure of discomfort and occasional stumbles are a part of growth, but these experiences often present us with our greatest lessons. If you learned something, even if it’s what not to do again, the experience wasn’t a failure.

While it’s unrealistic to expect overnight results, if day after day you consistently act out the change you want, before long, the person you pretend to be will become the person you were always meant to be.

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.

Thank you for sharing!

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23 Reader Comments

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  1. Marty Diamond
    Twitter:
    says:

    Whenever I try to do a bit of self improvement – enlisting the help of a friend can make a big difference – whether doing it together or providing support/accountability – there’s nothing quite like stating what you’re trying to accomplish to another person to keep you on track.

    BTW – the new layout of your site is really great
    Marty Diamond recently posted…How Important Is Responsive Design For Website Conversion?My Profile

  2. Elise Boysaw
    Twitter:
    says:

    I started reading the book Power of Habit and this really aligns with what I’m reading. Like you said, you want to be very clear about the behaviors you want to develop.
    Elise Boysaw recently posted…Standing StrongMy Profile

  3. donna merrill
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marty,

    Another incredible post for all of us to learn from. I agree that if you want to make a meaningful change in your life, you need to be specific. I feel that’s the key point to change. It may take a while to think about it and even write down a list (that always seems to help me)

    But once fine tuned, we can pinpoint exactly what needs to be changed and face it head on, then act upon it.

    Great and valuable information as usual Marty!

    -Donna
    donna merrill recently posted…Facebook Is A Marketer’s DreamMy Profile

  4. “Fake it till you make it”… or “Begin as you wish to finish”… as a friend of mine used to say. I haven’t quoted her correctly, but that’s the gist of it. Sometimes it’s not possible to live or act as we envision ourselves in the future, but I know I, for one, can do a lot better than I do as far as developing the habits needed to get there.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…It’s Cold Out There!My Profile

  5. nick catricala
    Twitter:
    says:

    Marquita,
    I must say that the image you used in the beginning got me to smile a lot… yesterday I was at my son home and my granddaughter was doing just that with my shoes hahah 🙂 I guess she was inspired to be me.. hahah 🙂 I encourage her to be herself at all times.. and she loves to chat with me about all what there is some interest and when she cannot get what she expect.. guess what she does.. she keep going around and around till some how I happen to say what she likes .. very, very cute.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for bringing me back yesterday smiles! _nickc
    nick catricala recently posted…World Health Day Celebration…My Profile

  6. Melanie Young
    Twitter:
    says:

    Over the last few months I have been trying my best to work on behaviors that are not becoming of an aspiring entrepreneur. Such things as how I come across to people when I am trying to convey a message or sometimes just general every interaction with people. If people are going take me seriously I need to sound professional when the time calls for it instead of just a rough around edges redneck from Georgia (even though I grew up in the city).
    Melanie Young recently posted…Here Come The Pink TuTu’sMy Profile

  7. Holly
    Twitter:
    says:

    I think the fake it til you make it can work, but I also think that there has to be a bit of discomfort in there too.. Cause it you were who you wanted to be already you’d have experienced those scary moments!! Or at least enough of them to have you more of where you wanted to be!! I guess as you say redefine what the view of failure is.. You aren’t failing even if it truly might feel like!!
    Holly recently posted…The Biggest Loser… Loses!My Profile

  8. Christina
    Twitter:
    says:

    Beautiful article! I love your suggestion to not only “fake it till you make it”, but also take action and have a very specific idea in mind of what you want to embody. Feeling inspired!

  9. Dave
    Twitter:
    says:

    I am speaking from my own experience, but sometimes it seems as though just “thinking” about the person we want to become is alluring enough to stop at the point. Like living with the hope of becoming a particular type of person is satisfaction in itself. Truth is, for some people (feebly raising hand here), it is a huge accomplishment to admit who you want to become 😉

    But, as you say, this is only a piece of the puzzle. The process of becoming who you want to be is not a passive process. It is most definitely active, requiring small steps in the direction you desire to go.

    Sometimes, we don’t even make a conscious choice either. Sometimes, when you begin to follow what it is that is tugging at your heart, even when it doesn’t have a name (at least that point in time), you begin to follow that path of becoming who you want to be.

    I think of this with my passion to write. I never made a verbal decision to write more. It just started to occur because it was tugging at me, something I needed to do. It was scary, uncomfortable, and … exhilarating.

    It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~George Eliot

    This quote has always been one of my favorites and has never strayed far from my mind. Regardless of whether you know what type of person you want to become or not, feel for those little tugs at your heart, the little whispers from your soul. And follow them with courage. The universe knows, trust the process.

    Thank you, as always, Marty for such an inspiring and thoughtful article!
    Dave recently posted…Connect the dotsMy Profile

  10. Marty, your articles are always so helpful! I understand that the best athletes – those who win medals at the olympics – do so because they live the race over and over in their minds. As you say, they don’t ONLY do the visualizations though, they also take action (LOTS of it in their case).

    A group of us all learned about the Law of Attraction years ago, and some of us thought people were advocating we didn’t need to take action towards what we wanted. We could simply visualize it, then go out and have fun and whatever we wanted would come to us. Then, we learned that action is necessary – but it has to be INSPIRED action, and not “forcing ourselves” action! I still find it challenging to do inspired action, I got so used to “making myself” do certain things.
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted…4 Steps To Implement Your Sales Funnel on a BlogMy Profile

  11. Harleena Singh
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita,

    Good to be over at your blog after long, and I see it’s changed a great deal 🙂

    Yes, we often come across achievers and successful people, but none of them have reached great heights without struggles, fear, failures, and drawbacks in their lives. However, all of those have made them stronger because they’ve taken things sportingly and these have been their stepping stones to success. Most people give up too soon. Life is certainly not easy for anyone, but you keep striving and trying to make it a good one, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted…6 Time Saving Tips to Avoid Being Overworked [Infographic]My Profile

  12. What a great article (as always) Marquita! I love this – “Setting high standards for yourself is admirable, but don’t make them so high they are impossible to achieve. ”

    It can be overwhelming to push ourselves day after day, trying to best our last best. It’s always important to give ourselves a little grace and know that reaching for the stars is wonderful, but not always necessary.
    Rebekah Radice recently posted…How to Create Social Media Graphics that POPMy Profile

  13. I love where you suggested to do it early before you lose your nerve! Great advice – as is this whole post Marty, you have taken us by the hand, and showed us how to change, using expectation and failure measures.
    It’s never an easy thing to change our behaviour, but you have
    shown us the way 🙂
    Thanks!
    Jacs
    Jacs Henderson recently posted…Is Your Body Longing For Simple, Natural and Effective Pain Relief?My Profile

  14. Kimba
    Twitter:
    says:

    Fake it til you make it – been doing that all my life. Especially when I started my blog – I had no idea what I was doing. Sometimes ya just gotta charge ahead until all the pieces fall into place. I’ve described it as the first step off the zipline platform. Deep breath and step out and trust in the universe (and that thin little wire holding you up above the ground). To me, “faking it” just means that you’re willing to take your life in a different direction and you have the confidence (even if it’s just a persona at first) to believe that you’re doing the right thing.
    Kimba recently posted…By: KimbaMy Profile

  15. Adrian Mendoza says:

    Nice Article! Dreams do come true. You just have to work hard for your dream. I believe in luck but relying on luck alone will take you nowhere. You must be determined enough to reach for what you want in life and pray hard it will help you.
    Adrian Mendoza recently posted…Why You Should Consider Traveling in San FranciscoMy Profile

  16. Hi Marquita,

    Good post with good points. I agree with your interpretation of “fake it until you make it” as a personal goal. It does sometimes get hard to keep up the consistency but you have to if you want to live your dream.

    Have a great evening. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…I Blog But I Am Not A WriterMy Profile

  17. Anastasia G
    Twitter:
    says:

    Dear Marquita, thank for this great article! When I was reading it, I could relate to everything you say. I see how scary it might be to try and fake being somebody you are not (yet). What often holds me back is the fear of being exposed and laughed at for attempting to look bigger and greater than I really am. But I guess there must be balance between staying authentic and trying on the skin of the person you want to become.

    ~Anastasia~
    Anastasia G recently posted…Self-Rebranding Series: Weeks 4-5. How To Be Gorgeous, Healthy, Smart and Self-Sufficient.My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Anastasia and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation! You are so right about the authenticity factor which is why the emphasis on the definition as a process of small steps rather than simply assuming a disguise. The former is about reaching a little beyond what’s comfortable in order to accelerate growth to achieve a desired outcome while the later comes under the heading of self delusion.
      martyherald recently posted…On Becoming the Person You Aspire to BeMy Profile

  18. Shanelle says:

    Thank you for sharing Marquita. I love the action taking combined with fake it til you make it. So many wait, wish and hope for things to change, but forget the key ingredient of action. Thank you for the reminder xx

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Shanelle and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. I’m so pleased you found the article worthwhile. 🙂

  19. I’m a total believer in “fake it till you make it!” My life has been transforming over the last several years and this sort of thought pattern has made all the difference in my current reality that is unfolding!
    Debora Kesley recently posted…Butterfly Emerging and Breaking FreeMy Profile

  20. Hi Marquita,

    I love your choice of image, it is so symbolic! I have seen many persons around me aspiring very high, and accomplishing that… with determined efforts. Nothing comes easily, though…I agree with you, all those successful personalities out there had to struggle but they didn’t give up. The dilemma of modern man is he tends to lose heart too soon. Such inspirational articles can really awaken them to the realities of success.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Balroop Singh recently posted…Do You Aspire for Appreciation?My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Hey Balroop, always look forward to your sharing! You are so right about the problem of giving up too soon. I was a small business coach for nearly a decade and primarily worked with women – often single mothers. As much as I loved the work it broke my heart to see women of talent and great potential give up, but it happened again and again. Ironically, more often than not it was those who were close to achieving success, which makes makes me think that for some that’s even scarier than failing. Thanks so much! 🙂

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