5 Ways to Present Confidently When You're Not Feeling Your Best
It’s January. Another season of Christmas cookies and office holiday party overindulgence has you feeling sluggish in your body and frumpy in your clothes. The gym is full of people trying to figure out how to use equipment for the first time; you may be one of them, or you may be desperately trying not to look like one of them. It’s not a recipe for confidence.
So how do you approach your professional life and your personal life with confidence you’re not feeling?
Move your body. Put a plan in place to do something that gets your muscles warm for ten minutes, twice a day. Walk the stairs while you take phone calls, park at the back of the lot, whatever it takes to get your blood flowing. You’ll have more energy and stamina, and more breath support when it comes time to make your pitch.
Don’t diet. Health coach Brooke Rosenbauer points out, “Instead of making us fitter or healthier, restrictive fad diets can cause nutritional deficiencies or even metabolic damage in the long term.” While you might be thinner after a diet, you’re also likely to have thinner hair, less elastic skin, and slower brain function – not the best ways to feel yourself shine. Instead, talk to a health professional or gather resources from the Healthy At Every Size community to find your way back to balance.
Buy clothes that fit. You know you feel and look your best when you’re wearing the right size for your body. Instead of trying to make your body fit your clothes – buy clothes that fit your body. Shopping is a challenge if you’re feeling self-conscious; if you’re looking for work, tight finances double the load. But if you’re looking to build your confidence, I encourage you to take an affirming friend whose opinion you trust—to the mall or the thrift store—and put together an outfit that makes you feel on point.
Talk yourself up. My favorite encouragements for helping myself feel competent and confident are in Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are. It’s billed as a book about women’s sexual health, but it’s also the best book on dealing with your feelings I’ve ever read. Also: breathing, excitement, high stakes, desire to please—there is some overlap between Nagoski’s area of expertise (sex) and mine (communication).
Remember what you’re here for. If you don’t feel up to making a list of the things that are wonderful about you, perhaps because you can’t think of any, try this. Make a list of all the reasons you want to communicate well. Say you’re prepping for a job interview. The obvious top of the list is, “Get a job,” but if you keep digging to get to the root of what you want, it might be something like, “Have a reason to get up in the morning, a sense of purpose, more freedom for my two kids, the ability to take a vacation so I have time to work on my marriage with my spouse whom I love…” The point isn’t to stress yourself out. The point is to root your communication in something that means something to you. That passion will shine forth as confidence in whatever you’re talking about.
Good luck! I hope you’ll let me know how it goes for you in 2019.