How Lack of Confidence Can De-Energize You

 Do you have confidence, or are you de-energized by  lack of confidence in some areas?

Confidence Creates Energy - Dance Like No-one Is Watching

Confidence Creates Energy Dance Like No-one Is Watching

 I conducted a survey of my peers and was surprised to find that, even though most of them seem successful and happy in their lives, there were areas where they felt they needed to be more self confident.

Lacking confidence drains our energy. Conversely, lacking energy drains our confidence.

I wrote a book recently called ‘CFS in Men’ with a lovely guy called Max who had always had a lot of energy and zest for life, but after a series of stressful work situations he found himself feeling constantly tired, unable to get out of bed in the morning, achy and totally lacking in energy.

Max was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a disease which appears to be on the increase because of the stresses of our modern society.

As you will know, if you have been reading my posts, I believe that stress is largely responsible for most, if not all,  illnesses and disease in the body. Certainly in Max’s case his work history clearly showed the increasing levels of stress leading up to the time when he ‘went down’ with the disability.

But illness and disease aside, lacking confidence can have an instant or long term de-energizing effect.

The main areas where my survey participants lacked confidence were:

  1. In Social Situations
  2. Speaking in front of an audience
  3. Handling new stuff – particularly new technology
  4. Speaking with their work colleagues, bosses
  5. Applying for jobs
  6. Change – taking on a new business or major life change
  7. Positioning themselves as ‘experts’ in their areas of expertise

Do feel you lack confidence in any of these areas?

What are the underlying fears around lack of confidence?

The most common fear is the fear of rejection.
Someone told me that the fear of rejection goes back to our ancestors. Life and survival depended on being part of the group and having the support of others in it. When that support was withdrawn and the group member was rejected and outcast he died.

So instinctively, when we are rejected, we feel like we are going to die.
This undermines our confidence. We may be fearful of being an individual, exposing our true selves to others in case they disagree, ridicule or shun us.
How to overcome this?

Low Self-esteem is more prevalent than you would think. Scratch the surface of even the most charismatic or confident person you may find something in the past that has contributed to the feeling of low self esteem. Celebrities and movies stars and examples of this, compensating for their lack of confidence by taking drugs, alcohol, or become recluses.

There are strategies to overcome lack of confidence, to raise your energy levels and give an air of confidence that will attract confidence from others.

In my previous post I talked about the importance of posture – standing and sitting tall. In future articles I will expand more on how to raise your innermost self esteem and emanate confidence.

In the meantime, you may like to answer these questions:

  1. Do you lack confidence?
  2. In what area/s do you lack confidence?
  3. What are the underlying fears that create this lack of confidence? (e.g. fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of looking foolish, fear of making mistakes, not believing you are good enough etc.)

I invite you to leave your results in the ‘Leave a Comment’ box below. I moderate all comments, so if you don’t want it to be made public let me know.
I am writing a book about confidence, and your  response will help me to make it more relevant.

Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below and provide the answers to the questions above.

Live with Energy
Joan
Visit:  http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’

Posture, Confidence and Energy

It is said that if you want to project confidence and energy you can ‘Fake it Till You Make It’

Joan Small fancy dress

Dressed beautifully but looking sad

People now find it hard to believe that when I was young I had no confidence at all. I was a shy child who would cry at the drop of a hat. I found it hard to make friends and socialize at school so I was a ‘loner’. 

It’s interesting how kids are like dogs with intuition. They seem to  ‘smell’ fear, low self-esteem and insecurity. It is almost as if they are afraid it might be catching. With dogs, if you  approach  with confidence rather than fear there is far less chance of being growled at or bitten. The same applies with people.

What about that saying ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

What is a ‘first impression’ – is it an instinctive response to what we are projecting?

They say that people assess you  55% of the time by your body language, 38% by your voice and only 7% by your words. This assessment – judgement if you like – is usually sub-conscious. We can often tell from a glance what energy another person has, and his or her level of self esteem.

In my previous post I talked about good posture and how it can aid the body’s systems and enhance energy.There is more to it than that, because standing tall and straight, looking people in the eye and using open gestures instills confidence in ourselves and attracts confidence from other people.

This is where some would say, ‘Fake it till you make it’. 
But  does faking it really work?
To a certain extent it does.

Standing tall, for instance, will help you open up your lungs and breathe more deeply – I have talked about the many benefits of proper breathing.

  • Relaxing your shoulders at the same time will relax your whole body and allow you to drop your hands down, and only raise them when you are making natural gestures to go with your words. The body language expert, Alan Pease, will tell you that crossing your arms across the body puts up barriers between you and other people. Clasping or wringing hands is a dead give-away showing lack of confidence, stress and tension.
  • Relaxing and standing tall enable the body’s systems to work properly – all the circulatory systems do their job – circulating blood throughout the body – the skin looks healthier and eyes brighter with blood and oxygen.
  • Proper breathing also circulates lymph – vital to cleanse and detoxify the system and boost the immune system.
  • A healthy body will always project more energy and confidence.

What happens to the voice?

Standing tall and breathing properly provide the oxygen in the lungs to project the voice.

In my Toastmasters club there are some people with soft voices. How do they stand?  Certainly not strongly.  How do they breathe – not deeply.

My friend, the singer, Deborah Leigh-Russell knows how to project her voice through good posture and deep breathing. She is also a Drama teacher and a trainer.  I went to a series of her drama courses at one time and she had excellent exercises to help us project our voices and create vocal variety.  She had us walking around the room saying Abba babba babba, Acca Cacca cacca – etc right through the alphabet. Of course we laughed so much we filled our lungs with oxygen too.  Being ridiculous in front of our peers can increase our confidence.

Laughing at ourselves and finding that it endears people to us rather than repelling them is great for confidence.

Posture, confidence and energy go together.

If you handle your posture, use open gestures, breathe deeply and focus on the other person rather than yourself your confidence will build and you will find that being yourself in front a wide range of people will become easier and easier.

The energy and enjoyment you obtain from this interaction will be enormous.
Try it and let me know of your results.

 Confidence
A magic ingredient, key to success
Is confidence. This is the truth, not a guess.
The person with confidence emanates grace.
Her posture is strong, she’s a smile on her face.
She holds up her chin so her voice projects out,
And all can hear clearly there’s no need to shout.
She knows what she’s saying before it is said,
Because she’s researched and it’s all in her head.
No need to reflect on the words she will say.
Which means she can look in your eyes all the way.
To engage, fascinate, take you on her path,
Involve and inspire, encourage to laugh.
With the confident one you are willing to trust
To avail of her service is surely a must.
So if you aspire to be lover or friend
Gain confidence now and you’ll come to that end.
(c) Joan Small

More about Confidence, Energy and Posture to come.

Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below and tell me what you have found works for you.

Live with Energy
Joan
Visit:  http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’

Good Posture to Energize

Stand Tall and Sit Tall to Energize – My Wise Mother’s Deportment Advice 

Me at 3 years old with my back to the camera - already the same height as my sister

What has posture to do with energy, or the energizing breathing I talked about in my previous post?

I will answer by telling a story:

As a child I quickly caught up to my sister in height, although she was 20 months older than I. My father would say, ‘We need to put a brick on your head’, so I got the idea it was not a good  thing to be as tall as my sister.

However, my wise mother was intent on getting me to stand up straight and walk with dignity. She went to a Deportment school in Perth set up by June Dally Watkins, who was Australia’s Model of the Year in 1949.  There are still June Dally Watkins modelling schools in Australia today.

Walk With a Book on Your Head

Mum would get my sister and me to walk with books on our heads so that we could maintain correct posture and walk smoothly and graciously.

I aspired to being a model, and grew to 174 cms ( 5 ft 8 1/2  inches) tall. I too went to deportment classes,  but never became a model – I was a school teacher instead.

During the years of my teacher training I carried heavy bags of books on one side of the body (we didn’t use backpacks as students do these days).

Several boyfriends were the same height or shorter than me, so I began to slouch to reduce my height. By the time I married a man a couple of inches shorter than myself I had gotten into the habit of standing on one leg with one hip to the side, and when I had babies I carried them on my hip quite often too.

Over the years my poor posture twisted my spine resulting in back and hip problems. It has only been in recent years that I have focused on returning my skeleton to its natural state.

Deep Breathing and Posture

You will remember that I said, in order to breathe deeply you have to relax your shoulders – even slouch. By this I don’t mean letting the head drop forward.

When I made regular visits to a chiropractor a few years ago he showed me a macabre object he had on his desk. It was a large transparent ten pin bowling ball with a replica of a human skull inside it. When I took it in my hand it felt so heavy. (An average adult head weighs somewhere between 4.5 and 5 kg, and constitutes about 8% of the whole body mass.)

Why does this matter?

Because this is the weight that the neck and spine have to hold up.
If the head, neck and spine are in proper alignment, then this is not a problem, but if we allow the head to fall forward, it puts tremendous stress and tension on the spine and all the muscles around it.

This is what was happening to me, and this is what happens when we sit incorrectly at a computer. The tendency is to let the head fall forward.
What has this to do with energy?

Pain, tension and stress on the body reduce energy, creating constant tiredness. The internal muscles become constricted and the bodies systems – based on flows – cannot function properly.

By standing and sitting tall, but allowing our shoulders to drop down in a relaxed manner, we are giving the body the best chance to regenerate energy with breathing and functioning properly.

Deborah Lee-Russell

Deborah Lee-Russell

My friend Deborah Leigh-Russell, a beautiful coloratura singer, says that a good way to remember how to stand tall is to imagine a string at the top back of the neck (the base of the skull) pulling you skyward, like a puppet. This will help you hold your head high but with your chin down in the correct position. As a singer it is important to breathe properly, and standing tall like this keeps the airway clear and allows the lungs to expand properly.

Posture at a computer

When seated at the computer your screen should be at eye level. Beware of those laptops and computer tablets that encourage you to be looking downwards.

If you are at the computer for any length of time, make sure you have a properly designed ergonomic chair, and that you sit back – not slump forwards. Your keyboard must be low, so that you put the least amount of strain on your arms and shoulders when typing.

Because of the hours and hours of time we spend on computers, our bodies can suffer from RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury – not so much from repeated movement these days, but from incorrect posture.

Posture Tips – What I do

  • I use my webcam to check on myself every hour of so, to ensure I am still sitting properly. I keep it minimised, and every now and then flip it up to check how I am sitting.
  • I have a natural  lambskin on my seat to cushion it and prevent pressure sores from sitting for too long.
  • I remember to breathe deeply, as explained in my previous post, and I have frequent breaks to stretch my muscles, exercise and drink water or herbal tea.

My body is by no means perfect, but my posture is much better than it was a few years ago when the chiropractor showed me how I had allowed myself to decline.

Along with my better posture, my energy levels have risen too.

Take up the challenge – Stand Tall – Sit Tall and maintain good posture to energize you.

What Are Your Posture Tips?
Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below and tell me what you have found works for you.

Live with Energy
Joan
Visit:  http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’