The other day my 11 year old daughter auditioned for a part in a play. According to her, this was her “dream role”. She spent hours preparing and practicing. The thing is, so were hundreds of other girls. This particular theater is highly regarded and getting a big role is not an easy task. As her mother, I did what I could to encourage her, but also told her to prepare herself emotionally for not getting the part. When her name was called, I crossed my fingers hoping for the best. Secretly, I was terrified of the tears and sadness that would most likely follow.
So fast forward to the results, she did not get the part. To my surprise she handled it pretty well. As a life coach, however, I became curious about how best to handle stressful situations, such as this, in the best way possible. After a bit of research and talking to a few people on the subject, I have come up with three of what I believe are the most effective ways to handle stressful situations with confidence.
#1 The Power Pose: According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the outward practice of a power pose, (imagine superman standing tall with hands on hips looking up toward the sky) can change your inner perception of power. Doing a power pose for as little as two minutes can increase performance in situations where you have to do well, such as a job interview (or for your kids an audition or try-out). To expand on this idea, I think it can really help our confidence when we fake it at first. Act how you want to feel. Maybe pretend that you are someone else who you view as having unlimited courage. Even if it seems uncomfortable at first, over time you will continue to grow and improve until you become that self-assured person you would love to be. The more we practice this the better we will get.
#2 Have a Growth Mindset: Much research has been done to show that a growth mindset leads to higher achievement. A growth mindset is a way of looking at life in which your focus is on how to get better rather than only striving for the end goal. If you have a fixed mindset you believe that you cannot change and that your talent alone will lead to success. When you believe that you will grow and get better, overtime you do! In fact, just having a positive mindset overall can help with confidence. I think this can apply to new parents or those who are unsure what to do with the current phase their sweet little one is currently in. Remember you don’t have to be perfect but we can all improve. So when you notice that negative little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough, kindly tell it to be quiet. Let it know that every situation, even if it is out of your comfort zone, is an opportunity for growth. You got this!
#3 Be Grateful: Honestly, no matter what you are facing in life, I believe gratitude is your best friend. Whatever uncomfortable or intimidating situation you are dealing with, if you take a moment and assess what you have in life, you will immediately find yourself in a more positive state of mind. So take an inventory of the people you love and you will be reminded of how good things are. If you are truly grateful, everything else gets put into perspective, no matter how scary.
Even if you (or your kids) aren’t trying out for the lead in a Broadway musical any time soon, I know these three tips can help give you quick confidence in any situation. The bonus is, the more you face challenges that are out of your comfort zone, the more that zone expands. With practice, you may just find that your confidence is so high you will welcome any situation that comes your way.