Confidence. Tough to define, easy to spot. We all can see a confident person in any arena, be it on the sporting field, in the boardroom, in the bake-off competition, or in any social situation. It’s that ‘it’ factor that sets one apart.

Happy Businesswoman

But how to be a confident woman? Easier said than done!


We all compete. Often someone says, “I don’t have a competitive bone in my body.” And then we watch as that same woman takes control of a social situation, effectively “winning” the room.


So, what if you don’t feel confident, internally, where you live? How do you get there? What’s that magic bullet for how to build confidence?


We’ve all heard the term, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it.’ And the oddest thing about that, once you do it effectively, surprisingly it works! But how to actually accomplish this? We can see the results most easily through the example of competition. To succeed in competition requires taking risks. And often fear holds folks back from venturing a risk in the first place.


Athletes have long used the power of visualization before they compete, and we now know through neuro-linguistic studies that doing so wires the brain for success. I’ve used this many times myself, and if nothing else, I feel more confident when entering the field of play—whether at the dog show or speaking to 500 people. That extra boost as I step into the arena pays enormous dividends. When you start with confidence, adrenaline takes over and propels you forward.


Even if you believe you have no chance of winning, by pushing that aside and faking confidence you will absolutely produce amazing results.


Men have an easier time of this. The sexes are wired differently of course, and a University of Southern California study by Drs. Nicole Lighthall and Mara Mather showed this result: Women took less risk after being stressed; they made decisions more slowly and earned less money for themselves. In men, stress actually improved their performance.


Dang those men!


So how can learn from this and use it to succeed? A zillion ways exist to deal with stress, but one pearl from Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman encapsulated it for me, and took me from using the tools of faking confidence all the way to being confident. It’s an amazingly simple tool. So much so that I wish I’da thought of it my own danged self!


Simply put, women tend to focus on odds, and men focus on what they’ll win.


Doesn’t sound like such a big difference, does it? But what researchers have found is that the more people focus on their odds of winning, the less likely they’ll go for it. However, the more they focus on what they’ll win if they succeed, the more likely they will go for it.  Amazing, no?


And that brings confidence in boatloads. The more you try, the better you get. The better you get, the more you succeed. And the more you succeed, the more confidence grows. The opposite of the vicious cycle, this one brings huge smiles of happiness.


I dare you to try it: Fake it ‘til you make it and focus on what you’ll win.


How do you succeed?


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