A couple of weeks ago I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (take the four question test here) and found my results to be exactly on point. I recommend everyone to take it, even if you're not the type to believe in a taking a standardized test to define who you are. Once you take that test, go here to see your personality profile. I'm an ENFP, also known as The Inspirer. One of my favorite parts of the lengthy description of this personality was:
"ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it."
Reading that made me feel like someone was peeking inside my brain and revealing exactly how I think, act and feel. It's kind of funny to me that my profile is called The Inspirer because inspiration is one of my favorite and probably most overused words in my own vocabulary. Now I want to inspire you with a little guide to being confident, because I think no matter what personality you are, you deserve to feel good about yourself and the world you live in.
fake it until you become it
In one of my communication classes, I learned a lot about body language and how it affects how people perceive us. We watched a TED Talk featuring Amy Cuddy (watch here) who talked about how power posing tricks your mind into feeling more confident and powerful. She also talked about how this behavior helps us realize our full potential. Just changing the way you walk, sit, stand or approach people can have positive results. She emphasized the fact that this behavior isn't phony or "faking it until you make it", but rather the behavior helps you fake it until you become it. You become the confident person you've always wanted to be by just changing your body language. So sit straighter, stand taller, keep your head held high and work on that strut.
Beyond how you physically move, I think this phrase can be interpreted in another way. When I first began my entertainment career, I really didn't know what I was doing, but I learned everything there is to know on the way. The truth is, we all don't know what we're doing sometimes, and going with your gut can have some amazing results. If there is something you want to be, own the title before you "officially" earn it. Who cares if you don't know everything when you begin, that doesn't take away your desire to be something. If you work hard, you will become it and everyone will know that you became it too.
do what you love
This seems simple enough, right? Well surprisingly, I encounter people who tell me they wish they could do so many things but shy away from them because of their fear of judgement. That's definitely no way to live your life. If you love to go to the opera, collect comic books, play the saxophone or try every macaroni and cheese recipe on the planet, then do it. Nothing should dictate what you like, what you enjoy doing and how you spend your time. I don't like sports (except for Gonzaga basketball), and while it's socially expected of me as a man to like them, I really don't. I'm not going to pretend to like them and neither am I going to judge other people for liking sports. I love art, I create art, I talk about art, and I envelop myself in art. That's what I love. I'm a confident person because I have passions and I own them. Find what you love and "just do it".
surround yourself with good people
People can be poisonous. For me, it's easy to weed out who doesn't like me for who I am. Unfortunately I've had to deal with a lot of bullying, hate and ridicule in my past, even at Gonzaga. I've picked up on the signs and social media makes it easy for me to see who is real or not. My advice, whether you have haters or just frenemies, is to block out the bad. Sometimes it's easy as pressing a button, other times you just have to stop contacting them. Don't expect apologies, don't expect anything at all. Be confident in those decisions and people who do like you will appear when you least expect it. A true friend wants to see you succeed. I'm so lucky to have some amazing close friends who are real and accept me for every flaw and every quality about me. Just having them in my life gives me so much confidence.
turn weaknesses into areas of improvement
One of my favorite Public Relations teachers at Gonzaga looks at things as "pros" and "areas of improvement" instead of "cons". It's such a simple thing, but it makes your weaknesses not weigh so heavily in your mind. Everyone has things they can improve upon and the beautiful thing about life is that we can improve upon these things. Knowing your areas of improvement can give you hope and confidence because you see them as positive challenges instead of things that are holding you back.
your opinion matters the most
Remind yourself that nobody has the power to tell you how to think, act or feel. You are in control of what you think about yourself. Take compliments graciously and give them back (only if they are genuine). Accept constructive criticism but never take hate or bullying to heart. It's natural and human to feel hurt when someone attacks you in any way, but lingering on it won't get you any closer to achieving your dreams (which is exactly what your enemy wants). Be confident in who you believe to be, who you want to be and who you once were.
build people up
This is one of my favorite ways to boost not only my confidence, but someone else's. When someone does a good job, you should recognize it. Give a verbal affirmation, smile and offer a hug. Be nice to everyone you meet because you never know when they are going to turn out to be a good connection to have. Being nice is one of the simplest secrets I have to being confident. They go hand in hand. When you treat human beings with love and respect, you get it right back.
"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."