“To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”

According to the dictionary, confidence is the belief and trust in oneself and one’s abilities.  It is the freedom from doubt.  It is a powerful state of mind where an individual feels empowered to be certain and self assured.  Confidence, when authentic, begins on the inside and is reflected outwardly by your actions.

This type of quality is a crucial ingredient for those seeking to build an extraordinary leadership presence.  This Inc. magazine article reminds us that confidence is the most basic building block of leadership.

Let me ask a question: The minute you walk into a room, do people perceive you as being full of confidence?  Do you walk in apologetically with your head low, or with a sense of purpose and calling that tells people you are at the right place at the right time, and intend to make something great happen?

We would all agree that we are attracted to people who are full of confidence – not arrogance.  One of the best ways to strengthen and project confidence is by improving your image through your appearance.  In order to lead effectively, you need a presence that reflects confidence.  You can accomplish this simply by adjusting your mindset and image.

Regardless of your profession, you are called upon to lead every day.   Here are 5 effective ways to embrace who you are by making the most of what you have to offer.  Follow these so that you can show up more confident, competent and compelling:

Tip #1-Picture yourself with confidence– Think of words and images that would describe confidence to you.  What is your posture like?  What does your body language say?  Do you tend to have your arms open, relaxed or crossed (which appear defensive)?  What are your interactions with other people like?  Do you give eye contact and show interest in the conversation?  Is it obvious that you have a love for people and their well being?  Are you approachable and sincere? Are you able to laugh with others and, from time to time, at yourself? In a meeting, do you sit in the back of the room? Do you work to blend in, or do you work your way to the center?

Tip #2-Practice gratitude- Admire others without envying them; Avoid wasting your time trying to live your life through others.  Avoid the comparison trap – thinking that what someone else has is always better.  Believe that you do measure up.  Make it a daily ritual to start out being grateful that you have the opportunity to be YOU for the day.  Think of at least 15 things that you are grateful for and in return what contributions you can make.

Tip#3-Recognize the triggers that affect your confidence– Get rid of the toxins that would destroy or weaken your confidence.  Perhaps it is your mindset, past failures, disruptive relationships or fears.  Whatever they are, work to identify them and begin removing them.  Tolerating these toxic triggers will not only weaken your confidence, but your overall performance as well.  Don’t let setbacks sabotage your confidence – they are a part of life.  See the beauty in them by taking them as opportunities identify areas in which you can further grow and develop.  Keep things in perspective.

Tip#4-Acknowledge your assets- Here is an exercise; grab a mirror and discover 5 things that you like about what you see.  Don’t stop until you find them.  Then, make them your focus. Focus on the positive.  Play to your strengths.  Make the most of what you have.  Identify and embrace your unique signature style.  Understand your body type  and learn to dress the body that you have right now, not what you used to have or what you want to have.  Remember, focusing on the limitations will only dampen your confidence.  What positive things can you do to stand out in the crowd?  Identify your power colors and wear them!  There is no one else in the world like you, and learn effective ways to reflect that in your image and style choices.

Tip#5-Make personal growth a practice – This will mean taking some risks.  This applies even with your image and style.  Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box; be willing to try something different on a regular basis.  Develop your business etiquette skills, too – you should make social interaction look easy, but that’s not because it is.

Internalize these tips, and you are well on your way to being the type of confident leader that you envision yourself being.  Today is the best day to start the journey!  Make a commitment to “Show Up in life!”