1. Stop Saying “Sorry”
Think about a time you went out to eat and when your meal came out, it didn’t come out as you ordered it. The waiter comes over to check on your food and you say something like “oh I’m sorry but I ordered this without cheese. Sorry!” What are you sorry for? You’re just asking that the meal you are paying be prepared the way you asked for it to be prepared. I’m not saying to be rude and over the top demanding, but don’t apologize for something that isn’t even your fault.
I have clients who apologize for needing water or doing an exercise incorrectly. I mean come on…. I understand how hard they’re working, I understand that they’re going to make mistakes. They’re human. There is absolutely no need to be sorry.
Maybe we apologize so much because it makes us seem less demanding, less difficult or less pushy, but looked at in another way, if you take out the apologizes you could be seen as confident, strong-willed and someone who knows who they are and what they want. You’ll be seen as MORE of something instead of LESS.
2. Start Saying “No”
I assume that most people probably want to make the people in their lives happy. We want to please our family, peers, significant others, bosses, you get the idea, so we tend to say “yes” to things we don’t necessarily want to do because we don’t want to let the other person down. Of course in some cases you have to say yes. You can’t say no to going to work just because you don’t feel like showing up for a few days, but I think you know what I’m getting at here…
Here’s an example: A couple years back one of my friends asked if I would go skiing and for whatever reason I said yes. I hate skiing. I don’t enjoy any single thing about it. On our first run I ended up throwing a tantrum on the mountain, walked my butt down to the bottom and never went back up. It was an incredible waste of time, money and energy and I looked like an idiot 🙂 . Had I just said no from the beginning, that entire uncomfortable situation would have been avoided, but I said yes because I didn’t want to let my friend down. I was too concerned with what they would think if I said no. Looking back now I think… wouldn’t I rather have been authentic and true to myself by saying no? Wouldn’t my friend be able to respect the fact that I hate being cold and I hate ski boots and it scares the crap out of me? It wouldn’t make them like me any less by telling them what I really wanted (to never ever ever go skiing) and if it did, see ya later. Be authentic and have an opinion because this is YOUR life!
3. Start Saying “Thank You”
Try to think about the last time you received a compliment. How did you handle it? If someone told you that you looked nice, would you simply say “thank you”? Or would you “oh no I only slept for like 4 hours last night and I didn’t even have time to shower this morning let alone put on makeup! I’m a mess!” How AWKWARD! That reaction most likely leaves the person who complimented you speechless and confused because here they are thinking you look great and you’re giving them all the reasons why that’s not true.
Learning to accept compliments when you’re so used to deflecting them can be really hard, but just practice saying thank you and keep whatever other thoughts you have to yourself. As your confidence builds, those other thoughts will stop popping up.
This stuff takes time and it takes a lot of practice and it can be really uncomfortable at first. Just give it a shot. It’s pretty liberating when you start taking control of this stuff and your confidence starts to build. Think of yourself as being amazingly confident and unstoppable and soon you will be. Carry yourself that way, sell yourself that way, and people won’t be able to deny that is who you really are.