We all know those kinds of actors — the ones who stride with an air of certainty into a room. They’re not always the most attractive, or smartest. They’re not arrogant. They’re the ones who make you want to be around them.
Growing up, I seemed to make people run the other direction. My loudness, attention-seeking, and social awkwardness kept me questioning myself. In my teens and early adulthood I also suffered bouts of depression, gained a ton of weight, and became so fiercely independent I didn’t have a lot of friends. I threw all of my focus toward acting where I could “make up” who I wanted to be that I was not in real life.
Why can’t I be thinner? More popular? Smarter? I continually asked. If I was, I’d surely be a star! Then I changed the questions: What creates this aura, this vibe of confidence? What do these other great actors do that I don’t?
Soon enough, I received an answer and I felt my vibe shift. My new found confidence shifted my world — my career, my relationships, and my health.
After many years of study, discussion, and practice, I realized these five things are what confident actors, heck confident people, do differently than those who lack confidence. Remember, CONFIDENCE is 50% of this business. These are my must-do’s for confidence:
1. They live their purpose.
Your purpose is to be authentically you. No more, no less. When you applaud your fears, neuroses, and quirks, suddenly these qualities become your assets. Use them in your craft and in your regular world.
Insecure about your looks? So are thousands of other actors — embrace your height, weight, wrinkles, and all other aspects of your body and teach others to embrace theirs! Think you’re not as smart as the next guy? Fuggedaboutit and do what makes you feel like a genius! When you’re living your truth, you’re unstoppable.
2. They practice their unique ___ (Fill in: calming, uplifting, etc.) ritual.
This is a BIG one that I make a priority when working with my coaching clients. Some of the greatest thinkers, artists and performers of our time have a pre-performance ritual that gets them revved for show time. While a unique ritual is about doing, it’s also about feeling. A ritual creates the feeling you desire before you actually get to the doing.
For example, if I want to have rockin’ confidence before a date, I’ll strut around my house in high heels. If I want to feel calm, I’ll focus on my exhale breaths. I have a big sign over my desk that says “Breathe”. I also have a morning practice that sets the tone for my day. We all have rituals that calm our nerves, get us in the game, or prepare our mindset for focused ACTion. Know yourself and what you need to get in the zone.
3. They spend (and love) time alone.
A dip in confidence can come when plans aren’t made or fall through and you’re left with time alone. How empowering is it when this time comes as a gift?!
There’s nothing that revives my confidence more than time alone. Wait, let me clarify: time alone that I occupy with self-love. If I spend my alone time wallowing in misery, I perpetuate my insecurities. When I shower myself with love, in the form of a bubble bath, rest, or yoga, I realign with my core values. Even zoning out in front of the TV with a good movie and a glass of wine is one of my favorite past times.
4. They take nothing (or very little) personally.
Do you know any confident actor who takes everything personally? No, no you don’t! Those with true confidence know that any perceived ego blow is more a reflection of the speaker than of them.
When you’re able to hear criticism and not take it personally, your reactions change. You’re able to feel compassion and love for all, regardless of how they treated you. Life isn’t as much of a drama. It stays on the stage where it belongs. Confidence emerges naturally with life-love.
5. They ask empowering questions.
We’re constantly making evaluations for what things mean and what we should do. These associations are initiated by questions. The more empowering questions we ask ourselves, the more confident we will be.
If you ask dis-empowering questions like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why don’t I get any call backs” your mind will come up with an answer. Instead, ask questions like, “What am I happy about that I did in the room? What could I be proud about if I wanted to?” Or if there is a problem, ask, “What is great about this problem? How does it serve me? What can I feel grateful for?” Then you can shift into the confidence required to solve it. When empowering questions become second nature, you have no choice but to find confidence-inducing answers.
Modeling confident actors and others is the surest and fastest way to become one yourself! In fact I modeled this entire post after one created by Saren Stiegel of MindBodyGreen, who originally wrote about confidence in women.