Everywhere you go and in every situation, when a confident person comes on the scene, everyone takes notice.

Naturally, a self-confident person is a very admirable individual because these people have an amazing aura around them that is also magnetic in nature.

A confident person always appears to be at ease with themselves and their work, they are easy to trust as you would never doubt their capacity to keep their word or deliver on their promises. They can also cause one to gain confidence in themselves.

However, it is not always easy to be a confident person because it is human nature to have a small voice of doubt echoing in your head from various sources.  There are steps that one can take to improve and maintain your self-confidence.

It is also important for one to understand that self-confidence is very different from arrogance or over confidence. Self-confidence entails a basic understanding that you trust your own judgment and abilities. This further follows through to your being able to value yourself regardless of any imperfections or of what others may believe about you.

Self-confidence is an important trait in every aspect of our lives but somehow many people struggle to find it. This often leads to a vicious cycle: when one lacks self-confidence they are less likely to convince people to give them opportunities that will lead to their success – the success which will lead them to have stronger self-confidence.

One can easily relate to a situation where a nervous individual pitches an idea or a project versus a situation where one can be convinced by an individual who will hold their head high and answer questions with firm assurance. It, therefore, follows that confident people inspire confidence in everyone they come across which is an indisputable path to success.

While it may initially appear that you are not self-confident, there are many subtle ways in which one can prove to their audience that they are confident. Once you show confidence and it is reflected back to you, it becomes easier to be consistent in projecting that vey same confidence. You display your self-confidence in your behaviour, your body language, and in what you say and how you say it.

Communication gurus will advise you that communication is 10 percent what you say but 90 percent how you act. So it is important for you to adopt an open posture and not create a barrier by placing objects or crossing your arms in front of you.

When you sit or stand, be upright and place your hands by your sides. Avoid standing with your hands on your hips, as this stance implies a desire to dominate while placing your hands in your pockets can appear disrespectful. Slouching implies discomfort and laziness.

When it comes to face-to-face communication, maintain eye contact while you talk, this shows that you’re interested in what a person is saying. Be careful though, to bear in mind any cultural considerations when it comes to body language and communication.

For example, in some cultures it is rude to look at a person directly. Fidgeting and looking away during a conversation can make you appear distracted, disinterested or anxious.

Developing good habits is one way to effectively build strong self-esteem, and the confidence that comes from it. One can indulge in such things such as regular exercise – when you look good, you feel good and you project confidence.

Getting enough sleep and eating well is also advisable. When you fail to take good care of yourself go you may start feeling physical effects of this and it will also show in your lack of confidence.

One can also work on your personal branding as a way to improve your self-confidence. Projecting a positive image of your authentic self often will lead to positive feedback that will have a positive impact on your self-confidence.

Reviewing past achievements can help you see yourself in a positive light. This is a very good way of boosting your self-confidence because it is an evidence-based method. A track record of past achievements can lead you to ask yourself the question, “if I did it before, what is stopping me now?”

Your focus is improved and as you see the return of your efficient self, your self-confidence is made manifest once more. List 10 things you are most proud of in an “achievement log” and use these as the basis of positive affirmations you can tell yourself when you are down. Positive affirmations are particularly powerful when you undermine your own confidence with negative self-talk.

Lastly, you can set confidence-boosting goals – set yourself targets, and measure how successfully you hit them. As the minor (and major) achievements roll in, you will gain the confidence that you need. A tip is to set goals that make the most of your strengths and minimise your weaknesses.

You can start by walking two kilometers a day, then five kilometres. Then begin to run that same distance and in no time at all you will have the capacity to run the Comrades Marathon. However, it is important to note that first steps must come first, after all Rome was not built in a day but each day a brick was laid without fail.

Confidence is a critical muscle that must be exercised for us to realise our success goals. Confidence can be personal or professional or even social. These methods to build confidence will work in all settings. This week, go out and conquer the world with your confidence.

Karen Manyati is the director of Zimbabwe Leadership Forum and writes in her personal capacity. She can be reached on training@qcgc.co.zw