Sit still for two minutes, eyes closed, and observe the flow of your breath.
If you’re very still, you may become aware of an internal energetic force in your body, even if very faint. The energy can be palpable like a fire or tender like a breath; sit or stand and see if you can feel it … go deep within yourself if you can. I’m hoping you’re able to do this and are able to connect to the internal energy that exists within all of us. Learning to access this energy will help you stay confident and clear-headed in unnerving situations, from job interviews to heated confrontations.
This energy is what I refer to as my inner sparkle. Of course! When I access it, I access my full confidence and power and there’s no chance in hell that self-doubt is going to hold me back.
Plugging up the energy leaks
There are certain things for each of us that drain our energy, zap our self-worth, and drag us in the opposite direction of our North Star. For me, in the past, job searching was what did it. Even when I landed an interview, I found myself losing a grip on my confidence. Often it felt like something was leaking out of me as I spoke. The interviewer’s gaze or tone of voice could have done the trick, just unapproving enough to kill my enthusiasm. I auditioned for Juilliard years ago and it was terrible to be cut off mid monologue and told to go and no, they didn’t want to hear my song. I left stage acting entirely after that except for a small bit years later.
I realized too late that I transferred my sparkle to the interviewers. I had given them my power and thus given them the upper hand while I was left tongue-tied and no longer sure of my purpose or my value.
This can happen any time–when you’re networking, during a work presentation or a client meeting or having dinner with your relatives. Many dread the constant self-promotion, speaking in front of others, or the small, sometimes meaningless chit-chat required at social events. In these situations, we either unintentionally let our sparkle leak out into the room, fizzle inside ourselves to nothing, or pass it to the other party.
When you let go of your inner sparkle, it’s like handing over a crucial part of yourself: Your shine, your life, your delight, and joy. Why do we do this? It’s craziness! Stop doing it! What if instead, we vowed to hang on tight to our sparkle, no matter what? What if we vowed to hold onto our confidence and keep the ball in our court?
Trust yourself and others will trust you
As you strive to become a leader, you’re going to face people who intimidate you. You’re going to face criticism and judgment but you can’t let the energy shift in their favor. You have to trust that you have what it takes to succeed and then approach the situation from a place of power and confidence, rather than uncertainty and fear. After all, how can anyone else trust in you, if you can’t trust in yourself?
How can anyone else trust in you, if you can’t trust in yourself?
People respect those with self-confidence and self-worth. They’re more likely to believe what you say and follow your advice. As a leader, gaining others’ trust is paramount to achieving your goals. Confidence is an essential component of effective leadership, so if you haven’t located your sparkle, it’s time to find it!
Locating your sparkle, a.k.a your confidence
Even if you go through periods of self-doubt and you’re often your own harshest critic, you can learn to cultivate confidence and increase your internal energy. I’ve used a meditation exercise called Hope in Uncertain Times, led by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey, to help me move beyond self-doubt. In fact, the last time I was down on myself, a synchronistic notice of this mediation series came to me via an email. (A big side note here is that the Chopra Center promotes these mediations for free when they first release them. Get on their email list to be invited to the freebies if you want to try them out first.) This confirmed my belief in the importance of cultivating and nourishing your sparkle so that it’s always available to you when you need it most.
In order to move forward and be the leader you want to be, you need to trust in yourself. If you don’t have a reserve of energy and confidence to tap into when someone questions your judgment or disagrees with your opinion, you risk slipping backward and losing momentum. You risk being an ineffective leader when you have the potential to make a huge difference in the world.
I’d love to hear from you …
Do you ever struggle to find your inner-confidence, that inner sparkle? Have you been in situations where you’ve handed your sparkle to someone else and lost your sense of self? As always, share your thoughts and stories in the comments.