One of the first books I was encouraged to read by best-selling author and number 7 leadership guru Orrin Woodward was the Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, PH.D. Within the first 25 pages I was able to identify the biggest personal struggle I was having that was keeping me from success, in business and in life. In the book a story is shared of a man where he discovers his limiting belief and the story hit me right in the heart. Here is the part that hit me: “I was seeing my weak point for the first time. I discovered that I had held back. I had always carried a little stick. I dug into myself deeper and deeper and found the reason I lacked initiative was because I didn’t believe inside that I was worth very much.” This single paragraph sent me on a mission to find value in myself, build my confidence, and make changes in my life. I wanted to live “big”, to have a meaningful life! I encourage you to pick up the book but first I want to share one of the things I applied from the book that made a huge difference for me. I still remember studying these five principles and trying to apply them everyday, sometimes asking my wife (be careful here 😉 ) and others around me if they noticed me applying what I was learning. Everyday I would review the 5 things and try to use them all day. Here are the five confidence-building exercises from The Magic of Thinking Big.

1) Be a front seater.

Sitting in the front of any event draws attention, but it is also the place to learn the most. Sitting up front builds confidence. Show up early to meetings and grab the front row!

2) Practice making eye contact.

This was tough for me, I would much sooner hide behind the brim of my hat then make eye contact. When you make eye contact people want to talk to and acknowledge you. Looking into someones eyes not only build confidence, it tells others you are confident and honest. If someone does not look you in the eye you feel the are hiding something.

3) Walk 25 percent faster.

Moving quickly is a sign of a good attitude and confidence. Someone who walks faster says to the world “I’ve got some place important to go, something important to do. What’s more, I will succeed at what I will do 15 minutes from now.”

4)Practice speaking up.

“The more you speak up, the more you add to your confidence, and the easier it is to speak up the next time. Speak up. It’s a confidence-building vitamin”

5) Smile big.

Even the act of smiling makes you feel better about yourself and the day. When you feel fear or defeat let out a big smile, it is hard to feel bad when you are smiling. I actually used to practice smiling in a mirror before I went out and then asked people around me to let me know if I was smiling.

I hope you decide to give these 5 principles a try!

God bless, Dan Hawkins