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May 20, 2014

We all know those women — the ones who stride with an air of grace into a room. They’re not always the thinnest, prettiest, or smartest. They’re not arrogant. They’re the ones who make you want to be around them.

Growing up, all I seemed to do was make people run the other direction. My fears, neuroses, and quirks kept me hating myself. They also threw me into bouts of depression, eating disorders, and codependency.

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Why can’t I be thinner? Prettier? Smarter? I continually asked. Then I changed the questions: What creates this aura, this vibe of confidence? What do these women do that I don’t?

Soon enough, I received an answer and I felt my vibe shift. My newfound confidence shifted my world — my career, my relationships, and my health.

After much study, discussion, and practice, I realized these five things are what confident women do differently than women who lack confidence. These have become 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.

Insecure about your body? So are millions of other women — embrace your goods and teach others to embrace theirs! Shameful of your intelligence? Forget the degrees 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.

Some of the greatest thinkers, artists, speakers, lawyers, and performers of our time have a preperformance 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 apartment in high heels. If I want to feel calm, I’ll focus on my exhale breaths. 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 drop 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.

Know what you need to make this precious time with yourself the best time. There is nothing sexier than a woman who ADORES her own company.

4. They take nothing (or very little) personally.

Do you know any confident woman who takes everything personally? 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. 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. Such neural associations are initiated by questions. Simply, the more empowering questions we ask ourselves, the more confident we will be.

If you ask disempowering questions like, “Why does this always happen to me?” your mind will come up with an answer. In contrast, ask, “What am I happy about now? What could I be happy about if I wanted to?” Or if there is a problem, ask, “What is great about this problem? 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.

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Saren Stiegel
Saren Stiegel
Founder of The Glow Effect

Saren is the vibrant creator of The Glow Effect (TGE), a personal and sustainable development movement that believes women's leadership is the most important tool for social change, and author of TGE, the essential book on self and world empowerment. As a former attorney, a job she didn't love, Saren knows that it’s easy to criticize, compare, and take things personally, so she created TGE process to combat our most common problems—from addiction and anxiety to burnout and resentment. Now, as a coach, Saren uses this unique approach to teach you how to be unshakably confident and uplift others. Saren and The Glow Effect are featured in Entrepreneur, FOXNews, and Above The Law. Find TGE on Facebook and Instagram.