Featured Image courtesy of Fairmont Dental

You may have heard about the "confidence gap" between men and women. It's reflected in the number of women running Fortune 500 companies: 32. As low as that number is, it's still an all-time high. Women are as capable and well-educated as men. Although more than half of law school graduates are women, partners in law firms are overwhelmingly male. There are relatively few women leading nations. A study of women and leadership found that women ranked higher than men, especially women over 40. Many women, however, lack the confidence to dream big and fight for those dreams.

Ask for Feedback and Take Action

Researchers discovered it was important to ask for feedback from others you respect and take action to improve any weaknesses. Over half of all women in leadership positions demonstrated this behavior. If you want to develop this habit yourself, think of it as if you were a runner in a training program. One week, a runner may focus on pacing their stride, and then on the next week, they might focus on improving their endurance. Ask others what areas you can improve on, then set goals and work on them. Each goal achieved, no matter how small, is a victory that feeds your self-confidence.

Wear Black or Red

If you want to be perceived by others as a self-confident individual, wear black. A study found that black clothing makes people appear more confident, more intelligent, and more attractive to others. After black, red came in as a close second. When other people react positively to you, you feel better about yourself.

Wear a Great Perfume

Wearing a fabulous fragrance is a boost to self-confidence and how attractive you feel. Research backs this up. It may take a while to find the perfect perfume for you, but it's worth the effort. It's far better to wear your signature fragrance daily than to switch from one cheap scent to another on a whim.

Exercise Outdoors

You've heard a thousand times that when you feel fit, you feel more confident. However, one simple change can increase the positive effects of exercise: move it outdoors. Researchers found that while exercising indoors had a positive impact on self-confidence and mood, "green" exercise in natural surroundings significantly boosted self-esteem. Go for a run around the neighborhood, or try doing yoga in the park!

Smile

If you can only do one thing to feel more self-confident, SMILE. Many studies have focused on the importance of smiling. Smiling says, "I like you," and people smile back. Smiling people are considered more attractive. Smiling on purpose can help you feel happier because of the release of endorphins, while a frown heightens depression or anxiety. In business or social occasions, a pleasant, positive outlook and expression works for you. You can become more confident, but it's a journey with many steps. Each step is a victory, and it's easy to begin today. Look self-confident, and you'll feel self-confident. Become your best and most confident you.