Hi everyone! Have you been practicing all the body language tips from the last blog post yet? Today, we are going to be taking a step beyond traditional body language tips and add an extra personal flair that will give you a boost of confidence wherever you go.
Let’s begin with a story...
When I first entered pageantry, it was to compete in Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina. I entered the competition because I was painfully shy and wanted to do something that forced me to feel more comfortable being in the spotlight. After winning the competition that spring, I was launched on a journey that did just that! Suddenly, I found myself needing to prep for the national competition and attend appearances all over the state. For one of my first appearances, I called my new mentor Shannon, the girl who had won the Ms. Wheelchair N.C. competition the year before I did, and asked if she would go with me. Shannon was the kind of person who could talk to anyone. She was outgoing and charismatic and knew how to network like no one I had met before. I knew that if I was going to survive the year ahead of me, I had to have someone like her to look up to.
That morning at our “walk-a-thon” event, we rolled around the track, chatting with all the people at the various booths (who all seemed to already know her) and I watched her like a hawk on each stop. Throughout the rest of our day, I did my best to mimic her proactive style of initiating conversations with everyone who went by.
At all the events I attended in the following months, I gave myself a mantra: “Act Like Shannon.” I found myself going up to people I previously would have been too scared to go up to, asking others to partner on events together, and even initiating taking a photo with my new acquaintance that I would later put on social media.
As the year went by, I realized that this new style of initiation was becoming second nature. I had become a person who had absolutely no trouble having conversations with a stranger - I was transforming right before my eyes!
Several years later, I began the journey of competing in Miss North Carolina USA. This process was enormously intimidating! I was no longer in disability pageants; instead, I was in a world where I felt like I didn’t belong. As the first girl in a wheelchair to compete for North Carolina, I was breaking new ground for my state and it felt like more pressure than I could handle.
I researched the other girls who I would be competing with and looked at photos of seemingly tall, long-legged models who could strut circles around me on stage. It made it all the worse to know that none of the other girls would have to worry about incontinence or rolling over their dress while they did the cat-walk on stage.
My nerves shot up, and my confidence plummeted down.
During preparation, I remembered the trick I used only a couple of years earlier to imitate Shannon whenever I wanted to be more assertive with talking to people. I thought, surely this could work to help me build up confidence for competing in Miss North Carolina USA! Except this time, I used a bit of a different strategy.
One of my pageant coaches happened to be a former Miss USA. On the days that I worked with her, I would write down the subtle ways that she portrayed confidence and grace. Every morning, I began to go over this list of qualities, but instead of telling myself to act like her, I told myself to imagine these qualities coming from me - in the future. I would imagine I had won the big kahuna: Miss USA. I would ask myself, how would I act throughout the day if I were Miss USA? How would I greet people? How would I feel about myself? How would I hold myself in situations that normally make me feel uncomfortable?
The first time I tried out this strategy, I felt like I was on cloud nine. It was like acting a part in a play and taking on a character with full gusto and no inhibitions. I told myself to feel the feelings of someone in my mind who “was important” and who “should feel confident,” until I actually realized I could feel those things just the way I was.
I did this day after day after day, until the evening came where I had to go out on the Miss North Carolina USA stage. Every girl was gorgeous, and yes, seemed at least four feet taller than me. However, instead of thinking that my differences would make me stick out like a sore thumb, I decided to believe that these differences were instead an asset. I believed that the judges would see my unique beauty and grace, and as I had trained myself to think so many times before, in my heart, I believed that I had already won.
Even though I only placed in the Top 10 that day, I can assure you, I feel like I still came out a winner! The story of me becoming the first girl in a wheelchair to place that high in a Miss USA state pageant had gone international, and all the news outlets were talking about my journey to show others that people with physical disabilities could still be bold and beautiful.
I knew that my mindset had worked and was now reaching people around the world.
Now it is YOUR turn to go out into the world as the bold and confident you by channeling someone you admire. We all look up to different people because they portray unique qualities of confidence, and this is your chance to pick up on their individual flare. Here are three tips to get started:
1. Think of one of your favorite celebrities who seems undeniably confident in who they are. Watch interviews of them (or characters that they play in movies) and make notes of small ways they portray confidence in their actions. Apply these actions throughout your day.
2. Find a mentor who you look up to and ask them if you can meet with them or shadow them on several scheduled dates. Watch how they act around other people and work to implement those strategies in your life.
3. Think of a title or goal that you would simply die to achieve. (One that seems like the “I’ve made it” kind of situation.) Like I did, ask yourself the following:
• How would you act throughout your day?
• What would you do if people were rude to you?
• What general beliefs would you have about yourself?
You deserve to be the most confident you that you can be. Sometimes the difference between insecurity and unshakable confidence is a simple shift of perception. Decide to make that shift today!
After miraculously surviving a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down, Madeline Delp decided that she would refuse to be a victim to her circumstance. She’s a Ms. Wheelchair USA winner, keynote speaker, and fear chaser. She founded her nonprofit organization, Live Boundless, to provide wheelchairs to those in need.
Madeline has also been an Aeroflow Urology Brand Ambassador since 2019. During her time as Brand Ambassador, she has helped spread awareness of the Aeroflow Urology brand and has assisted in tackling the stigma associated with incontinence.