Body Confidence

Body Confidence - Samantha Leith

BODY CONFIDENCE

Body confidence is a loaded topic. As women we are constantly being told what to wear, how to look, how to act, and ultimately, what beauty is.

Unfortunately though, every single person has a different opinion of what makes beauty, so it becomes tricky for anyone to try and embody a common standard.

Sure, the media will have trends, models of the moment who are usually waifish, and slender with impossibly clear skin and so-called perfect proportions. But we also have social media showing us gorgeous fashionistas of all sizes who have endless wardrobes to style every current trend. We also have cultural beauty standards, what our parents think, what our partners say and what that guy on tinder has in his profile as his “ideal woman”.

Trying to navigate this world of complicated and convoluted beauty standards is an impossible task, so it’s no wonder that we’re often wondering how to gain body confidence in this world full of contrasting opinions.

WHAT IS BODY CONFIDENCE

Ah body confidence, the elusive thing we all seek. What is it? The answer is simple really.

Body confidence is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s presenting yourself in a way that makes you feel good, which is authentic to who you are as an individual. It’s also about balancing that with a willingness to show who you are to the world.

I’m probably more confident in my body now than I ever have been and it has nothing to do with my weight, nothing to do with wearing current trends or dressing for anyone else other than myself. It also has nothing to do with what anyone else says is beautiful, or how anyone else thinks a woman of my age / size / status / occupation etc. should dress.

It does have everything to do with only wearing clothes I feel comfortable and confident in, doing my makeup because it makes me feel good, wearing my hair in a way that makes me happy and showing the world who I am.

HOW DO I IMPROVE MY BODY CONFIDENCE

Improving your body confidence can be a long, difficult road for some people, depending on past experiences. My advice is to start simple and with the things you can control.

What feels good?

Ask yourself what feels good when you wear it. It might be all about textures for you, it might be a style, a cut, a colour or a fabric. Whatever it is, wear it and embrace it without judgment or worry about what others may say.

When my daughter Elodie asks me if I’m going out, I often tell her I need to put my face on first, to which she jokingly tells me that I already have a face. We always laugh, but the simple fact is that I like wearing makeup and I tell her so. I don’t mind if people see me without it, but it gives me a certain extra boost of confidence and it feels good to have it on. I certainly don’t need it, but if it makes me feel great then why not.

I recommend going through your wardrobe. Take note of the things that make you feel GREAT and pull out everything else. If you have anything in there which makes you feel less than your most confident and comfortable self, then get rid of it. If it knocks you down a peg, if it doesn’t sit right, it you don’t like the colour, the fit or the style anymore, then it’s gone.

Can you let go of what others think?

This is definitely a harder task than going through your wardrobe, but it’s important.

Body confidence is letting your personality shine and having the best of your come through, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This can be a process, but it’s one which is worth embarking on.

Body confidence is owning what you put out into the world. There will always be people who want to change you, who have opinions on how you look, how you act, speak and so on. Some of these people will have your best interest at heart and others not so much. The most important part of improving your body confidence is letting go of others opinions. Because they don’t matter.

A friend of mine recently told me not to be “too booby” at a lunch we were both going to. Hello? I’m always booby. I like being booby. It’s just me. It’s not about having people look at my cleavage, it’s just my style that I’ve cultivated over years of working out what looks good on me and I like it.

My friend didn’t mean to be rude and she certainly didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. She is someone who dresses very differently to me, which is fine. I had to remind myself of that today, otherwise her words could have made me a little self-conscious and I can’t let her opinion affect what makes me feel great.

Of course, it’s a balancing act. If you’re heart desires to be dressed head to toe in bright purple sparkles, but you don’t think you could take the looks people will give you, then start small. Today your shoes are purple and sparkly; tomorrow it’s your top and your eye shadow. Slowly you’ll get to the point where you can be your bright purple, sparkly self and won’t care what the world around you thinks. If it makes you feel good, then it’s what you should do.

Can you stop judging others?

We so often feel the reflections of what we put into the world. If you are someone who judges others harshly, then you will assume that others judge you. This perceived or real judgment will impact your confidence. Anyone who loses a little confidence will shrink a little. They’ll stop wearing what they like, stop doing things, stop enjoying themselves and they are the only ones who suffer. They’ll stop putting themselves out into the world as much.

The moment we all stop judging each other so much is the moment we set ourselves free. So next time you see someone wearing something or doing something you consider outrageous, or even just a little different, try and catch yourself before you judge. Instead, you can send a little hope into the universe that the person in front of you feels great, that they’re feeling confident, living their best lives and being true to themselves.

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Why You Need An Advisory Board

 

We all need help in life. We need people to motivate us, guide us and challenge us. No one can really succeed without the backing of some very trusted advisors. This goes for life and business life.

My advisory board is made up of a team of people, each with a specific area of expertise that helps to guide me in a particular area of life or business. I have chosen them deliberately and carefully and their place on my board is no accident.

My advice when you sit down to think about your advisory board is to consider your own skillset and the gaps you need others to fill. How big is that role and where you’re at in your business or personal life. What is that person’s role? What do you want to get from them?

The mistake many entrepreneurs make is including family and friends on their advisory board. Now, this is not to say you can’t seek advice from family and friends, but you should keep in mind two things.

1. What are their qualifications to advise you on this topic?

If Mum’s an accountant and we’re asking her about tax, then go for it. But if Mum is a surgeon, well she’s clearly very clever, but may not know heaps about your business finances, so maybe try someone else.

2. Can they be impartial?

Family and friends want what’s best for you and often in business, they may not want to hurt you or challenge your ideas and so they may not give unbridled honesty. Or, they’ll be afraid to see you fail and so will counsel you against making a big business move or trying a new idea.

VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD

I have a special subgroup of my Advisory Board that is my Virtual Advisory Board (VAB). None of these people know they’re in my team and in fact, I’ve only met two of them.

I have chosen each of the people on my VAB just as carefully as I have those on my main advisory board. I picked those on my VAB because each of them have a special style, skill, business acumen or have done something which has resonated with me this year. Each of them has walked a path which I am interested in either personally or professionally.

These women (because they’re all badass ladies) are on my board to help with questions or decisions that usually only I could answer, in life or in business. When these considerations come along, I’ll ask myself:

What Oprah would do?

Yep, Oprah is on my board and why not! She’s an incredible strategic businesswoman. So when an Oprah-like issue comes along, I put myself in her shoes and make my choice based on what I think she would do.

MY VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD

Mel Robbins

An incredible speaker. The best female speaker in the world in my opinion. Mel has an unbelievable phoenix from the ashes story. Unemployed and broke at 41 to a world-renowned entrepreneur, one of the highest-paid female speakers in the world, TV show host and bestselling author and all before she turned 50.

sparkle_&_achieveJillian Michaels

Not that I want abs like Jill, but she worships her body and that’s what she’s on my VAB to inspire me of.

Nigella Lawson

Nigella is a goddess in the kitchen and who wouldn’t want that! A journalist who pivoted and changed cookbooks from technical manuals to a more relaxed style which celebrating home-cooking.

Oprah

Do I need to say why Oprah is on here? Smart from the get-go, strategic and built an empire from the ground up. Every move she made led to an undeniably successful career, which has lasted decades.

Sara Blakely

The creator of Spanx is on my VAB for creating a business from her dining room table with only $5000. Her business is not only successful, but became a world-wide phenomenon.

Dita von Teese

I once met Dita in a New York bathroom and it was like seeing someone photo-shopped in real life. Dita is not just here for her looks though. She created an incredible business, based on a niche style of entertainment. She elevated burlesque from an old-fashioned strip-show, with all of its judgmental connotations, to an elegant and fashionable art form.

Marie Forleo

Marie is an entrepreneur who puts a lot of goodness out into the world. She built her business based on what she wanted to do and is a very smart operator in the world of motivation.

Bette Midler

The divine Ms. Midler of course. She’s on my VAB for her attitude and her staying power in an industry that eats people alive fairly regularly. She’s my go-to when it comes to any show business conundrums. What would Bette do?

Beyoncé

Queen B. If you only needed one source of inspiration, this woman could be it. Sexy, talented, super smart. Her business acumen and negotiation skills alone make her worthy of my list. Consider the deal she did with Netflix for Homecoming. She may not have been paid as much as other artists for Coachella, but she negotiated this back-end deal with Netflix and that shows how clever she is.

CHARACTERISTICS TO INSPIRE

Now you know the specific reason I chose each of the women on my VAB, I’ll tell you what they all have in common. These are part of the reason I chose them; traits I wish to be able to embody in my business or personal life.

Confidence

They all know within themselves that they are doing exactly what they were put on this earth to do and they do it in a manner which is absolutely unwaivering.

The ability to fail

These women have all failed. Look at Mel Robbins, who was in crippling debt from a failed business venture before becoming them woman we know today. Each of them has built their mountain of success of lots of small failures and they all keep going.

Charisma

Charisma is about how you make other people feel and these women have it in boatloads. You are drawn to them at the back of a concert hall full of thousands of other people, through a computer screen or via their written words. They make you feel something, create a connection and it’s all about that charisma.

Courage

It takes courage to succeed, to run a business or be in the public eye. It takes courage to follow a dream and smash it out of the park. You have to chase it daily and work hard once you’re there.

Commitment

Think about Beyoncé dancing and still singing perfectly. How much she must train, practice and rehearse. How many recipes did Nigella make that tasted terrible? Each of them was persistent and committed to their vision and that’s how they got where they are.

YOUR VAB

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to sit down and decide who would be on your Virtual Advisory Board? What traits and characteristics inspire you? Is it hard work? Is it being clever financially? Whatever it is, find your advisors and the next time you need a bit of advice, ask yourself:

What would Oprah do?

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