Fostering Confidence to Kill It on Stage
Guest Article by Celeste Rains-Turk--MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling, NCC, BA Psychology
Walking across stage in front of a panel of judges to showcase weeks, months, years of hard work can feel overwhelming. You see the best of the best go up there and own the stage with confidence that lights up the entire room and wonder, how does she do it? It appears effortless for some but maybe to you it feels foreign to put on a pair of heels, sparkly suit, all done up, and get underneath the stage lights with only a few moments to present your best and try not to trip. In interviewing 100s of IFBB Bikini Pros for my podcast, ‘Confessions of a Bikini Pro’, many of them have expressed that before they go on stage, they like to take a moment to pull their shoulders back and chest up, acknowledge the journey they have been on or give themselves a pep talk or even pray to God that they don’t trip. Reflecting on these conversations has inspired me to share more of what is known about confidence and how you can use these insights to support yourself on stage.
Researchers have found that people who are confident possess a greater level of competency than people who are arrogant or lack confidence (Kleitman et al, 2018). Meaning, they not only believe in their abilities, but their belief is justified by their ability which reduces their bias or false evaluation of themselves and instead posits provides reliable proof that they can say they are going to own it. One can also identify that it is beneficial to speak positively about and to yourself to evoke an ‘I got this’ energy that can support going into a task, such as stepping on stage, feeling more empowered. This is according to the self-affirmation theory which suggests people want to embody an image of themselves which is aligned with a positive perception of themselves as well as how they function in the world and if that image is threatened it can cause an increase in stress and a decrease in performance. This is where affirmations could be utilized to disarm the perception of the threat to image and increase the likelihood of a healthy response to threat that is productive rather than self-destructive or sabotaging (Cohen & Sherman, 2014). Then you can consider posture alone, which when you feel confident and comfortable, you will carry yourself better and when you change your physiological state to one that is open, tall, straight, you can change how you perceive yourself. Researchers have found that a person who is pushing their chest out and expanding their body tend to feel more powerful than those who slouch, and they can rely on their own thoughts more (Brinol et al, 2009).
This means if you can stand tall, speak positively, and recognize all the work you have done to increase your ability to own the stage, you are likely to have an increase in confidence. Even when I read through some of the testimonials and reviews of The Shoe Fairy Heels, I found these sentiments were shared.
This woman always worried about stumbling until she found the pair of heels that were comfortable which inspired confidence to let go of that fear.
Kellie found that feeling secure in her shoes to the point she could wear them every day and not even worry about needing to break them in exhibits a level of trust and one less thing to worry about backstage because she knows she can throw them on and strut without even thinking about how her heels will feel.
Janita and Danielle feel the energy of a princess putting her glass slipper on on given how gorgeous they are which can really inspire an identity to express on stage that is elevated from a day to day feeling or putting on something that she doesn’t visually like or wouldn’t choose to wear or doesn’t have the ‘perfect’ fit.
Ways to Apply this Information to Support you in Being your Most Confident Self
- Stand tall
- Put your chest up and shoulders back
- Open your body
- Take time to recognize all that you have done that has supported you in this journey and in improving
- Try tracking every posing session you do on a habit tracker sheet or to-do list
- Make a list of the ways you have grown and evolved as an athlete
- Combat fearful thinking with evidence. See if you can identify evidence that does and doesn’t support your fears
- Using the insight from number 2, create affirmations (using pen to paper with your dominant writing hand can support higher belief in what you are writing so if you can do this on pen and paper, great!) I also think it can be helpful to speak them into your voice memo app or onto video depending on how you learn or like to express and receive love
- Affirm what you have done, can do, will do, and are doing
- Avoid statements that contain the word ‘not’ or any iteration of it
- Post them around your home or set alarms on your calendar to go off that encourage you to read the affirmations
- Make sure when you spend time affirming, you are in a positive physiological state (go back to your power posture!)
Build your Arsenal
- Outfit yourself with things which will support you in mitigating fears, stress, or concern of any kind.
- Choose heels that fit right and can be worn for a long period of time that you won’t be worried about falling in. Benefit if you love how they look and they put you in the energy you want to embody on stage…hello Beyonce
- Wear jewelry that makes you feel put together and get your hair and makeup done in a way which makes you feel beautiful and take the time to pick a suit that fits and shines in a way that highlights all the work you have done
- Leave nothing up to chance, come prepared with extras and know that you are covered
- Pack reminders of your journey, affirmations, and the vibe you want to radiate to the judges…consider packing something that makes you think of the intense gym sessions you had or the hours of posing and cardio that prepared you to hold your own on stage. Sometimes just a little symbol that carries all this meaning can go a long way.
Celebrate Your Work
- At the end of each workout, meal, posing session, or day take time to recognize the commitment you followed through on
- When you have done something consistently, reward yourself with something that will support you in continuing your efforts (example, get a new pair of lifting shoes if you have been killing it and wore them down and want to spruce it up…this will motivate you to keep pushing and it will be a pat on the back for the work you have done)
- Express pride in your efforts by setting standards, goals, and commitments that you can ‘check off’ as you go and continue to build on.
When you are considering being your best on stage. It is really going to come down to your personal journey and your interpretation of yourself. All the rest will not matter nearly as much as how you feel about your efforts and your presentation. Building confidence does not just come to those who put in the work but to those who take the time to set themselves up for success and build on, acknowledge, affirm, and celebrate their work. You can, have, and will show up for yourself when you choose to believe you are worthy of that commitment. You can, have, and will feel most confident in yourself when your daily efforts reflect your goals, and your goals support your values.
Looking for more support with the mental demands of competing? Connect with me on Instagram: @celestial_fit where I post content like this which combines psychology and personal development tools to support athletes in having their most fulfilling preps and improvement seasons. Or, if you are looking for hands on support and guidance, visit www.celestial.fitto see how we can work together, see client success stories, or even download free resources like my competitor card deck for mental gains or the food relationship coaching series.
Celeste Rains-Turk in a Nutshell:
- Personal Development, Self-Love, Food Freedom, and Mindset Coach
- National Certified Counselor
- B.A. Psychology - Notre Dame College Magna Cum Laude
- M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Summa Cum Laude
- Associates in Science Degree with an emphasis in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
- #1 Best-Selling Self-Help Author of 'Believe your way to Badass'
- Host of the 'Confessions of a Bikini Pro' Podcast
- NPC Bikini Competitor
- NASM CPT
- Curriculum Vitae
Briñol, P., Petty, R. E., & Wagner, B. (2009). Body posture effects on self-evaluation: A self-validation approach. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39(6), 1053–1064. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.607
G.L. Cohen, D.K. Sherman the psychology of change: Self-affirmation and social psychological intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 65 (2014), pp. 333-371, 10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137
Kleitman, S., Hui, J. S.-W., & Jiang, Y. (2019). Confidence to spare: individual differences in cognitive and metacognitive arrogance and competence. Metacognition & Learning, 14(3), 479–508. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-019-09210-x