Mentally Strong Person of the Week: Confidence Expert Heather Monahan

Heather's Tips for Building the Confidence You Need To Succeed

Heather Monahan is the mentally strong person of the week.
Verywell / Julie Bang.

In the “Mentally Strong Person of the Week” series, I’ll share wisdom from some of my favorite guests on my podcast, “Mentally Strong People." I’ll explain the strategies they use to stay mentally strong and then give you my take (as a therapist) on how you can apply these strategies to your own life.

Heather Monahan is the author of Confidence Creator and host of the Creating Confidence podcast.

She’s also a keynote speaker and founder of Boss in Heels. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she spent nearly 20 years climbing the corporate ladder. She won the Glass Ceiling Award after being named the Chief Revenue Officer in Media, and she was named one of the most Influential Women in Radio in 2017. 

While Heather feels confident now, she didn’t always feel this way. At one point, she was fired from her job, and her confidence took a major hit. But she developed strategies that helped squash her self-doubt.

Heather is the “Mentally Strong Person of the Week” because of her willingness to share personal struggles and teach other people what’s helped build her confidence along the way.

Heather Monahan

Confidence is like a muscle that when trained will grow. The more you practice stepping into different things, the more proof you get that you can do hard things.

— Heather Monahan

While Heather shared a lot of strategies for developing confidence and building mental strength on the Mentally Strong People podcast, here are three of my favorite tips: 

Use empowering language.

Heather talked about how the language you use sends a powerful message to those around you. She used to make jokes about having a “blonde moment” and apologize for things that weren’t her fault. But she realized that talking down to herself caused other people to assume she didn’t deserve respect.

When she changed the language she used, people treated her differently. She encourages other people to empower themselves by changing their language too.

Heather Monahan

You’re selling people on who you are and how to treat you.

— Heather Monahan

My Take

You might think you’re cutting the tension with self-deprecating humor or that you’re being humble by saying negative things about yourself. But undercutting yourself also sends a strong message to people around you.

While it’s important to own your mistakes, don’t apologize for being you. And while it’s good to avoid taking yourself too seriously, putting yourself down sends a message that it’s OK for others to do the same.

Channel your alter ego.

Heather said that whenever she enters into a situation where she wants to act a certain way, she channels someone she thinks would handle the situation well. She might ask herself, “What would my calm friend do in a situation like this?” or “How would my confident friend respond to this?” 

Then, she acts like that person. She also made it clear that she doesn’t necessarily have to know the person to make this effective. She can channel a character from a movie, a famous person, or even a superhero.  

Heather Monahan

Channel whoever you need to in that moment because that will build confidence for you.

— Heather Monahan

My Take

Channeling someone else can help you step outside your comfort zone. But it doesn’t mean you have to act in a fake manner. Instead, you might simply show a side of yourself that you don’t normally show. And when you change your behavior, the feelings follow.

When you act confidently, you might feel as if you're more confident. Or when you act calmly, you might feel as though you're calmer. So channel someone who can help you get through a difficult situation, and you’ll likely find it helps you to do your best. 

Shine a light on shame.

Heather talked a lot about our tendency to try to hide things we’re ashamed of—like an abusive past or a certain aspect of our lives we think others won’t agree with. But hiding the things we’re ashamed of takes a lot of energy and causes us to feel powerless.

Heather said that when she has shared things she was ashamed of, she found people could often relate to what she experienced. And by sharing her story, she sometimes helped them share their own stories too. 

Heather Monahan

Own that shame, whatever it is, and watch it lose power.

— Heather Monahan

My Take 

Keeping shameful secrets will take a serious toll on your mental health. Knowing that it’s OK to talk about these things can help you feel better.

This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone all the details of your life. You can still be a private person. Shedding a light on shame just means you’re in control of who you share your story with as well as when and how you choose to do so.

To hear more of Heather's mental strength suggestions, listen to the full episode on my Mentally Strong People podcast. Each week, I’ll share another Mentally Strong Person and explain how their strategies can help you think, feel, and do your best in life.

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