James Bond has it, Kate Moss oozes it and Madonna invented it. Confidence. It’s the one thing that can pull you out of any sticky, social situation. Confidence allows you to stand out and make a memorable impression that will land you your dream job, and take you further than a masters degree. Confidence comes from knowing that you are your best and greatest asset, and it pays to invest in yourself.

Why? Simply put, being confident in your own skin is highly desirable and attractive. It comes from knowing who you are and owning yourself. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to be perfect, powerful or beautiful, there are no specific requirements needed from your genetic make up or your Curriculum Vitae to make you the most desirable person in the room.

If you are struggling with your self image, you should start by doing some inside work. Make peace with yourself, your past, any mistakes that haunt you. Let it go, you are not defined by a few moments in time. At any given moment, you have the power to transform yourself. Change is good, it’s healthy. I recommend, some zen time, find a quiet relaxing places, light some candles and just sit with your thoughts, write all the negative thoughts down, and then replace your thoughts with positive affirmations. Journaling or simply jotting down your mental mumble jumble is an amazing way to empty your mind, allowing you to welcome new positive thoughts that boost your self esteem. It’s literally like a mental mind dump. I also recommend writing down all of your strengths, all of the things that you like about yourself and focus on that.

Confidence comes from owning yourself, flaws and all. But the secret to getting it right is mastering the art of being cool and calm while appearing extremely confident. It’s not about cockiness and definitely don’t want to appear arrogant. It’s important to remember that people are all the same, we all have our insecurities and inner conflicts, but it how we handle them that determines the outcome of our success.

So now, you’ve done the inner work, you’ve got to do the outside work.

Presentation is key. Smelling good and looking good makes you feel confident. Wear clothes that make you feel good, wear your favourite perfume. Looking after your skin and eating right gives you a sense of worthiness. Wearing shoes that make you walk tall with poise instantly makes you feel good and people see it. Self care is a gateway to self improvement, and taking the time to glorify and honor your mind body and soul is essential to well being and feeling confident in your own skin.

Another little tip, in times of pressure like interviews and meetings if you are feeling overwhelmed, is to go into the bathroom, do some deep breathing exercises and stretching. Breathe in — Hold — Exhale. Repeat until you feel relaxed. Look in the mirror, tell yourself you will handle this because you always do and smile. Pulling a smile whether you feel happy or not, tricks your brain chemistry into believing you are happy so your mood starts to instantly feel better.

Originally published at medium.com