I was surprised to learn recently there is a crisis in confidence running amok in women these days. Many are lacking the confidence to step up, speak up, or take credit for a job well done. At first the idea seemed foreign, but then I started looking around at the women in my life and I realized that yes, most of my friends and associates deal with the fact that they lack the confidence to step out and into living their lives fully.

Rank your confidence right now, with 10 being highly confident (you speak your mind, offer opinions when necessary, make decisions quickly without a lot of second guessing). And zero being low or no confidence (you keep your thoughts and comments to yourself, believing no one wants to hear them, and you are indecisive, unable to make a decision without asking at least three people their opinion, etc.).

You were born with two very specific lifelong accounts that your actions, decisions, and experiences make deposits into and withdrawals from. Your first holds your integrity and the second, your confidence. If your decisions are supportive of your integrity, then your account balance grows—if not, a withdrawal occurs. To make a deposit into your integrity bank account, you need to restore your integrity, which takes a lot of time, and a lot of work. Likewise, your actions and decisions affect your confidence, which is also affected by your reactions to how others respond to your decisions.

How you respond to decisions under normal circumstances and during times of crisis can be completely different. Your confidence allows your decisions in times of crisis to be similar to under normal circumstances. The more confident you are, the better decisions you will make when under a high level of stress.

Remember, your interpretation of stress and definition of crisis can and will be completely redefined based on your experiences. So what you consider to be a crisis may not be considered even remotely stressful to another.

It’s important understand the true meaning and impact stress can have on you and your ability to make effective decisions. Most people lump stress all into one big ball. But for you to truly be confident in your life, you need to understand the difference between internal and external stress.

Here are three easy actions for you to take today to begin improving your confidence and get not only what you deserve in life, but what you desire.

Action 1: Identify the emotion first triggered when you are in a heightened stress situation.
As an example, imagine you are in the office and someone else takes credit for a job you completed. What did you emotionally feel? Was it powerlessness? Grief? Anger? Discouragement? Whatever it is, just accept it. Don’t judge yourself for feeling it. That’s what we do as humans—we feel—so go ahead and feel the emotion being triggered. By feeling the emotion, your self-confidence is immediately increased due to having newfound, empowering knowledge.

Action 2: Step up your emotion.
If you are feeling angry, look to raise your emotion to discouragement. If you are feeling discouragement, look to raise your emotion to frustration. If you are feeling insecure, look to raise your emotion to jealousy. The key is to raise your emotion which will bring new perspective on the situation. With a new perspective you are going to increase your confidence both regarding the situation at hand, and in general.

Action 3: Execute!
This action is twofold. First, execute the lower emotion and continue raising your emotion to a higher level until you’re back to feeling positive. Second, take the step(s) necessary to act on your newly found confidence; to resolve the situation triggering your stress. Back to our example of someone else taking the credit for your job well done, an action might be to approach the person who took the credit and congratulate her on her success while making sure to give yourself a pat on the back for taking the high road.

Confidence breeds confidence, and with each step you take, your confidence grows greater.

To your success!

by GalTime.com Contributor Karen Kleinwort, Coach Karen K

GalTime.com is an online magazine with one simple mission: to empower and entertain women. GalTime is founded on the belief that every article and video we publish should help women lead happier, healthier, more informed lives. GALTime content is derived from a large network of contributors who are a unique combination of highly respected, often award-winning, experts in their own fields, and well-established bloggers who have created powerful social and viral networks.