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10 Ways to Cultivate Credibility The clearer you are with people the better they will see your worth.

By Sherrie Campbell

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Credibility is a measure of staying calm under pressure. It is that solid state of mind which seemingly carries you effortlessly through life's problems, obstacles and difficult communications. It is that quality of being able to thrive in the sweet-space where things flow naturally. You show no ego. When you're credible you have an air of confidence which expresses itself through the way you move, behave, carry yourself and speak. Credibility is earned through education, struggle and the development of empathy. It is the sustaining aspect of your character that makes you a great leader.

1. Do not seek approval.

Approval for those who have established their credibility is internal. Is this hard to cultivate? No, but it does requires time, knowledge, action, struggle, resilience and practice. When you're not dependent upon the approval of others, you are free. Your self-acceptance equates to high performance, which creates credibility. When you have self-acceptance you rid of yourself of the emotional states of neediness and desperation, both which block opportunity and success. You are effective with your time, able say No whenever necessary, and committed to doing that which is important and valuable for you and your path. You grow your credibility through risking and making decisions based upon what is right for you.

Related: Why You Have to Get Better at Saying 'No'

2. Smile only when it is genuine.

Do not smile at people as a defense mechanism to cover up your discomfort or to seem pleasing. This lacks credibility and wreaks of insecurity. When you have earned your place in the world, you smile because it is the genuine state of your well-being. People who smile are more successful. To be establish your credibility you cannot make time for unnecessary negativity. The more you smile the more effective you become in breaking the brain's natural tendency to think negatively. Smiling rewires your brain making positive patterns more common than negative ones. When you smile you exude confidence. Smiling communicates you are comfortable with yourself and your position in life.

3. Welcome silence.

When you know your value you are not in a rush to succeed. You are comfortable with the power of silence and operate securely in this space. Silence allows you to listen effectively. Ever notice the words listen and silent are made up of all the same letters? What people want more than anything, is to feel heard, understood and considered. When a person feels these needs have been met they are drawn to you. To establish your credibility you must listen well. Make sure to take in all the information another is sharing before responding. This allows you to get a clear view into the hearts, minds and characters of those you are speaking with. Silence is a demonstration of your wisdom, intelligence and security. When you are able to reflect before you speak, you speak more intelligently and are taken more seriously.

Related: The Magic Word That Can Boost Your Business and Your Health

4. Take responsibility.

To be credible never shift responsibility for mistakes onto others. Live from an internal locus of control and trust you have the power to shape your life through your own decisions and actions. Coming from this approach makes you more confident, more likely to seek leadership positions, and you are naturally more disciplined in dealing with stress and challenge. Instead of remaining in a childish mindset, choose maturity. Never see yourself as the victim and blame others for your failures. Learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones in the establishment of your credibility.

5. Don't kiss a$$.

An overuse of flattery, pleasing or brown-nosing is not authentic. When you know who you are you provide straightforward, honest feedback to others, including your uppers. When you kiss a$$ you not only lose your authenticity, but worse-yet your feedback is self-serving. It is being done so you will be well liked. To cultivate credibility be authentic and find the balance between giving strokes when they are deserved, and more critical feedback whenever necessary. Become an expert to a point where your feedback and acknowledgements are well received and honored.

6. Love yourself.

The most stable relationship to have is the one you have with yourself. Happiness starts from within and it is this happiness which brings credibility. Do not live by the code that "once I am successful then I will be will be happy." To be successful you first need to be happy. For this reason take care to eat clean, get enough rest, and manage your thoughts and emotions gearing them towards gratitude and solutions. To be credible you must be who you say you are. You must be emotionally well before you can serve others. The wisdom being; you can better serve when you are full enough to give.

7. Openly vulnerable.

To be credible you cannot be beyond being wrong, worrying or making mistakes. Be human and be willing to show your weaknesses. Never claim to know it all. Ask for help whenever necessary. Remain humble and open to seeing your wrongs and diligently search for support when needed. Trust that it is through challenge that you grow the most, and that it is through your vulnerability you have the greatest chance of creating sustaining success.

Related: The Answers to These 3 Questions Will Get You Through the Low Points

8. Strong sense of self.

Know who are and what you want. You do not establish credibility by simply showing up in life. Credibility comes through a lot of hard knocks. When life knocks you down, learn by your own volition how to get up, keep going and keep succeeding. You learn who you are through trial and error and through being scrappy when you need to be. Trust yourself to develop your strength of character and the tenacity you need to press forward. When you find your resilience, you live with trust. When you fail and then come back and succeed people see you as a great leader; one who knows the way through challenge.

9. Don't judge.

There is no need to judge others without just cause. Jealousy is the greatest indicator of a person's insecurity. When you judge someone without knowing who they are, what their story is or how they came to be; you are coming from a place of insecurity. When you know your worth you do not operate this way. Use silence in place of judgmental or unkind words. Because you have had enough hardship in your own life, you understand judging someone else is only a projection and not a truth. Before any judgment is made, do what you can to remain open and get to know someone.

10. Accept failure.

Be unafraid to fail. With risk often comes failure but without risk there can be no success. As you establish your credibility you begin see failure as a type of success. If you have failed then you have successfully figured out something didn't work. From here, you have a fresh start and a new beginning to tackle. The failure gave you more complete information about the direction you need to take from the one you just eliminated.

To have credibility is to be strong and assured in who you are and to move gently within that energy. Over time you start to possess the elegance of remaining dignified and solid even amidst a challenge. You are able to handle yourself in a noble and ethical manner. When you know your value you hold good posture, your energy has a mystery, softness, strength and cleverness to it. You are vulnerable yet self-assured. Your credibility is the undeniable quality of the depth of your personal wisdom. Your credibility speaks for itself and builds your success.

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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