How to Feel More Confident

Researchers have consistently found a correlation between confidence and success. They believe they can handle whatever life throws at them and take more risks, which naturally leads to unlocking opportunities. If you’d like to see more of these characteristics in yourself, here’s what you can do to be more comfortable in your own skin.


1. Always Be Ready to Tell a Good Story

Even if your life is generally quiet and lacking adventure or drama, you should always be able to answer the question “What’s new?” with something other than “Not much.” Confident people are good conversationalists, but it’s a skill that some people need to practice more than others. Are you planning a vacation? Remodeling part of your house? Running kids around to sporting events? Invested in a big project at work that’s demanding your attention? Find something interesting to say when someone starts a conversation.


2. Demonstrate Inquisitiveness

Also in the spirit of being a good conversationalist, try to show genuine interest in the people around you. Here are good questions to get people talking about themselves: What are you most excited about? What are you struggling with at the moment? What’s next? You should also be prepared to answer these queries yourself—doing so will help you be ready to tell a good story.


3. Practice Good Posture

Don’t slouch: It communicates you lack faith in yourself. If this is a weak area for you, try posting a note on the edge of your computer display with a reminder such as an up-arrow in thick red marker. To correct yourself, roll your shoulders back and imagine pulling a string from the top of your head, elongating your spine and raising your chin so it’s in a neutral, forward-facing position.


4. Stop Worrying About What People Think

Less confident people often can’t be present and their best selves if they’re constantly asking themselves questions such as: Did I come across as confident? Did they think that I was smart? Did they think that I was successful? Did they think what I said was stupid? In truth, you can never really know what someone else thinks of you. So, instead of worrying about it, concentrate on what you want to communicate, such as asking good questions, not engaging in time-wasting small talk, and looking people in the eyes.


What good is a fabulous wardrobe if you don’t have somewhere fabulous to store it? This question plagued a Toronto woman, whose dark, dysfunctional walk-in closet didn’t jibe with her stylish attire. Though spacious, the frumpy pinstripe-wallpapered room was outfitted with only a few precarious rods, a single overhead shelf and some hooks, while an adjacent staircase created an awkward slanted nook at one end. To boot, the homeowner was not eager to part with her fashion funds.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg came on board to polish this diamond in the rough. Having stripped the room bare and freshened up the walls with warm white paint, Stacy got down to organizing. “A one-size-fits-all closet system wasn’t going to work in this nook,” she says. That’s why the designer chose IKEA’s versatile and budget-friendly Algot storage series. Stacy finished the scene with a handful of accessories, including an overdyed vintage rug, a framed print and a cool clock. “It’s easy to lose track of time in a space like this,” says Stacy. We can’t think of a better reason to arrive fashionably late!

Though spacious, the frumpy pinstripe-wallpapered walk-in closet was outfitted with only a few precarious rods, a single overhead shelf and some hooks, while an adjacent staircase created an awkward slanted nook at one end.

Beautiful and Practical Design Tips

Cork has taken a few stops on its winding journey to showstopping interior design element: From the wine industry as bottle-stoppers (its most common and most lucrative use), then to badminton shuttlecocks and bulletin boards, next to a purely functional use in architecture as sub-flooring and insulation, and finally the walls, ceilings and floors in the homes featured in AD. The woody material’s pragmatic use in architecture is well deserved because of its elastic, cellular structure, its thermal-regulating and soundproofing qualities, and its natural resistance to fire, but it’s the cork’s natural warm hue and subtly dappled texture that are the secret to its modern design success. The versatile material can be dyed or painted (and still maintain its speckled look), it can be applied to walls and ceilings, and its inherent durability make it a prime choice for floors. Here, AD explores the varied uses of cork in spaces like one of Seth Meyers’s dressing rooms, a summer house designed by Thom Filicia, and the modernist home of GQ‘s Fred Woodward.

Designed by Ashe + Leandro, a dressing room backstage at Late Night: Seth Meyers features the warm, natural texture of a cork wall covering by Wolf-Gordon. The space, which also boasts an overhead cork pendant light made by Benjamin Hubert, is livened up with a bright-red sofa, colorful artwork, and a lime green floral arrangement.

The striking black cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances are balanced with the softer, more natural tones of cork flooring by DuroDesign in this Hudson Valley home. Known as Obercreek Farm, the countryside residence has been in the family of financier Alex Reese for six generations and was renovated by his wife, architect Alison Spear.

The cork-lined walls of this bathroom bring the surrounding landscape inside at a summer retreat on New York’s Upper Saranac Lake. The woody wall covering was selected by designer Thom Filicia, who designed the home, known as Big Rock, with an aesthetic that combines classic Adirondack style with modern updates.

Apartment inspired makeover tips

“As foundation is to a face, paint is to a space.” This is the kind of wonderful proclamation Vancouver-based makeup artist India Daykin likes to make, and with good reason. The 22-year-old, who owns beauty specialty store India Rose Cosmeticary in the city’s MacKenzie Heights neighbourhood, expertly applied this analysis to her South Granville area apartment. “This is my first true grown-up space and a big change from the place I lived in before graduating last year,” she says.

While India admits that even her student digs were stylish – thanks to some cool cast-offs from her parents’ basement and help from her mom, interior designer-turned-bakery owner Rosie Daykin – she wanted the look of this apartment to be all hers. Coincidentally, India’s parents had briefly lived in the building when they were first married, so when a unit became available it seemed like fate – yet the family ties that led India here made her even more determined to create her own aesthetic. “I didn’t want to rely on my mom to decorate,” she says. “Of course she helped me, but I wanted to make my own mark.”

To remedy the 1,000-square-foot rental’s colour scheme – bright turquoise in the dining room and dingy yellow everywhere else – paint was the first tool of choice in India’s transformation kit. “I’ve always admired chic Parisian apartments and wanted to capture that vibe, but I had to be realistic,” she says. “Since this is a rental, I couldn’t redo the walls with plaster wainscotting, but I could paint them.” Her beauty aesthetic formed the makeover game plan. “When it comes to makeup, I’m drawn to interesting flourishes like winged eyeliner, but I like to keep the skin fresh and clean. I decided to take the same approach in my apartment,” explains India.

Convince Your Boss to Start Letting You Work

It’s happening. One friend after another is remarking on how he or she “worked from home” yesterday or is going to be “working remotely” on Wednesdays this summer. They claim they get so much done, and it’s a great way to mix up the office routine. Making calls is easier and so is zoning out on tasks that require a ton of focus and not a lot of distraction. Suddenly you wonder why you’re not doing this on occasion or even regularly. Wouldn’t your boss be all for it if she knew how much you’d accomplish? How insanely productive you’d be?

But how can you convince someone who thinks this is a foreign concept, best left for contract employees who don’t actually live in the same state as the company? It may not be easy, but with a little finesse and a proven track record, you can make it happen.

Depending on the type of person you’re dealing with and what his or her hesitations are, here are four ways to approach the often tricky subject.


If Your Boss Really, Really Likes Face-Time

You have your twice-weekly one-on-ones, and aside from that, your boss prefers striking up a face-to-face conversation to chatting over Slack or on Gchat. He even ignores your headphones when he’s got something to ask you. He values in-office time above all else, liking all team members present when they’re on the office clock. Working remotely isn’t something he cares to do, and so he can’t understand why you’d want to do it either. This type of manager is going to take some convincing, but it’s not a lost cause.

Because he likes in-person communication best, avoid emailing your request and instead initiate a face-to-face discussion. Say, “I wanted to run something by you. I wanted to see if you’d mind if I worked from home on occasion. Maybe every other Thursday to start and then if that goes well, on a weekly basis? I really value our chats about work projects throughout the day the day, so I’d make sure I’m still completely available—email, chat, phone. Let me know how that sounds and if we can test it out.”

By stating your availability and flexibility (starting out slow and then establishing a regular pattern once he sees how well it’s working out), you address his desire to get in touch with you at random and not just over email. It’s unlikely that he’ll start calling you every hour of every day that you work remotely, but giving him the options to get in touch however he prefers should at least put his mind at ease.


If Your Boss Is Suspicious

True story: I once had a colleague (not my boss, fortunately) who bluntly told me that she wouldn’t allow her reports to work from home because she didn’t “trust them.” She didn’t think they’d actually work. I shook my head and tried to convince her otherwise; they were adults, after all. Whatever assignments they had to complete, they’d get done—or face the consequences. How could she not realize this?