How can I become more confident?
June 20, 2022
Your confidence plays an important role in your career, especially in terms of your success.
Having confidence allows you to take risks. It gives you the courage to request assignments on high level projects and to speak up for yourself when your boundaries are compromised. It is an overall feeling that you can manage most situations without fear of doubt.
If you feel like your confidence could be better, trust me that you are not alone. We all have areas in our lives where we wish we were more confident. Happily, you aren’t stuck with your current level of confidence. This is something that you can work on and improve!
What are you doing to become more confident?
Building confidence takes time, effort, and your willingness to take risks. You have to be willing to lean into the concept popularized by Thomas H. Palmer: “If you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.” You must be willing to fall short (I am not a fan of the word failure) each time you attempt to do something new. That is what learning is all about, and confidence comes with working for your eventual success.
A recent conversation with one of my clients highlights the challenge that most of us face when it comes to our confidence. She was telling me about a stressful, difficult experience that happened to her one time in college. As she told me her story, she realized that many of the decisions she’s made about her career were based on that one, single experience. We talked about how important it is to not define ourselves by one moment in time; that we need to look at the many other moments that were positive and use those to ground our self-perception and our confidence.
How about YOU? Are you ready to begin building your confidence?
Use the process below to start growing your confidence one step at a time.
First, identify your unique challenge:
Grab a piece of paper and draw two vertical lines so that you have 3 columns.
- In the left column, identify the situations where you especially struggle with your confidence. Get really specific. The clearer you can be about where you struggle with your confidence, the easier it will be to focus on improving it. For example: If you lack confidence when speaking in public, list some situations that come to mind. Giving a speech at a conference? Being on stage in a play? Or being at a party with people you don’t know?
- In the middle column, identify what you believe may be the source of your lack of confidence in each of those situations. Was there one incident in your life or several that contributed to this struggle? What did someone say to you that affected your confidence?
- In the right column, capture your thoughts, emotions, and actions that you associate with each of those situations where you don’t feel confident.
Second, select one situation from your piece of paper that you want to work on, and do the following:
- Find opportunities to practice the thing that you envision. Now is your chance to take that risk. Start small and choose to be ok with the fact that it may not go perfectly the first time, or the second. But the more you do it, the more confident you will become.
- Before you actually step into that situation, visualize yourself doing it confidently. Be very specific! For example, if you want to become more confident with giving a speech at a conference, visualize yourself up on the stage giving a speech with total confidence. What would you be thinking if you were confident up on that stage? What would it feel like to be so confident? As you visualize, think and feel those things as if you were actually up on that stage, feeling confident.
Developing a stronger foundation of confidence takes time and it does not happen overnight. Celebrate your successes and learn from your challenges. You’ve got this!
Where do you want to go in your career?
Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.