How To Build Confidence
Confidence means believing in your abilities (and in yourself). It means that you trust your strengths, giving you a sense of control. Healthy confidence can feel exciting and empowering, and it can help you develop a more successful career and fulfilling life.
In other words, confidence is something that many of us want. While it’s easy to see the virtues in others, it can be challenging to build our confidence when we need it the most. Fortunately, it’s not impossible.
Below, Poised discusses confidence in detail and provides some practical tips for kicking low self-esteem to the curb!
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
Many factors can lead to low self-esteem. It could be how you are socialized and perceived by those around you and core experiences in your childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. If your parents or caregivers are harsh or limiting, if you feel rejected by your friends, or if you struggle in school, it can be more difficult to build confidence later in life.
The media and consumer culture can also play a role in low self-esteem, selling a false idea of the “ideal person” that we struggle to reconcile with the realities of life.
It's also common to be confident in some areas and unconfident in others. For example, perhaps you thrive as a writer but are afraid of public speaking because of negative experiences in the past.
No matter your current relationship with self-confidence, you can change your mindset for the better and become your most confident self!
How Low Self-Confidence Is Holding You Back
You heard the concept of "fake it till you make it." While this certainly is not a foolproof philosophy, there's no denying that it can work in various situations. It all has to do with confidence. People are more apt to trust someone with healthy self-confidence, even if they don’t know that much about them.
Building your confidence will help your colleagues and friends trust your abilities, which can open all kinds of doors in your career and personal life. Plus, your confidence level plays a vital role in the actions and decisions you make each day. If you lack confidence, it can keep you from taking good risks or even completing tasks that you are equipped to perform.
Overcoming Common Fears
There are many fears that people deal with in the workplace day in and day out. Let's talk about a few of the most common ones:
Fear of public speaking — also known as glossophobia — is wide-ranging. Some cases are as mild as minor nervousness, while others involve crippling fear or panic. No matter how intense the fear, you can learn to manage it (and even overcome it).
First, thoroughly prepare for your speech or presentation, and learn the ins and outs of your topic. Also, organize your presentation by carefully planning your content and determining which aids you will use to make your points. It will help to practice your presentation as many times as it takes for you to feel confident.
Here are a few other tactics to consider:
- Learn deep breathing exercises.
- Imagine yourself succeeding.
- Minimize distractions, but expect them.
- Embrace silence; don't hesitate to take a moment to gather your thoughts while presenting.
- Fight your inner critic and recognize your strengths.
- Use communication software like Poised when rehearsing your presentation.
Work Conflict and Negotiations
It's common to fear conflict and negotiations in the workplace. Though we understand that negotiations are opportunities for growth and improvement, it doesn't change that these situations can be uncomfortable. The good news is that you can develop your confidence to successfully navigate these moments with grace.
For instance, suppose you have an upcoming meeting with your manager. Ponder the topic you expect to cover and learn as much as possible about it.
Consider making a list of all the tasks you believe you have done well and areas where you need to improve. Always remember your place within the company's hierarchy while believing in your abilities and commitment to growth.
If you get nervous about one-on-one meetings, remember that many people struggle with the same problem. The key is to actively listen to the other person and demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. This behavior is contagious, and when the other person begins to actively listen to you, it will naturally boost your confidence.
This is one of the most common workplace fears. After all, if you are interviewing for a job you really want (or need), it’s only natural to be a bit nervous.
The most practical way to reduce your interview fears is to prepare diligently. Research everything you can about the company, from its history and values to basic business functions. Make a list of potential questions you will be asked and prepare specific answers to help you stand out as a candidate.
Moreover, be prepared to demonstrate why you genuinely want to work for the company and list a few questions of your own to ask at the end of the interview. If you’re preparing for a video interview, practicing with software like Poised can help catch little (and big) mistakes like poor camera framing, filler words, body language, and more.
4 Tips To Boost Your Confidence Levels
So, how exactly can you start building confidence? Here are four quick tips to get you on track:
1. Find the Root Cause of Your Self-Doubt
By figuring out where your lack of confidence originated, you’ll have the information you need to increase positive self-confidence and reframe your mindset. Start keeping a journal where you self-reflect. Over time, the root cause of your low self-esteem will reveal itself.
2. Expect to Make Mistakes
It's common to be afraid of failure, but remember that failure is a great teacher. Live with the expectation that you will make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes to grow.
3. Keep Your Inner Critic at Bay
If you let it, a single criticism from your kindergarten teacher can haunt your thoughts well into adulthood. Don't let that happen.
While some constructive feedback can help you grow, learn to separate the wheat from the chaff and prevent the negative opinions from becoming a core belief.
4. Prioritize What You Can Control
You can't control how your team members will react or even what they think in certain situations. And you can't control the outcome of a project all by yourself. Still, you can control how you react and the energy you contribute to your work. Focus on what you can control, and it will naturally boost your confidence.
Fear of Failure vs. Growth Mindsets
One way to combat your fear of failure is to adopt a growth mindset. This type of mindset drives you to think beyond your current skills and knowledge. Thus, the door to improvement remains open.
One simple way to execute a growth mindset is to add the word "yet" to the end of any negative phrases that sneak into your brain. For example, "I'm not a master communicator yet.”
Positive affirmations are short statements designed to increase your self-confidence and boost your motivation to keep working toward success. They are similar to positive self-talk — more on that below — except they cover a broader base and are longer-term, like saying, "I'm a valuable member of my team.”
Affirmations require time, energy, and commitment to come true, which means that you will likely repeat your affirmations for many years to come.
On the other hand, positive self-talk involves the way you talk to yourself throughout the day. We each create our own realities — if we give in to negative self-talk, it’s easy for our fears to become self-fulfilling prophecies. In that same vein, promoting positive self-talk can help us “fake it until we make it,” building a reality in which our best selves can thrive.
This might include sayings like, "I've improved my nonverbal communication skills," or "I'm more empathetic than yesterday." Think of your positive self-talk as a shield against the negative thoughts that can hold you back on your journey towards your big goals.
Seek Out Help and Request Feedback
If you’re discouraged after trying to build self-confidence for some time, don't hesitate to seek support from professionals. You can also ask for feedback from your leaders, managers, and colleagues to create a game plan on your road to positivity.
Why It’s Important To Ask for Help
One of the most impactful ways to develop confidence is understanding and unlearning the formative experiences that caused your lack of self-belief.
Self-reflecting and journaling can help boost your sense of self, but sometimes it happens faster and more deeply when you form a relationship with a trusted mental health counselor or therapist.
Receiving feedback from your peers is another practical approach to learning that can provide actionable steps to help you naturally improve your confidence.
A Communications Coach
Another strategy is to start working with a communications coach. Professional communications coaches across the country help leaders, managers, and employees boost their careers every day.
If you can’t budget for a coach (or even if you can), you may significantly benefit from using software like Poised. This AI-powered software analyzes your virtual meetings and gives personalized feedback and tips on criteria like body language, speech patterns, and more.
It’s nearly impossible to live with confidence if you don't take care of your overall health and well-being. Try to eat for both pleasure and nutrition, exercise regularly, and get at least seven hours of sleep each night. You’d be amazed at how these little wellness hacks can translate into positive thinking — no more hangry afternoons after skipping a meal or cranky mornings after missing out on sleep.
Wellness isn’t just about re-committing to the basics. Find fun and relaxing activities unrelated to work that you can incorporate into your weekly routine. A little self-care can go a long way in building your confidence.
Fake It Till You Make It
As discussed, faking it until you make it can be an effective strategy. Plus, it’s certainly preferable to living with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome essentially means that you don’t believe that you can achieve what others believe you can. If you learn how to receive compliments and positive feedback, you can start to stand up to self-doubt and improve your self-worth.
Even if you find it hard to believe that people’s compliments are genuine, remember that you are receiving them because someone values you enough as a team member to reach out. Regardless of what your lack of self-confidence tells you, their feedback is probably valid. Reframe your thinking over time, so you can see yourself in the powerful way that others do.
Successful People Are Born, Not Made
The phrase "successful people are born, not made" is hotly debated. There's no denying that we are all born with specific traits in which we naturally excel. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve in our weaker areas and develop new skills.
Here's the kicker: The fire to constantly improve is a talent, meaning that you were born to succeed if you are reading this!
If you want to take your self-confidence to the next level, implementing the tips above will get you off to a strong start when building self-confidence. Don't forget to use helpful tools like Poised along your journey.