Whether it’s right before a presentation or when facing a difficult conversation, we’ve all had our confidence take a nosedive at one point or another. “I’ll mess up,” you might tell yourself. Or, “I won’t know what to say.” It’s easy to feel discouraged. So how do you push your self-doubt aside and feel good about yourself in a challenging situation?
You probably know someone who radiates confidence and doesn’t seem to be phased by life’s many curveballs. How does she build self-esteem for success at work and in life? I posed my questions to some women in my own life whose self-confidence is just right. They shared six of their tried-and-true tips on how to be more confident.
01. Know Your Values and Stick to Them
Over brunch, my friend Kara who works for a supplier and contract company shared how sticking to her values at work helped her stay confident in her long-term goals. When a large company contacted her organization to help plan an event, Kara didn’t hesitate to say yes. But, “My boss was less enthused,” she said. “He was unsure of the time, money, and additional resources that would be used and if it would be a good return on our investment.” Kara stuck to her belief that the initial legwork would pay off, and it did. After a successful partnership, a vice president working on the project was promoted and has become a champion of Kara’s organization and their mission. When you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself of your values and why you believe in them. They might just be the inspiration and motivation you need to boost your self-confidence.
02. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential to boosting and maintaining confidence throughout the day. Getting enough sleep is shown to be critical to maintaining your physical and psychological health. Not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your ability to learn, make decisions, and manage your emotions. So it makes sense that getting enough quality sleep can build and maintain confidence. Busy mom, Jocelyn, says, “Everything, including our outlook on ourselves and our confidence, is bleaker when we’re overtired!” So don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
03. Make a List of Your Victories, Big and Small
Kaitlin, a former project manager and new mom, shares, “Listing my accomplishments really helps boost my confidence." She recommends using this strategy when you are feeling negative or down about yourself or your abilities. Michaela, a busy stay-at-home mom, agrees, saying, “I used to get down on myself for how much work I still had left at the end of the day. My husband would point out what I did get done, and I began to realize my accomplishments were actually abundant.” Being mindful of what you've accomplished so far—even the little things!—will combat self-doubt and help you build self-compassion to get through hard times.
04. Celebrate Your Successes with a Friend
No, sharing your accomplishments isn’t necessarily bragging. Take, for example, my friend Sylvia’s strategy. When faced with a difficult situation, Sylvia makes an intentional decision to face the situation with confidence. Then, she resolves to tell a friend about it so that her friend can celebrate her success with her. And when her friends share their own successes with her, Sylvia says, she can provide affirmation and boost their confidence too. So grab a friend and support each other’s self-esteem!
05. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Jaclyn, an academic advisor by day and a fitness instructor by night, swears by the power of standing in front of a mirror and saying positive affirmations out loud. “It sounds corny,” she says, “but it truly makes a difference!” Think of it as giving yourself a little pep talk. In my psychotherapy practice, I’ll tell my clients that they have to be their own motivational coaches. Don’t let yourself be discouraged. Remind yourself of your positive qualities, your values, and your goals. Fun dance moves are optional, of course.
06. Think of Yourself as You Think of Others
Sometimes, when you’re feeling unconfident, it could be that you are simply being too hard on yourself. My friend Monica shares, “I try to imagine that other people are evaluating me the way I evaluate them, which generally involves cutting them a lot of slack. Whether it’s true or not, it makes me feel better.” Reminding yourself that others aren’t judging you as harshly as you think they might be (or at all), can help you feel less anxious and more confident about yourself.
It’s tough to keep your confidence high when life has a habit of throwing you curveballs. So the next time you’re not feeling good about yourself, try one of these simple confidence-boosting tips. A healthy boost in your self-esteem might just be a handwritten list, a phone call to a friend, or a pep talk in the mirror away!
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