Sometimes I see other women out there, often way younger than me, and I wonder how they got so confident, how they have such a strong voice. How do you build confidence?
Maybe some of us are born confident, maybe not. But my guess is that for a lot of people out there who appear super-confident, it’s that they’ve learned it.
They’ve had a series of small successes, and built on them.
One person listened to them and showed appreciation in what they had to say, then another, and another, and so their voice has grown louder and more confident over time.
They’ve succeeded in voicing their opinion, using a skill, dealing with a situation, whatever it is; they’ve then done it again, and again, and again.
So perhaps a way to build confidence for yourself is to recognise when you have a small success, and then keep going, trying to build on it.
Maybe you’ve broken out of your comfort zone by succeeding in doing something. It’s well documented that if you get out of your comfort zone regularly, you’ll build confidence. It’s like building a habit. You have to keep repeating until it becomes normal. So carry on breaking out of your comfort zone as often as you can.
Easier said than done right? When you’re lacking in confidence, everything seems too much. But the key is – start small.
When I started writing blogposts, I was nervous about what to do with them. I knew they couldn’t just sit on my website, unseen.
But I wasn’t used to sharing my work. I’d never really posted on social media before. I had all kinds of doubts about my writing and about ‘putting it out there’.
However I’d previously done an interview with Careershifters, and when it was published on their website I shared the link with some close friends and family. I got such good feedback, and a few people told me it had inspired them.
So when I wrote my first few blogposts, I shared the links privately again, and got positive feedback again. That gave me the confidence to send my first tweet with a link to a blogpost. The world didn’t end. The next week I did the same. Then again. Sometimes I’d get a reaction, sometimes not.
After a while I realised it’s not so scary – those who are interested will have a read, those who aren’t, won’t. I became confident in sharing stuff on Twitter, then the next step was LinkedIn. Even scarier – I have lots of contacts on LinkedIn, a big network of people I’ve worked with over the years. Lots of people could potentially see (or criticise) my work.
But same again, I started small with one post, then another; they either got positive feedback or where ignored! Over time, it’s become easier, less of a big deal. I still don’t always find it easy – I’m not always sure if people will be interested in what I’m sharing. But I’m learning to care less, if it helps or interests someone then great, if not, nevermind.
As well as starting small with things you are scared to do, another confidence boost is to keep a little store of nice things people have said about you. Sounds ridiculous but keeping a little of lovely comments, where you’ve helped someone, or inspired them, or they’ve appreciated something you’ve done or your work, is the ultimate proof that sometimes you get things right. It’s a reminder of what you’ve achieved so far. You can take a look whenever you need a boost.
Do you want to improve your confidence? What small step can you take – something you really want to do that scares you a little…write it down. Set yourself a challenge to do it in the next few days. Then pick the next thing, and keep going.
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