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How’s Your Self-Confidence? A Check-In. (Plus Helpful Tips to Build it Up)

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

In our career coaching practice, Shinebright, we help clients navigate their careers ups and downs and deal with a lot of different themes, but one that comes up incredibly often is self-confidence. Many clients feel they don't have the self-confidence to make the next career move they want to or the self-confidence to make an intimidating job change.

Why is it the big career changes seem hinged on one's self-confidence and why is self-confidence seemingly the answer to so many questions about career success and overall happiness?

Self-confidence is a personal, powerful belief that you can “do it,” whatever “it” is. It is an inner voice and belief in oneself that helps you push through to the other side of life’s challenges on the path to accomplishments and success.

So often, when we confront challenges as we work towards our goals, we find ourselves waffling, resisting the effort or the dedication needed to push all the way through, all of which is really natural.

When one has the confidence to believe in themselves, they are able to conquer that mental resistance and cultivate the dedication needed to do the hard work. Their self-confidence reassures them and reminds them “you can do it, keep at it.”

Does that positive inner voice sound familiar to you or not?

Does your inner voice reassure you of your abilities or is it reminding you of all the reasons why you’re going to fail and how you fall short? If the latter is true, you are not alone!

Many of us have a negativity-bias that is louder than our ability to speak positively to ourselves. Check out motivational speaker Marie Forleo has tips for combating the negativity-bias.

Don't worry, you can push through that negativity and build your self-confidence, the first step is to understand what you are seeking.

Self-confidence has a few variations in definition but one of the most cited sources about self-confidence refers to it as simply believing in oneself (Bénabou & Tirole, 2002).

Being able to push through mental resistance and fear is an important skill which can provide a calmness and focus in one’s thoughts when the going gets tough. The opposite is also true, low self-confidence can cause chaos and anxiety, especially when one feels challenged or pulled outside their comfort zone.

Dr. Barbara Markway, a psychologist with twenty years of experience helping her patients build positive self-confidence writes in her article “Why Self-Confidence is More Important than You Think,”

“If you’ve suffered from low self-confidence, you’re probably familiar with rumination, or the tendency to mull over worries and perceived mistakes, replaying them ad nauseam. Excessive rumination is linked to both anxiety and depression, and it can make us withdraw from the world. But by filling up your tank with confidence, you’ll be able to break the cycle of over-thinking and quiet your inner critic.”

For a quick check-in about your self-confidence in relation to the above definitions please circle agree or disagree after reading the following 5 statements:

1. I believe I can accomplish things that are important to me.

Agree or Disagree

2. I can take sincere compliments well.

Agree or Disagree

3. I regularly stick to my goals and believe I can accomplish them.

Agree or Disagree

4. I never compare myself to others and I always feel “I am enough.”

Agree or Disagree

5. I take constructive feedback well.

Agree or Disagree

If you answered “disagree” to more than one or more of the statements, chances are good that you will benefit from improving your self-confidence. (To contemplate your personal self-confidence further, click here to Life Hacks 10 Warning Signs and keep reading for more tips.)

Improving your self-confidence may sound daunting but the benefits can be life changing, so how can you not try?

Seriously, there are negative effects when one has low levels of self-confidence , it drain us mentally and emotionally and more specifically become the negative author of our personal narratives. It is IMPOSSIBLE to have positive outcome to your story when the narrator is negative. The poet E.E. Cummings eloquently puts the power of cultivating self-confidence into words,

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

As career coaches, we know how far one can soar when one begins to focus on growing their belief in self. Nothing is more true than knowing the belief in one’s self frees us to connect with who we truly are and to find our inner strength to accomplish things that truly matter to us.

So why wait? Get started with some simple ways to begin improving your self-confidence today:

Speak Well of Yourself to Yourself - the story you tell yourself is the foundation for everything. Listen to what you say to yourself and practice replacing negative thoughts with thoughts that are kind and positive. For more tips on how to address negative self-talk, check out Marie Forleo’s Negativity Bias Lesson.

Don’t Give Away Your Power - don’t let others determine your self-worth. In her book 13 Things that Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, Amy Morin tells readers when we allow others to determine our self-worth, we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for others to make us feel good which creates an inability to be able to feel worthy without their praise and compliments. Be intentional about noticing your strengths, the value you bring, the successes you achieve, no matter how small. If you can be your own advocate, you take back your power to feel worthy and strong.

Be Vulnerable - vulnerability can allow us space to challenge our limiting beliefs we must be perfect and get everything right the very first time. To truly learn something new, you need to allow yourself space to make mistakes and learn from them as you master your new skill. Remind yourself that mistakes are to be expected and they are an indicator that you’re challenging yourself to learn and grow.

Create a Positive Affirmation to Say in Challenging Times - affirmations are a powerful way to replace old negative thoughts with more empowering and positive thoughts that support you on your way to success. Try replacing some of your negative thoughts with “I can do this. I am strong” or “I am scared about this big project, but I’m taking it one step at a time and my self-confidence is growing with each step.”

Here are some additional articles for more inspiration to grow your self-confidence:

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