We need more confidence! 3 ways to bolster yours.
In a recent study by KPMG, 67% of women said they need more support building confidence to feel like they can be leaders. Experience, title and earnings don’t make you immune from this feeling.
As someone whose work centers around empowering women to achieve their highest success and happiness, I hear the same thing from clients, workshop participants and women in professional groups. They crave the confidence to create the career and life they truly want.
So what exactly is confidence? It’s often defined as an attitude, belief or feeling that you can master or succeed at something. But I like this definition by Richard Petty, a psychology professor at Ohio State University, which links confidence to doing.
“Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into actions.”
Ever spent time thinking about doing something you really want instead of jumping into action to go get it? I have. And I know from conversations with other high achieving women that they experience moments when they hold themselves back from pursuing a dream, desire or goal. It sounds like this.
“I’m exhausted. I know I can’t keep working 60-80 hours a week. But I don’t feel confident about speaking up and drawing some boundaries around my time.”
“I feel undervalued in my current position. I’d love to find a new job, but frankly, I’m not confident that anyone would hire me at my age.”
“Starting my own business is a big ambition of mine, but what if I fail?”
Here’s the irony.
By avoiding risk and sticking to the status quo until you’re completely confident you can do something, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to build your confidence: succeeding at something that seems slightly beyond your reach.
Here are three tips to help you build your confidence so you can turn your thoughts into actions.
- Take personal responsibility. It’s great to surround yourself with people who are inspiring and supportive, but the reality is that confidence building is an inside job. It requires you to take action even when the outcome is unsure and to keep going when challenges start to come up.
- Put fear in the backseat. Trying something new and stepping into uncertainty is an invitation for fear to show up. And it will! I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice on how to move forward anyway: acknowledge your fear and let it come along for the ride. But never, ever let fear drive.
- Tap into your strengths. When it feels as if your confidence is deserting you, remember: you’ve overcome obstacles and achieved goals you’re proud of in the past and you have the personal qualities and skills to prove it. Maybe it’s your courage, persistence, optimism, commitment or resilience that got you through. Make a list and you’ll see – you’ve got what it takes!