Five Ways to Build Confidence
This interview was conducted by Maanasi Shyno, a Dartmouth sophomore interning in Marketing and Communications with Launch gURLs.
The ‘confidence gap’ is the theory that women feel less confident than men, which works to their detriment in the workplace where confidence is rewarded. There is much debate about the validity of this theory. Studies, like that done by Cornell University in 2003, have shown that men are more likely to overestimate their performance and abilities, while women are more likely to underestimate both. Systemic barriers and societal bias have resulted in lower self-esteem, which translates to less success in workplaces that require confidence. However recent studies have also shown that it may be more likely that a woman’s humility is mistaken for a lack of confidence, a stereotype that costs women jobs to their male peers.
Whether the ‘confidence gap’ is real or not, building confidence is a vital part of any career and can especially benefit women since they must work harder to beat the odds stacked against them. Below are some of my favorite ways to build confidence that can change your life!
- Acknowledge Your Awesomeness
One great way to build confidence is to acknowledge all your awesomeness. When people have low self-esteem or are feeling unconfident, they focus on all the things they can improve on. Far too often, this results in not celebrating the wins and hyperfocusing on loses. While it’s important to work on ourselves, it’s vital that we also give credit where credit is due. Take a moment to celebrate when you do accomplish a goal or do something great!
Giving yourself a pat on the back can help boost your confidence! Try listing out all of your best qualities. What do you love about yourself? What makes you a great person, team mate, and friend? What do you have to be proud of? What are some challenges you’ve overcome? Once you start noting these things, you’ll find that you have a lot to celebrate and be confident for. You can revisit the list anytime you need a little pick-me-up! Activities like this that help remind you of your awesomeness are sure to build your confidence.
- Track Your Progress
Another great way to build confidence is seeing how far you’ve come! Life never progresses in a straight line and we all have moments where things get challenging or slow. It’s easy to forget how much progress we’ve made when we’re having one of those moments, but all it takes is a bit of a perspective change and reflection. Try thinking about the progress you’ve made to get to this point. Where were you a few months ago and what were your goals then? What bumps have you overcome? What have been the highlights?
Another thing you can try doing is tracking your progress in the moment. You could keep a journal or vlog detailing your progress through an experience including both your highs and your lows. When you look back on your thoughts, you will realize that you have overcome lots of challenges in the past. Reflecting on your progress can give you some insight into how to deal with challenges in the present. It can also inspire and remind you of your strength! Both of these things will boost your confidence and practicing this regularly can help build your confidence overall.
- Add Self Love Into Your Routine
Many of our confidence issues are related to how we see ourselves. Self love is the practice of appreciating yourself in multiple aspects from your body to your personality. Although self love can be a great confidence booster, many people don’t incorporate self love into their routines. Adding this great practice will help you build confidence and improve your self-image! Try adding some of these activities into your daily routine to get started:
- Put positive notes somewhere you pass everyday and take a look at them
- Do some positive affirmations when you wake up in the morning
- Look in the mirror and name some physical attributes you love about yourself (it’s okay to start small!)
- Meditate or try yoga to wind down at the end of the day
- Wear an outfit or accessory that makes you feel powerful
- Prepare for Your Activity
Nothing brings on confidence like some preparation! Many of the times we feel like we need confidence involve a performance of some sort. Whether it be taking a test or giving a presentation, preparation is a great way to build confidence. What preparation looks like will depend on the activity, but will likely include questions and practice. Try out the following to help you prepare:
- Review: Review reassures us that we know what we need to know and reinforces that knowledge. Reviewing our material helps us store information in our short and long term memory, which will be useful for recall during performance.
- Practice: Practice makes progress! Taking practice tests or practicing your presentation can help confirm how well you’re doing. It can also help identify rough spots and practicing those will help you feel better about them!
- Get Feedback: Asking others to watch you present or read your work can help you build confidence as well! Your supporters can cheer you on and also help you improve with feedback.
- Help Others
While helping others may sound like a roundabout way to build confidence, it can actually remind you of your skills and compassion for others. Empowering others to succeed in their goals can help mend your own relationship with your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment. Being a kind person and going out of your way to help others builds a positive self-perception, while also making an impact in your community!
There are several ways that you can incorporate helping others into your life. Think about what you’re good at and what you can offer others. Are you good at a subject? Maybe you can tutor your peers or underclassmen in your free time. If you cook or are good with your hands, you can help out at local charities. Even being a great listener can be helpful to a friend who needs it. Start off with helping your peers or classmates. If you want to do even more, check out local volunteer opportunities in your community.
Building confidence can be challenging, especially if you have low self-esteem, but it really takes practice. Think of it like a skill you’re trying to improve and do a little every day to build yourself up. Little actions can make a world of a difference, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or try something new!