How to be more confident – 15 top tips to conquer work and life

Confident smailing woman on Maroon Oak
Does your lack of confidence hamper your success? Let your self-belief be your greatest asset!
Does your lack of confidence hamper your success? Are you wondering how to be more confident at work or home? Let your self-belief be your greatest asset! These 15 awesome ways can guide you on your journey!
Does your lack of confidence hamper your success? Are you wondering how to be more confident at work or home? Let your self-belief be your greatest asset! These 15 awesome ways can guide you on your journey!
Does your lack of confidence hamper your success? Let your self-belief be your greatest asset!
Does your lack of confidence hamper your success? Let your self-belief be your greatest asset!
Confidence is a muscle. The more you use, the stronger it gets.

 

True confidence comes from within, from a deep love and respect for yourself.  How can you boost your self-confidence at work or at home? Read on for 15 ways you can approach confidence- building. Get equipped with actionable ideas and clear perspectives.

More power to you! 🤛

Driving along the Highway, as I listened to Demi Lovato sing ‘What’s wrong with being confident’, my mind deliberated the niggling question. Why aren’t more women embracing confidence and asserting themselves? The song was strangely coincidental. I had just spent the last hour coaching two friends through their personal struggles with self-worth. 

As the co-founder of Maroon Oak, I have been fortunate to work with women entrepreneurs and professionals from over 30 industries. I constantly marvel at the skills and insights they bring to the table, and yet am stumped everytime they don’t see what the world clearly sees in them.

A fundamental lack of belief in their value and ability is what hinders confidence in women. Recently, the family of an accomplished friend lamented that even if she made a million dollars today, she would still not believe she had achieved something worthwhile.

It got me thinking – why do most women wait for that big event to validate their confidence?

How do women boost their confidence at home and at the workplace and celebrate every little positive step? How can we, as women, friends, peers, mentors, bosses, sisters and mothers encourage each other to be more confident?

Explore these awesome 15 ways to become a More Confident You!

For those who want to step up the ladder of confidence, (or help someone get there), here are a few ways that can help  personally and professionally:

Think like a Resume

Document your  accomplishments each month as a habit. This will ensure that when the time comes, you won’t miss out on any worthy ones. Every holiday season, a dear friend of mine sends out a holiday letter instead of the ubiquitous Holiday Card. Her letter celebrates achievements – big and small – made by individual family members throughout the year, as well as collectively. What an incredible way for a family to realize how much they have moved forward in a year.

When you think like a resume, it has a powerful impact on how competent you feel. Highlighting accomplishments as they happen, ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

Apply this principle to your yearly job appraisal or an important interview and watch your resume build up without digging fruitlessly into your memory bank. Being prepared and having a visual on your big and small accomplishments will ensure that  you wear your confidence like a cape. So whether you ran a marathon, helped a coworker meet their target or tutored your neighbor’s kids, make sure you document and celebrate every feat. 

Set goals with clear actions

Confidence in yourself comes AFTER taking action. Period. More than Goal setting, confidence is achieved in the doing – when you take ownership of seeing your goals through to fulfillment. 

Our team at Maroon Oak swears by the SMART goal setting way to set goals and execute them. This method breaks down each goal into 5 components, Specific, Measurable, Achievable (& Actionable), Relevant and Time-bound. Using the SMART format, you can make clear plans, whether you are setting targets in a professional context, or writing them for your personal achievements.

Checking off your GOALS list helps shape how you define yourself and helps you build confidence by adding to your sense of accomplishment. 

If Goal setting has you in a bind, explore examples, templates and 50+ prompts to help you define your SMART goals.

Make your Goals SMART with this Ultimate Goal Setting Handbook

Compete with the best

Stories about the wage-gap and boardroom inequality are prevalent. A study in Women’s Agenda found that in America, the number of  women in CEO roles was so sparse that they were outnumbered by men named John. Researchers consistently find that men negotiate salaries more aggressively than women, but since we don’t always know what our coworkers make, why not focus on ourselves first?

Compete with yourself!

Look in the mirror and say hello to your ultimate competitor.

Do your homework on yourself and ask how you can move going forward? Taking it one step at a time – do not aim to beat your best, but beat your everyday average. Whether it’s a small tweak in your appearance, waking a few minutes early for better productivity, or saying hello to a co-worker you never bothered to before, do a bit more. Personal development can be incremental to any degree and each step, over time, adds up to building your overall confidence.

Also read No more jitters: Public Speaking with Confidence

Befriend ‘good enough’

An internal report at Hewlett Packard found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. According to a Linkedin Study women were less likely to apply for positions that were more senior than their current position. The same study also found that women were more likely to be hired when compared to men applying for the same position as them. Let me repeat that. Women have a higher chance of getting hired at the same job as men, if they only take the courage to apply.

Unfortunately, we chase perfectionism and kill our wildest dreams. Chasing perfectionism only makes us feel more inadequate. We self-screen ourselves out of opportunities.

But what if we embrace good enough? When we rejoice in doing our best, opposed to being the best, we automatically boost our self-confidence.

So here’s a chant you can use.

Good enough to ship. And good enough to apply. Good enough to act now and make my dreams fly.

Don’t let self-doubt call the shots

After perfectionism, comes the next belittler- self doubt. It kills potential. Also referred to as Impostor Syndrome, it’s a pervasive belief of insecurity deep down inside you that makes you feel like a fraud. Dr. Valerie Young, an expert in Impostor syndrome sums it well- “Everyone loses when bright people play small.” And she offers a very simple solution- “if you don’t know something, that’s fine. I want you to not know with confidence.

No one is a total expert. We are all learning. It’s who’s the better learner and adaptor. There are people who aren’t as skilled, creative or driven as you are, getting the opportunities you want, only because you are afraid. We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. The worst thing you will get is a ‘no,’ so at least try. 

Here’s a practice I follow. The wall adjacent to my work desk has a bulletin board where I print and tack my achievements- awards, positive feedback etc. When I find myself doubting how far I can go, they serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come. This is a great to-do when you are really struggling with how to build your confidence.

Broadcast your soft skills

Your soft skills or people skills are your intangible skills that most people (and you yourself) tend to overlook, even though studies show that 85% of career success is driven by them. They are the personal behaviors that enable us to interact effectively with others. 

Skills like communication, time management, creativity and listening skills matter now more than ever, as employers everywhere are using these as a differentiator.

Wondering what soft skills do you have? Here is a list to identify and then broadcast your soft skills on resumes and interviews to be more confident in yourself.

Adapt your Mindset

I can’t stress enough the importance of a mindset shift when trying to make real change.

At a recent conversation with a neighbor, a sweet, seemingly homely mom of two, I learned that she was the top sales executive in her company. I fascinatingly watched her morph into her sales avatar, where she leaned forward, looked straight into my eyes and proclaimed that her work begins with the first no. I witnessed a mindset shift that was game for any challenge.

Our mindset dictates how we approach challenges. When we adopt a growth mindset that is eager to learn and a positive mindset that sees the advantage in a situation, confidence is a byproduct. It’s how we develop the willingness to try, and the faith that we will figure it out. 

If you need inspiration, we have 11 awesome podcasts you can explore, for whenever your mindset and outlook need a lift.

Adopt Power Postures

Our mothers weren’t nagging when they constantly admonished us to sit up straight or straighten our backs. They were simply onto something way before Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy gave her chart-topping TED Talk on body language. Power poses communicate your confidence non-verbally to the world but they do something even more for you. Cuddy’s academic paper offers ample evidence that by commanding a powerful stance, we can make ourselves actually feel more powerful.

Making eye contact, smiling, keeping your head up while conversing can make your day, and someone else’s too. Build your self-confidence day-by-day with these tiny tweaks that are totally in your control.

Speak up, literally 

Ever felt the rush when you have your friends enthralled with a personal story, hooked onto your every word, waiting to hear what happened next? Speaking and communicating your passions to a group is empowering. And if you can do it with people you are comfortable with, time to take it to the next level with public speaking. 

So how can you be more confident with speaking in front of an audience? Preparation, planning and practice in public speaking help you cross the hurdle of “what am I going to do”, and reach the winning point of “I can do this!”

With virtual meetings becoming a prerequisite to work and personal interactions, these best practices to impress in a Zoom interview can help you become more confident!

Setup, Showcase, Shine - How to impress in a Virtual or Zoom interview

Say no

You stretch yourself thin by saying yes to everything. It affects your output which impacts your confidence. This happens to women at both personal and professional fronts.

Saying no is powerful. It puts the power of choice and control back in your hands. You become more confident when you start recognizing and accepting your limits. It shows that you prioritize your needs and are not simply a people-pleaser. If antagonizing people is your worry, remind yourself (and the recipient) that saying no is a refusal, not a rejection.

Sorry is a swear word – Banish it!

Years ago, when I read about the propensity of women to over apologize, it made me extremely conscious of my own interactions. Sociologist & TED Speaker Maja Jovanovic believes “the sorry”s we sprinkle through our days make us appear smaller and more timid than we really are, and undercut our confidence.”

Upon realizing how women were softening their speech in situations that called for directness and leadership, product strategist Tami Reiss launched Just Not Sorry. It’s a Google Chrome plug-in that underlines words that undermine your message and gives your communications a boost of confidence. Watch out for I’m sorry, I just, I think, and other phrases that diminish your voice. If you want options to deal with your over apologizing, this is a great list of what to say instead.

Seek a mentor, be a mentor

Mentors bring positivity into your life by motivating you to accomplish more than you think you can. Having a mentor in your corner means having someone who believes in you. They make you feel that you are not alone, and the work you do and the skills you possess matter. 

Alternately, when you are the mentor, you gain confidence by having a mentee look up to you as a role model. Increased self-confidence is often cited as a crucial benefit of mentoring programs, for both the mentor and the mentee. If this is a relationship you seek, then you will benefit from reading How to Seek, Meet & Grow with a Mentor.

Invest in friendships

Positive girlfriend energy is contagious. The right friends can make a world of a difference, giving encouragement or cheering our successes, just when we need it. In fact, studies show that women with friends have a greater sense of well-being than those who don’t. Turns out that for developing self confidence in women, self-esteem and friendship are mutually reinforcing. Basically, the dilemma of how to be more confident can be resolved simply through good friendships. 

I have a group of friends, including my co-founder Pooja Krishna, with whom I interact monthly just to clear my head and gain fresh perspectives.

In fact, as a network of support and growth, business besties are the best investment for an entrepreneur!

Care for yourself. Period. 

It’s not rocket science- just pure logic. Self-care is self-love and a great driver of self-confidence for women. When you eat well, sleep well, exercise and laugh often, everything from your physical to your mental, and even your environment gets uplifted. Self-confidence is magnetic energy, and self-care fuels it. 

Strive to maintain a mind and body that you want to live in, and self confidence will attach itself to you like flies to honey.

The Bottom line – You are your biggest advocate

Professionalism is a label you earn. Being on time, knowing your subject, investing in your appearance are all building blocks to self -assurance and confidence. There is no substitute for expertise, ethics and manners.

When you aim to put all these under your belt, people will automatically look up to your aura.

Also read 11 Podcasts with the power to lift your mindset

As is oft said: Confidence is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. There is enough pressure on women to be accommodating, accomplished and perfect. Give a little slack to your margin of error and do not dwell on your mistakes. Instead take the lessons learnt and focus on your strengths. 

Be the image you want the world to see.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you create, the more you have.

DesignerEntrepreneur & US Patent Holder, Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.

A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.

Grab her Free e-Book on Design on some of the best, easy to use Free Design Tools available to you today.

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8 Comments
  1. Joy Walker 8 months ago

    Real Inspirational article. Love the idea of document our achievements. They all add up.

  2. Kaitlyn Rowe 8 months ago

    I pinned this post the other day and I just love everything you have to say. I sometimes doubt myself when I try to gain confidence and I love how you say not to let self-doubt call the shots because the worst thing we could get is just a simple no and we don’t know if something will go the way we hope unless we try and/or ask. So with that being said, this post is so helpful and I’m definitely taking your advice. Thank you!

  3. Teresa Hardrick 8 months ago

    Setting clear goals is so important. I have set goals that I never accomplish, but you do have to measure if you can do it or not. Great Post.

  4. Nisha 8 months ago

    Beautiful tips, I especially loved the first one, it’s so creative and helpful. And I love how you share real examples. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Latraila Tolbert 8 months ago

    These are all on point Aditi! I love the most is “compete with yourself” because in these times a lot of ladies are being insecure with others achievements and success that we tend to compete with what they are. And also “Care for yourself” is the ultimate rule of all!

  6. Bethany 8 months ago

    This was fantastic and just what I needed!

  7. Evelyn Hill
    Evelyn Hill 8 months ago

    I agree a hundred percent. If a woman doesn’t stand for herself, no one will. I so agree with good friends being good for you.

  8. Ana Cunningham
    Ana Cunningham 8 months ago

    Love the thoughts! Just the pep I needed on a not so good day!

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