How to Build Self-Confidence and be Empowered (Part 1)

Every day, I see or work with an army of women who struggle with confidence.  In so many ways.

From the basics of trying on a new dress in front of a shop assistant and going for an interview, to putting their name forward to work on a committee or speak up in a team meeting.  So many of us tend to struggle.

We read books or google how to build confidence and personal empowerment programs, which we register for but mostly don’t attend. And when we see women around us, particularly those on the screen, we marvel at how they do the things they do and wonder where they got the confidence they seem to have.

But guess what?  Many of them struggle with self-confidence in the same way you do, although it doesn’t look like it. I remember seeing an article a while ago about Jennifer Lawrence, star of Hunger Games, and surely one of the most gorgeous looking women on the planet.  In it she explained how she used to struggle with confidence and her self-esteem but now doesn’t care what people say about her or the fact that her weight fluctuates at times.  How can somebody as beautiful as she is, have struggled with self-confidence? Surely not?

Simply, the definition of self-confidence is ‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement.’

So, when we talk about having self-confidence, we mean in ourselves we trust that we know what we are doing, we feel good about ourselves and we have a belief that we can do what we set out to do. Being self-confident makes us feel stronger in ourselves and more empowered.  We start to feel that there are many things we can do, and don’t focus on those things we can’t.

There must be reality in there too.  For example, if you believe you can be the Prime Minister of Australia next month, it’s probably unrealistic and over-confident.  But if you say you will lose 5 kilograms within the next six weeks, and really believe it, then nothing will stop you.

What does a confident person do?

  •  They look at their strengths and build on them. For example, if they feel they are good with people, they keep doing that.  Building new relationships personally or even at work.  The point is that when we are good at something and keep doing it, we master it.  When we master something, and know we do it well, it builds our confidence
  • People who are self-confident realise there are things they don’t do well and work on them. If they are impatient, for example, they take that feedback from others and put into place steps to change that. They aren’t defensive and blame others for the feedback they receive
  • They are realistic about themselves. Nobody is perfect and they accept this but try and do things to the best of their ability to become more confident and a better person.

Self-confidence makes us happier

 A recent study shows that self-confidence makes up happier.  When you feel you do things well, and others tell you that, you feel more confident in yourself and more content.  Content means happy.  And when you’re happy, you tend to be more purposeful about what you want to achieve and go out and kick goals.

Which means that building self-confidence is important if we want to be happy.

Tips to build your self-confidence

It’s no good wishing you were confident.  To be so, you must swing into action and do things to be confident.  It won’t fall in your lap. Try these:

  • Decide that you want to improve how you feel about yourself, your abilities and build your self-confidence. Your decision to change your life is critical.
  • Make a list of the things you are good at. Yes, that’s right.  What you’re good at.  Some women I ask to do this cannot think of ONE thing they do well.  Which is not true because we are all good at many things.  Now make your list.
  • Make a list of the things you want to be better at. This means those things that you don’t feel confident about and want to improve.  For example, you may feel shy in front of a large group of people and tend not to speak up and lack confidence in crowds.  Write it down
  • Set some realistic goals – What are you going to do to improve those things you want it improve? SMART goals mean they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.  Google more about SMART goals if you are unsure what they are.
  • Get a buddy to help you design your goal Sometimes it’s easier to have another person who can help us and keep us accountable for achieving our goals and following our plans
  • Follow your plan relentlessly. To achieve your goals, you must have a plan outlining what you will achieve, how you will do it and when. Dates to do things by are very important because if you don’t have them, often time goes by and things slip away (including following your strategies to grow your self-confidence.)

To be continued.

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