Women in the workforce are constantly told to be confident, stand tall, speak up, and lean in, but that's easier said than done. Gaining confidence isn't just something that happens overnight. For some women, the idea of doing any of these things conjures up an inner fear and can be intimidating. But is your career really doomed if you don't practice confidence? How do you quieten that doubtful inner voice and instill the right attitude to really go for your dreams?
Well, for most of us, confidence takes experience, years of practice, and many supportive mentors along the way. Are you ready to start your journey toward a more confident you, and boost your career in the process? Scroll down to read how.
Look to Your Career Icons for Inspiration
There are so many powerful and inspiring women making incredible headway in the world today. If you don’t have one already, then do your research and find the top female leaders that you identify with most. Then write down their best motivational quotes, read their autobiography if they have one, learn everything you can about how they made it to the top, and examine what they did to instill confidence. It’s also a great way to realize that they were once just like you too. We all have to start from somewhere, and the only way is up if you really want it.
Head over to our Second Life section or listen to our podcast with inspiring women who detail their extraordinary career leaps to get started—the latest episode features an interview with designer Andrea Lieberman.
Write Down Your Goals
We are all really busy, so busy that we can sometimes forget where we’re going. It’s important to recognize where you’re at and the destination. Knowing your end goals helps to keep you on track, and pushes you to do more every day so you can arrive there sooner.
Write down a list of long-term and short-term goals so that each time you reach one along the way, you can pat yourself on the back and have a mini celebration. Each one you strike off will give you a much-needed confidence injection.
Try to look at your goals regularly too, because they may change along the way and need readjusting to suit your new ambitions.
Try Confidence Dressing
You know how you feel when you wear that new outfit? Imagine if you could channel that every day in the office? Power dressing is really important for inner confidence. It’s a known fact that the clothes you wear can positively impact your state of mind, so try it sometime.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found subjects who donned white coats and thought that they belonged to doctors actually performed better on tests than those who wore street clothes, or those who thought the coats were associated with artists.
Your clothing is like social armor; use it to your advantage.
Seek Out Your Mentors, Often
You’ve probably read this line in many confidence- and career-related articles, but it’s one of the best ways to boost self-assurance. This can be a work colleague, friend, family member, or role model in a completely different line of work.
These people are great fallbacks when you’re in a self-doubting mood. Call on them often, seek them out on Linkedin and you’ll be surprised at how much their believing in you can do for your state of mind, and morale.
What Knocks You Down Only Makes You Stronger
We all make mistakes, but often these are the best learning curves. They teach you more about yourself, and what you are capable of than anyone could ever show you. This is your opportunity to grow and prove your strength.
It's super empowering when you rise up to the challenge and learn from your errors. It makes you feel stronger and more confident in yourself and your skillset than ever so you’re ready to handle whatever comes your way.
Fake It Till You Make It
If you haven’t seen Amy Cuddy’s inspiring TED talk already, then it’s simply a must-see for confidence-building techniques. We all know how body language affects how others see us, but did you consider how it might make you feel about yourself?
Cuddy is a social psychologist who demonstrates how “power posing,” or standing in a posture of confidence (even when we don’t feel it), can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Up Next: Why it's important to be fearless.
This post was originally published on July 3, 2015, and has since been updated.