How to Become More Confident in Your Life: 4 Easy Ways | Forbes Women’s Summit
By Ashford University Staff
While the attendees of the 2017 Forbes Women’s Summit exude confidence, the accomplished leaders who sat down with the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ assured us that having self-confidence is not always easy. It requires practice, they said. So how do they make confidence look so easy? And does confidence come from experience, education, skill, or a combination of all three?
What Does Confidence Look Like?
Looking at those we see as traditionally confident, at the behaviors and motivations of those who exude confidence in their interactions, we can pinpoint what confidence looks like. Confidence doesn’t come with a title or an office, but rather from a sense of power in yourself. Staci Alexander, Director of Thought Leadership at AARP, shares, “At one point in my career, I thought that unless you had a certain status or certain title you couldn’t operate and exercise your power. I realize now looking back, that you can do that at every phase.”
Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communications, echoes Staci’s belief, saying, “You have to work at it. You have to be bold and take steps forward and do what you’re scared of doing.” In addition to being bold and getting out of your comfort zone, there are other ways you can work at building confidence every day.
4 Ways to be More Confident in Your Life
Making small changes in your day-to-day life can, as Global Customer Growth & Innovation Evangelist for Salesforce Tiffani Bova puts it, help you “flex your confidence muscle.” Start putting these tips into practice every day to experience a big boost in confidence over time.
1.) Learn from the Leaders
As you make daily efforts to build your confidence, take a lesson from those who have been there, who have worked on building confidence, and still continue to flex that muscle on a daily basis. Leaders from the Forbes Women’s Summit share below.
2.) Work on Communicating Your Ideas
No matter your title or level of experience, asserting yourself can feel uncomfortable. So start small. One of the first things you can start with is email. Stepping out of your comfort zone and asserting your confidence via a written platform—such as email—will help you work up to feeling more confident voicing your opinions over the phone, in meetings, and in other face-to-face interactions. Communication is an integral part of your professional life, and once you gain confidence there, you will notice changes in other areas, too.
3.) Improve Your Education & Skills
You have to be bold and take steps forward and do what you’re scared of doing.
Soft skills are becoming increasingly important to employers when they differentiate between candidates with similar experience and education. It’s important to set yourself apart, therefore, by developing the right skills and education. Undercover Recruiter notes that in a competitive hiring environment, employers are asking and looking for certain soft skills over technical skills. Focus on and develop your natural skills to gain confidence and pursue education in new areas to build confidence there. Taking courses in new topics can feed your curiosity and boost your understanding in an otherwise unfamiliar area, pushing you out of your comfort zone yet providing a safety net of understanding.
4.) Get the Experience
The things that scare us most are often the areas where we lack confidence or are unfamiliar with. They are outside our comfort zone. And while we all know the typical advice we might hear in this instance–face your fears–there really is no replacement for the experience of doing something yourself, of standing up to what you don’t know and trying it out, and building your confidence in the process. Consider this your bold challenge to do something new, different, or scary. We promise you’ll feel more confident for it.
So speak up in class or at work if you never usually do, offer to lead a meeting, spark up a conversation with someone new, ask how to take the next step toward career growth at work, or take the next step in your education. Challenge yourself to take a risk and end up more confident because of it.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.