Your Tips For Building Self-Confidence

In addition to my concrete goals, one of my more “soft” goals for 2013 is to build my self-confidence.

This is something I need to work on both professionally and personally. The lack of self-confidence has negatively affected both areas at times and it’s not something I can allow to continue. It could solve many other problems in my life if I just had a little more confidence in myself.

That’s hard for me. I’ve haven’t been a confident person… ever. Self-doubt and anxiety have been major roadblocks for as long as I can remember (seriously, since about age 5).

How do I go from lacking self-confidence to confident and assured? How do I build self-confidence at work, in relationships, and in life? Do I just need to get out of my head? Is it even possible?

Many of you are much wiser and have given me great advice in other areas, so I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

I’d especially love to hear from you if you’ve done this before or helped someone else do it. As always, books and other resources are greatly appreciated.

How do you build self-confidence? How have you done it personally? What’s your best tip for building confidence and believing in yourself? 

Comments are very welcome and I’d love to learn from what you all have to say. Let’s chat, shall we?


  1. Rachel says

    Depending on the specific issue I would recommend cognitive behavioral therapy… you can do a lot of self-help at home using books or online – but it really helps with negative self talk and self image.

    • says

      I’ve heard good things about CBT but never done it myself. Do you have any recommendations on specific books or sites to help?

  2. Melissa says

    Close your eyes and jump in…being confident, assertive, and not focusing on pleasing everyone else all the time opens the door to a more authentic you. When you are more authentic with yourself and to those in your surroundings you just feel better. That goes a long way to healing your soul.

  3. says

    It helps to remind myself that everyone else has the same fears that I do. They may look super confident but everyone has self doubts. For some reason knowing that I’m not alone makes me feel more confident.

  4. says

    As I’m sure you know, self-confidence isn’t something that can be gained with a simple pinterest image or chat with a friend. Maybe temporarily, but long-term changes require hard work. Fortunately, you don’t seem to be someone who is afraid of a little hard work. :)

    My self-esteem and self-confidence used to be in the toilet. A therapist friend recommended a book. I read it, and it was truly a game changer for me. I highly recommend the book “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns. It’s a heavy ready; I literally felt like he was writing directly to me, at times. This was not a book I could sit down and just read in a weekend (aside from the fact that it’s a very dense 600 pages). I’ve literally read parts, reread parts, ruminated, and digested this book for the past several years. When I get to the point in my career where I get to be a personal trainer on the side, this book is going to be in my arsenal.

    I’ll be honest – this book had advice at times that was a hard pill to swallow. I’m still working on my own issues. Even though I have come leaps and bounds from where I was, I’m not fixed yet. But I’m getting there closer and closer every day.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing the book recommendation. It sound intimidating, but so does this whole process. I’m definitely going to get that and work through it. Thanks Jeremy!

  5. says

    I’m working on the same things now. The layers are peeling back a little at a time and I’m bringing down my wall a little bit as well, it’s a very difficult process but honestly I feel like my therapy sessions help so much.

    And I can’t wait to check out the book that Jeremy mentioned above, seems like a good, but difficult read.

  6. Sara says

    For me, setting small-er, achievable goals has helped build my confidence. (when I set unachievable goals I set myself up to fail….ie- I’m going to run a marathon! ahhhhhh)

    I’ve seen this in you as well, in doing things like your tri and bungee jumping.

    When I set goals, things that I thought my body could never do before I do them, and then I achieve them? It is truly amazing. My confidence goes up. (example- last year, I did the Ragnar. I run, and having had a baby I thought I knew sleep deprivation, but did not really know either until I did Ragnar. It was amazing! afterward my confidence was sky high)

    also totally agree with CBT. I practice this with my therapist, and have for about 10 years, and it has been a lifesaver. Literally.

  7. says

    Years ago, I use to teach a self esteeming building class as part of the Welfare to Work program. Mainly, it is similar to what you DO KNOW. Choices. Opening up the possibilities. We would start with an affirmation (I used Louise Hay) then we would do goal setting, and then I would teach them a different way to break down the steps to the goal. It is breaking steps down by going backwards in the timeline. THEN as they accomplished the little goals and saw how things were possible the confidence and esteem naturally progressed.
    The breakdown in confidence and esteem often comes when we feel closed off to possibilities or feel we have no choice.
    There’s my .02

  8. em says

    Okay, this may not be the most comfortable idea but in all seriousness, put on a pair of “power” heels! I’ve had to wear them to work recently and it feels great to strut your stuff around town or the office.

    Also do small things throughout the day that you know you are good at! If i get a hard assignment at work or am struggling with a workout, I will do something that I am good at or something that comes naturally to me to get a quick boost in confidence and allow me to keep pushing forward.

  9. Nicole says

    As so many people have told me, fake it til you make it! I didn’t believe in this slogan. I thought it to be cliche and was not going to work. But let me tell you it really does. Know one knows you aren’t confident so don’t let anyone know, especially yourself.

    I used to pump myself up before I had to do a networking events. I would get the best woman power songs out there (I suggest some xtina) and get excited! The more happy, positive, and excited you are the better potential for you to give off a confident glow. So get pumped and fake it til you make it! Trust me it will get easier. The more you do the better you get. And do know you will get nervous, but channel that nervous energy into a ok I see your nervousness and I raise you confidence! Trust me hands down confidence reigns every time :-)

    • says

      Seems like repetition helps after you just get the ball rolling. I’ll have to remember that. I should get you to make me a playlist to get pumped up hehe.

  10. says

    This will sound like shallow advice, but for me, it’s amazing how small cosmetic things can make me feel like a million bucks – getting a manicure, wearing some blush, blowing out my hair. I’m cringing writing this because I’m a master’s educated woman and I don’t want our self worth to be valued by outward appearance, but for me, personally, I feel my best inside when I feel great on the outside. So that’s the stupid advice, go get a pedicure! :)

    The real advice is to take a look at all you’ve accomplished and done. You’ve done AMAZING things by growing a very admirable community of readers for your blog, lived across the world, fell in love with and married a man who is now your husband, had a successful career, and no doubt continue to make huge strides in the success of your life. It can be hard to take all that in as “hey, I’m awesome”, but your readers (me! me! me! and tons of other people!) respect you and admire you SO much, so take that “I’m awesome” badge and wear it on your shoulder. You’re a lovely, intelligent woman so if you feel doubtful just send me a note and I’ll remind you why you’re awesome :) As a few other people have said, therapy has been huge for me but I think you’re already doing that. Be well!

  11. says

    Something I tell myself a lot is that is it not my place to decide what others think of me nor my concern. If we worry about pleasing others or being enough we will always fall short in our own eyes. It is something I still catch myself struggling with. Resources for me Kathleen Troyer Nelson (Essence Coaching) she has helped me more than I could have ever imagined! I really attribute the things I learned from her to my current mindset and path. Also Karen Anderson and of course talking it out on A Spark even when I feel like I messed up ;) people can relate and help when we need it most. XO

  12. says

    Ive been focusing on this so much with my daughter.
    for us…her…lately it has been simply BEING SUCCESSFUL.
    trying new things and rocking them.

  13. says

    You know the expression, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” I suggest tweaking it to this, “What is worth doing, even if you fail?” and then take imperfect action. Action is where it’s at, and since it can never be perfect, might as well go ahead and do it anyway. :-)

    Then there’s this, which I just happened to post on my blog yesterday: “Give yourself permission to doubt yourself. It’s going to happen sometimes, and it’s okay. Don’t pretend. Own it. I believe doubt is a part of growth. It seems to accompany us to any new venture. It reveals all the thoughts we have that might not serve us. Thoughts to work. Feel your doubt. Work your thoughts. Then, doubt your doubt.” ~ Brooke Castillo

  14. Coree says

    For me, I think the “fake it til you make it” concept worked the best. I would simply pretend to know what I was doing, pretend to be an outgoing person, pretend I had all the self confidence in the world, and then before I knew it, one day I realized I wasn’t pretending anymore. They were now ingrained habits. Also, shut down negative self talk. Don’t allow it. Once the thought pops into your head think something like “Nope. I CAN do this and I WILL do this” and move your thought process forward.

    I know it’s easier said than done, but they’re all just habits. The more you work on them the easier they will become!

    • says

      They are habits. Just like negative self-talk and lack of confidence in certain situations is a habit. I just need to break those old 20-year-old habits and get some new ones in place.

  15. says

    Once I realized that people don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about us as we think they do – I started to get over some of my insecurities. As I have aged, I’ve learned that even some of the people who come across as the most self-assured people I know, have insecurities.

  16. says

    OK, I’ve become a little biased against the term “self-esteem.” It is just a touchy-feely term that doesn’t really do it for me. We’re training our children to have self-esteem, not showing them how to have a purpose and be successful. I think a better phrase is self WORTH! Knowing that you are a precious child of God and He loves you with all imperfections is the more important foundation for me. I am a unique creation, there is NO ONE else exactly like me. I was blessed by parents who were nurturing and supportive so when I was treated badly in school, I had the inner strength to realize those people didn’t matter to me. It may have hurt, but they couldn’t define me! It’s that inner strength you need to find and realize the WORTH that you have as an amazing woman.

  17. says

    I’m still working on this for myself but some of the things I’ve learned from the brave people in my life are that they learn to laugh at themselves and just do it. I have the opportunity to stand up paddle board this summer as long as my injury is healed up by then and I’m totally pysching myself out over it. I have to not let my fear become my fact. Now, I’m off to read others comments!

  18. Liam Rubel says

    Even if you are getting you are still not reached to your destination. I am surprised to know that you have asked tips for self-confidence. A person with so much dedication writing her heart out but still asking for self confidence. You are self confident enough to take all your decisions, just stand by your decisions if it’s right or wrong. Confidence can’t be bought you have to build it inside.

    • says

      Perhaps I should have been more specific in the post. I can write for days and share ideas or feelings easily. It’s much, much harder for me when I have to make decisions and speak in front of people and that’s where my self-confidence is lacking and in need of some build up.

  19. says

    AMAZING blog! Wow, what a transfrmation! I’m a 26 year old female and was heavy as a teenager. I lost 60lbs when I was in high school. I too have delt with self confidence issues. I think the best way to build confidence is to face what you fear one step at a time. Do something that mildly intmidates you like rock climbing or running a half marathon.

    And a great author I would recommend is Brene Brown. She does lots of great reserach and I found her books helpful!

    Keep strong on your journey! You look AMAZING!