Whether you’re about to sit an exam, interview for a job or give an important presentation at work, confidence is key to success. In our recent alumni survey, you asked us for guidance on feeling more confident, so here is our best advice.
Self-confidence shouldn’t be confused with arrogance. It’s not the belief that you don’t have any flaws, or are superior to others, but has the following distinctions:
- A belief that you are able to take on challenges, and accepting that it might take some preparation
- Accepting that you can make mistakes, or may lack certain skills
- A willingness to ask for help
- Giving credit or praise to other people when it’s due
- Not needing to brag about your accomplishments
- Accepting that being good at something takes hard work
So, how do you build on your own self-confidence? Luckily, confidence can be learned just like any other skill, and improved self-confidence will help you overcome the challenges of work, education and life.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
The first step to self-confidence is to accept yourself. Once you’ve determined your skill sets, you can focus on doing the things that you are good at instead of feeling bad about the things you can’t do. Nobody is good at everything, so the sooner you accept this and focus on your own unique strengths, the sooner your self-confidence will grow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this is a sign of strength, not weakness.
If you’re feeling nervous about an exam or a job interview, the best thing you can do to boost your confidence is to prepare. If you know that you have done all the studying and revision you can do, have practised your interview questions and done your company research, you can go into those situations relying on your own existing knowledge and skills.
Become more competent
The surest route to feeling more competent is to become more competent. If there are any gaps in your skills that will help you to achieve your ambitions, it’s likely that you can gain these through an adult learning or professional course. It’s also important to remember your successes. It’s easy to downplay your accomplishments and focus on the negatives. However, self-confident people are able to pat themselves on the back when they’ve done a good job.
Set achievable goals
Set yourself a realistic, long-term goal. Perhaps it’s getting a new qualification, finding a new job, buying a house or saving for a holiday. Now break this bigger goal into smaller, daily goals, which you can easily tick off. If you goal is to get a new qualification, your smaller goal might be to set aside 30 minutes each day to study. If your goal is to save up for a house or holiday, your goal could be putting aside a small amount each day. Having these small wins will increase your confidence that you can achieve the bigger things, and your sense of achievement will be based on fact, not arrogance.