Confidence. Lack of confidence. Desire to build confidence. No confidence.

This ten-letter word gets quite a bit of attention on a daily basis from both my clients and girlfriends. The absence of confidence is particularly stifling for women who have taken time off from paid employment and those who are looking at a career change. 

I am not relevant. My skills are dated. I don't feel confident networking. I am scared to start. I feel stuck.

These are just some of the statements I hear on a regular basis. We give CONFIDENCE so much credit for stopping us from moving forward in a new direction. Two common responses to feeling confidence-depleted is to throw in the towel before starting or set yourself up for failure because you (unintentionally) undermine yourself in the process and in conversations with those who can help you. There is one big problem with these responses:

You will never build confidence if you do not put yourself out there.

Confidence does not just land on your doorstep. You are not genetically predisposed to having or not having it. Every one of us is responsible for pro-actively cultivating the feeling through regular deliberate practice.

There is also a bonus that comes along with confidence – the more you generate it in one area of life, the more it positively effects other areas. I call it, “a gift with purchase!”

If your confidence has taken a hit, test drive some of these tips on your journey to re-building your reservoir.

  1. Reflect on when you have been at the top of your game (this can be from a paid or unpaid experience). What were you doing? What skills did you use? How did you gain your skill set? Take full inventory of your past and present successes and strengths.
  2. Identify all the skills you have developed over time. You will likely be surprised with how many skills you do have and how transferable they are for your next step. If a skill is rusty or dated, how can you update it and become current?
  3. When do you feel the most confident? How have you developed this confidence?
  4. Do your due diligence. Before you decide you are not qualified or you are outdated in your knowledge, find out the facts. After doing some research, clients often find they are not quite as dated or out of their league as they imagined.
  5. Once you have done your due diligence, determine the skills you need to develop and create an educational plan to make it happen. Your plan may include classes, workshops, online learning, finding a mentor or jumping into a paid (or unpaid) opportunity where you can gain the knowledge you need.
  6. Last, and possibly most importantly, never underestimate your desire, passion, ability to learn and your potential. This is what will take you past your comfort zone and into the confidence building journey.

If you feel like your confidence tank is running on fumes, start small with low risk confidence building experiences. Eventually you will find yourself taking larger steps and ultimately a complete leap of faith that will land you where you want to go.

When you are near empty, how do you refuel your confidence? Would love to hear some practices that have allowed you to move forward!