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10 Steps to Build Confidence at Work

Danielle Bertini, LPC

Confidence, especially in the workplace, is not something that everyone is born with. Somehow, in the business world, our confidence either depletes gradually as we make mistakes or grows as we accomplish tasks and excel. Here are 10 tips according to Forbes on how to build your confidence at work:

Phase #1: Eliminating Self-doubt: Building self-confidence is a two-phase process. The first phase involves ridding yourself of self-doubt. In the second phase, you work on building up your confidence. You can think of this like creating a skyscraper: you first need to clear the sky and lay a solid foundation before stacking the structure. 

  • Step 1. Understanding Its Origins: Self-doubt begins to make its way into your system as a baby. As toddlers, we all look at the power our parents/caregivers have and think “I need to be like them!” Although the desire for this isn’t the problem, putting parents on a pedestal is. It’s a complex process, but from the moment we crave power similar to what we feel our parents have, we constantly contrast our sense of self worth with our ego ideal—an imagined, perfect self, derived from our image of our “super-powerful” parents. However, no one can live up to the standards set by the ego ideal, so we spend the rest of our lives plagued by doubt.
  • Step 2. Accept It: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is based on the insight that admitting you suffer from a problem actually reduces the distress it can cause. We all feel like failures at times. We all have imperfections. Recognizing that those who you admire most have them, too, is important.
  • Step 3. Fess Up: Chances are that step 2 might take a bit of time, as real acceptance sometimes doesn’t kick in until you’ve shared your anxiety with someone you find trustworthy. For example, if you feel like you might bomb a presentation, try giving one to friends. Worst case scenario is that whoever you go to will give you negative feedback, which you can then use to improve. By admitting what you’re anxious about, you’ll probably find that there are others who feel the same.
  • Step 4. Look At The Facts: If someone is claustrophobic and gets stuck in an elevator, it can be hard for them to focus on the fact that the elevator will begin moving again at some point. Fear and panic take over. The same experience can happen with self-doubt. This is where finding hard facts is important. For example, if you have recently been promoted, remind yourself of why that happened. This could include making a list of all your valuable skills and accomplishments and then reading them aloud.

Phase #2: Boosting Self-Confidence

  • Step 5. Know That Nothing Is Inherently Threatening: A dreaded event can be made more manageable by telling yourself that you have ways to cope with it.
  • Step 6. Confront Your Fear…: For some people, just telling yourself to not fear something isn’t enough (relating back to the previous step). With that in mind, sometimes it takes facing the fear head on to create self-confidence and resiliency.
  • Step 7. …But Choose Your Battles: This step speaks to taking on challenges that are egosyntonic, meaning behaviors and feelings that match your view of who you are. It’s much easier to boost your confidence by confronting challenges that you personally choose rather than by taking on challenges someone else tells you to do. You can further increase your confidence by taking on challenges that you choose to engage in because you believe in their aim.
  • Step 8. Once You Master Something, Stretch: By adding a bit more challenge with every task you tackle, your self-confidence will begin to grow in tandem.
  • Step 9. Never Solicit What You Hope Will Be Confidence-boosting Feedback: Try to be cautious of asking questions such as “How am I doing?” Although that may be a good question for a politician, it can be a bad question for those looking to boost confidence. It probably won’t lead to honest feedback, anyways.
  • Step 10. Beware Hubris: As with all things in life, there can be too much of a good thing. It’s important to believe in yourself, but not be cocky about it.

If you’re struggling with becoming more confident, you may benefit from meeting with a Chicago therapist. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.


10 Steps To More Confidence At Work. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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