Last Updated on April 25, 2021 by Admin
Building sustainable confidence doesn’t happen overnight.
You might be saying your affirmations, writing your journal prompts, making a list of your accomplishments, and feeling great.
Then one day, someone calls you “too much” or a presentation doesn’t go as planned or you don’t enroll the new client after a discovery call.
When you don’t have a firm trust in yourself and believe in your capacity for success, one small curve in the path can send you into an impostor spiral.
I get it, because I’ve been there.
In fact, all it took was one feedback session with a former manager where she personally attacked me and my coaching business for me to totally lose all the confidence it took a lifetime to build.
Over the last three years, I’ve found myself shrinking, avoiding feedback, hiding my strengths and not believing in myself and my unique gifts.
And I’ve spent this time rebuilding that confidence so I can continue to live my purpose and stand strong in who I am.
I’ve always been a fan of the quote, “write what you need to read yourself,” and that’s exactly what I did.
I’ve written a lot of articles I needed to read myself, and I’ve compiled my favorites here for you, along with other resources that have been invaluable in my confidence journey.
Here’s a roundup of my favorite resources for building confidence:
Confidence comes from a deep trust in who we are. You can build confidence in who you are by identifying your core values and strengths, celebrating your accomplishments, and standing in your unique power. When you are clear on who you are, no one can take that away from you.
Confidence is a belief that we can rely on ourselves to achieve our goals. We break this trust in ourselves by giving away our power to others’ opinions of ourselves or saying “yes” to things we really don’t want to do. The good news is you can build confidence by trusting yourself, and you can build trust by choosing empowering beliefs and sustainable actions that propel you forward.
While I always say, “confidence comes from taking action,” journaling is a great way to build your confidence in a supportive environment. Journaling about confidence helps you build positive connections and trust in your inner wisdom, building new, empowering thought patterns that help you go after your biggest dreams.
Impostor Syndrome is a common experience for women, especially if you’re doing something for the first time. Although it might be deeply ingrained in your belief system, you have the power to #ChooseToChallenge those limiting beliefs and instead believe that you are worthy, capable, talented and enough. Period.
Confidence isn’t something you’re born with, and it’s not something you can wish into existence. Confidence comes from taking action. Like a muscle, you can build confidence over time by taking powerful, intentional, and bold steps toward your goals.
So much of what we say about ourselves is negative. Affirmations give us the opportunity to choose words that help create or eliminate something in our lives, such as creating success or confidence or healthy relationships, and eliminating low self-esteem, destructive behaviors and even pain. Affirmations help us retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns so we can truly transform our lives. We can get more of what we want and less of what we don’t.
This is the assessment I recommend most often with my coaching clients and leaders. It’s a well-known and validated tool that suggests there are 34 different strengths, or “themes,” we each possess, and when you take the assessment, you will receive your Top 5 Themes. Many organizations use StrengthsFinder within their leadership teams and employees to help them understand each other better. I’ve used StrengthsFinder to help clients update their resumes, for executive team building, and for my own personal and team development.
This assessment helps you build confidence by improving your self-awareness. Remember, confidence is a deep trust in yourself and your abilities. The StrengthsFinder assessment helps you understand why you’re good at the things you are – especially the skills and traits you take for granted. The StrengthsFinder assessment also helps you own your unique strengths and styles. In fact, your chances of having the exact same Top 5 Themes as someone else in the same order are 1 in 33 million! This assessment helps you see that you are unique, you have unique gifts to share with the world, and that not everyone can do what you do. According to Don Clifton, one of the creators of the assessment, a strength is formed when you invest in your talent, or Talent x Investment = Strength. So, the more you practice and develop your innate talents, the more likely they will become a strength.
This test is similar to the StrengthsFinder assessment, as it provides you with your top five strengths, and it’s a free option. What makes this test different is that HIGH5 strengths are recurring patterns of thoughts, decisions, actions, and feelings. The criteria measured in this test include feeling natural at using and developing your ability; you get positive energy when using your strengths; others also perceive it as your strength; it aligns with your understanding of a strength; and it satisfies your inner needs.
Like the StrengthsFinder, the HIGH5 test helps you build self-awareness. Research shows when we use our strengths, we’re happier, more engaged and more likely to achieve our goals. It also helps boost productivity and engagement in the workplace. According to HIGH5, people who have a chance to use their strengths are on average 74% more engaged at work. And when you feel engaged by using your strengths, you start to build sustainable confidence. You begin to believe in yourself and your capabilities, which builds trust in yourself.
This is my other favorite assessment to use with individuals and teams, and I particularly love using the 16Personalities site. This is another free assessment that is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is one of the most well-known personality type assessments out there. The MBTI gives you a look at your inner world and measures four areas of personality and preference:
How you gain energy (Extroversion vs. Introversion)
How you collect information (Sensing vs. iNtuition)
How you make decisions (Thinking vs. Feeling)
How you organize your environment (Judging vs. Perceiving)
You’ll see your results as a four-letter representation of the above, for example, my personality type is ENFP, which is also called The Campaigner in the 16Personalities assessment. We all have elements of each of these areas, but the MBTI measures your preference for using one over the other. In other words, what’s your dominant or most natural way of being?
This assessment helps you build confidence by helping you understand how you relate to the world and other people. You can better understand the way you make decisions, or why you need more time alone to recharge and build your energy reserves after a big event. This helps build a stronger sense of self-awareness and an understanding of your inner world.
Obviously I’m a bit biased here, since this is my quiz, but I love it! I’m obsessed with personality tests and assessments, so it was only a matter of time before I created my own. I developed this quiz after working with hundreds of women over the years – as clients, leaders and employees – and nine leadership styles began to emerge:
The Ceiling Smasher
The Bleeding Heart
This quiz reveals your prominent style (although like the MBTI, each of us has some degree of all of these leadership styles) and describes your style at your best (when you’re in your element or using your strengths every day), and at your stressed (when you’re overwhelmed or anxious or burned out). It also outlines how others see you as a leader or peer, what might keep you up at night, what motivates you, and how you can shine with this style.
I designed this quiz specifically to help you build confidence in your unique style. It’s an excellent complement to any of the other assessments above or great on its own. In addition to the report, you’ll also get a series of 5 daily emails that help you build on your strengths in this leadership style, build confidence, and design your personal powerful action roadmap. It’s really fun and empowering, if I do say so myself!
Start with this list of 10 Personal Development Books by Black Authors, then check out these additional books on building confidence:
Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones
I’m a believer in divine timing, but where has this book been all my life!?! Fear is one of the biggest things that blocks our confidence and holds us back from becoming who we’re meant to be. Luvvie is a master at direct yet gentle tough love on this subject. I especially love that the entire book is dedicated to and based on her grandmother, who was the original “Professional Troublemaker.” It’s a beautiful reminder to always speak your truth, own who you are, and use that power to do good in the world.
One quote that really stood out to me (which I promptly wrote on a sticky note and stuck it on my desk) is:
“Who are we helping by being muted versions of ourselves?”
Talk about a wake-up call! So many women (myself included) find ourselves shrinking or not owning our strengths or hiding who we are so we don’t offend or upset anyone else, instead of owning our greatness, speaking our minds, and asking for what we want and need. It’s already my favorite read of 2021, and one of the most empowering books I’ve ever read. If you only read one book this year, make this THE book. It’s seriously life-changing.
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
I remember when this book first came out, I could NOT WAIT to get my hands on it. I also bought the Audible version so I could listen to it on my way to work. I think I listened to it three times in a row – it was that good. Plus, you can download a workbook that accompanies the book and provides exercises you can do with yourself or your team.
One thing that stood out for me was the “Square Squad” example in Part 1: Rumbling with Vulnerability. In this exercise, you take a one-inch by one-inch square and write the names of the people whose opinions matter to you in the square. This is your Square Squad! It’s such a powerful reminder that we tend to act and behave based on what we think others will think about us. The square is small for a reason; it forces you to really think about whose opinion matters most to you. And once you know that, you can stop trying to please everyone – because “everyone” isn’t in your Square Squad.
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Before I moved to Virginia, I was in a book club with a few women colleagues. We all worked in the same field but in different hospitals within our health system. This was the first book we read as a group, and it was so refreshing to talk about these concepts with a group of leaders whom I looked up to. This began my deep dive into personal growth, and this was the group with whom I shared all of my hopes and dreams and fears. We went to Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Greatness event and even drove to Philadelphia for Jen Sincero’s book tour for You Are a Badass at Making Money and got our photo with her!
But I digress! This book opened my eyes to truly taking responsibility for my life and how I wanted to live. It gave me the confidence and courage to leave a toxic job and work in my coaching business full time for a year. It helped me stay focused and motivated on my goals, and it helped me see new possibilities and options when I thought there were none. I highly recommend reading this book as part of a book club or with your crew. Something magical happens when you can share your goals with one another and cheer each other on.
Sustainable confidence isn’t developed overnight. It helps if you look at your confidence journey from multiple angles. This list of resources can help you build confidence in different ways. Find what works for you and leave the rest.
Take action now: Choose one resource from this list, and work through it for one week. For example, if you choose an article or book, journal through the exercises presented or simply journal about your reactions or ah-ha moments you experience as you read. If you take one of the assessments, journal each day about how you see your strengths or personality type playing out in your daily life.
The more you can integrate your learning through journaling, the more you begin to build trust in yourself and eventually, confidence will come. Let me know your favorite resource in the comments!
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