You need to build self-confidence if you want to achieve success is life. The month of February is self-confidence month at YE and we see this as an extremely important attribute that is essential, not only for employability, workplace readiness and /or starting a business (the entrepreneurial mindset), but in almost every aspect of our lives. Self-confident people have qualities that everyone admires, but it is sad to see so many people that struggle to find it

What is Self-Confidence? The dictionary states that self-confidence is a “feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement, and the following synonyms are given; morale, confidence, self-assurance, belief in oneself, positiveness, assertiveness, assurance, self-reliance, self-possession, composure, nerve, poise, presence.

According to MindTools, two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem. We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves (and others similar to ourselves) mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. This is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we’ll succeed; and it’s this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks. This overlaps with the idea of self-esteem, which is a more general sense that we can cope with what’s going on in our lives, and that we have a right to be happy. Partly, this comes from a feeling that the people around us approve of us, which we may or may not be able to control. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously, that we’re competent at what we do, and that we can compete successfully when we put our minds to it.

How confident do you seem to others? Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: your behaviour, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and so on. Look at the following comparisons of common confident behaviour with behaviour associated with low self-confidence. Which thoughts or actions do you recognise in yourself and people around you?

Confident BehaviorBehavior Associated With low Self-Confidence
Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticise you.Governing your behaviour based on what other people think.
Being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve things.Staying in your comfort zone, fear failure, and so avoid taking risks.
Admitting your mistakes, and learning from them.Cover up mistakes & hope to fix the problem before anyone notices.
Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognise my efforts.”Dismissing compliments offhandedly. “Oh that prospectus was nothing really, anyone could have done it.”
Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments.Praising your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible.

As you can see from these examples, low self-confidence can be self-destructive, and it often manifests itself as negativity. Confident people are generally more positive – they believe in themselves and their abilities, and they also believe in living life to the full.

The good news is that self-confidence really can be learned and built on. And, whether you’re working on your own confidence or building the confidence of people around you, it’s well-worth the effort! We will look at practical ways to build your self-confidence. Watch this space next week.