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5 Ways to Build Self-Confidence During Career Transitions

During times of uncertainty, like we’re in right now, or when experiencing job loss, as many are going through these days, our self-confidence can really be damaged, especially when we’ve been hit with a setback that leaves us feeling hurt or confused. Our limiting beliefs about what we can or can’t do, should or shouldn’t do (“should-ing all over ourselves”), and what we are or are not, especially when we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to other people or making assumptions about what they’ll think, can torpedo our confidence and prevent us from moving forward to get what we really want as a next step for our lives.

Benefits of building self-confidence include anything from accomplishing a goal and having better relationships and health due to less stress and anxiety, to experiencing increased optimism with fewer negative thoughts, more energy, and greater happiness. Being comfortable in our own skin can also lead to being able to set good boundaries so we can focus on what’s most important, taking smart risks to get to where we want to be, and learning from mistakes to continuously improve as a person. The better our confidence level, the more we can overcome obstacles to our success and fulfillment, whatever that looks like for you.

Here are a few tips for how to boost your self-confidence and conquer limiting beliefs:

  1. Recognize Negative Self-Talk: Before flipping the script to stop engaging in negative self-talk, it’s important to first recognize when you’re doing it. Pay attention, not only to the negative things you’re telling yourself, but also to the situations or circumstances that trigger them. Where are you and what are you doing when negative thoughts enter? What are the typical “mantras” you say to yourself that promote a lack of confidence? Once identified, you can then better monitor when you’re engaging in negative self-talk and replace it with the positive: that you are capable, competent, intelligent, resilient, etc., banishing the negative thoughts out of your head.
  2. Recognize Successes: It’s so easy to get down on ourselves and be self-critical that we often negate or forget our accomplishments and when things have gone right, especially if we’ve received mostly constructive (“negative”) feedback with very little appreciative (“positive”) feedback, historically, leading to feeling deflated, demotivated, and depressed. Make a list or otherwise note when you’ve been successful in your work and life and what those successes led to that contributed to where you are today. Identify what you did and the strengths and skills you used in those moments that resulted in your success. Give yourself some praise for these accomplishments – you deserve it!
  3. Set Bite-Sized Goals: This classic strategy for greater productivity and time management with less procrastination also works well to build confidence. Rather than have a big goal looming in front of you that can seem daunting, break it all down into bite-sized pieces to make it more manageable and increase the number of successes you have. Don’t forget to give yourself realistic deadlines for these milestones too! Before you know it, you’ll achieve your overall goal with less stress and increased trust in your abilities with the added benefit of feeling great about your progress toward your ultimate vision of who you want to be and what you want to be doing.
  4. Try Something New: While being reluctant to take risks can be a sign of low self-confidence, putting yourself out there to attempt something new is a good way to increase your confidence level. It doesn’t have to be anything big: pick an activity that interests you and give it a go, whether work related or not. Maybe you join a Meetup or some sort of virtual group about a topic of interest. Or, you sign up for a class that sounds like fun. Or, you try a different type of exercise or volunteer activity. The important thing is to challenge yourself, and by doing so, provide even more opportunities to experience success, regardless of what you choose to take on.
  5. Forgive Yourself: Just as it’s recommended to forgive other people to have a greater sense of peace and get rid of grudges to move beyond the past, it’s also important to forgive yourself. Instead of kicking yourself repeatedly for mistakes you’ve made and replaying these scenes in your head (I’ve done this more times than I can count), grant yourself some grace and forgiveness. It doesn’t serve you or anyone else to dwell on the past and what you can’t change. Showing compassion extends to you too. Whether you write down and physically throw away those things you need to forgive yourself for, or simply say them out loud/to yourself, releasing yourself from this baggage allows you to be open to experiences and challenges that can propel you forward while building confidence.

No matter your situation for needing a self-confidence boost, using some or all of these strategies can help you get to the next step you’d like to take in your career or to make a transition into something different for your life. You’re already more than enough. It’s time to show that to the world.