Photo of a sign that says Have Faith

Trusting Yourself: 6 Tips to Gain Self-Confidence in Turbulent Times

Whether experiencing a voluntary or involuntary career transition, your self-confidence level can be damaged, potentially causing you to doubt your judgment or intuition due to the degree of change you’re living through, having been thrust into a new situation.

It can be difficult to trust yourself, even if you’ve been through a lot of different transitions before. And yet, being able to trust yourself is important to help you get through your next transition and build your confidence once again, if lacking. When it takes a beating, we need to build it back up, so we’re ready to tackle new challenges that will inevitably crop up and go forth into our next adventure successfully.

How can you do this? By learning how to trust yourself again with these tips:

1. Embrace Who You Are: You’ve gotten this far in life due to specific attributes, characteristics, and strengths, whether you realize it or not. Note your accomplishments and what led to those and give yourself some love for where you are right now. While we may not love everything about some negative behaviors we engage in, we can certainly practice being ourselves and change what we can. A bit of unconditional love for yourself as a human being, warts and all, goes a long way.

2. Look Inward: Especially during this time of physical distancing, take a bit of time, whether a few minutes a day or a few times a week, to meditate or pay attention to what your body is doing. Take some deep breaths and let your thoughts wander. Try to notice what thoughts keep coming up. If they’re self-critical, release them and focus on what you’re doing that’s positive in your life. Reflect on your strengths and how you can channel them in specific ways to benefit other people or improve your situation.

3. Take a Learning Perspective: If you make what turns out to be a bad decision (believe me, I’ve made plenty along my career path and in my current state of self-employment – many, many of them), take what lessons you can from it to apply in the future. We can often beat ourselves up from making what we think are bad decisions, when often in hindsight, or when we talk them through with trusted confidantes, it’s not as bad as we think. We have great imaginations that can run wild sometimes, so don’t let a bad decision become a big obstacle. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward.

4. Set Realistic, Achievable Goals: The ol’ SMART goal formula is smart for a reason. It typically includes the components of being realistic (or relevant) and attainable (or achievable or actionable, depending on where you learned what the A stands for). While there’s nothing wrong with setting stretch goals to push us a bit and provide motivation, it’s important to not get overly ambitious to the point where we get down on ourselves too much and tank our self-confidence all over again. Instead, set a few reasonable smaller goals to help you get where you want to be. You’ll then get the satisfaction of reaching milestones, and the dopamine hit that goes with it, and experience success.

5. Keep Commitments: Following through on commitments you make is another way to have some successes and boost your self-trust and confidence level. Whether it’s a promise you keep to someone important in your life, sticking with a change you’ve wanted to make in your diet or exercise regimen, or taking specific steps toward your career-related goals, when you keep commitments, it builds trust both in yourself and with other people. Chances are, you’ll also earn some kudos for being dependable, resilient, and full of integrity, characteristics you can also leverage for what you’re transitioning to next.

6. Avoid Negative Naysayers: Who’s currently in your life who may be unsupportive or overly negative about what you do, the choices you make, or your level of success? Taking some time to assess the state of your relationships and who’s in your circle can be of great benefit to then purge these naysayers from your life. These are the ones who may not want you to succeed for one reason or another or only have negative things to say. It’s easier said than done, I know, especially if you have “people pleaser” tendencies. That said, think about what life could be like if these naysayers weren’t in it and you didn’t have their negative messages taking up headspace, and then take steps to distance yourself from them as best you can. It may ruffle some feathers that need serious ruffling, and that’s OK.

And a bonus tip…

7. Ditch Perfectionism: I know, another one easier said than done, and yet so important to our overall confidence and wellbeing. As human beings, we are naturally imperfect. Trying so hard to be perfect is an exercise in futility, as there’s no such thing, and everyone has their own definition of it anyway. So there. Stop driving yourself crazy. Enough already.

Trusting yourself, and gaining self-confidence in kind, takes focus and effort, like anything else. When you do it, though, you’ll put yourself in a great position to take advantage of new opportunities, regardless of your situation.