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Losing your confidence or self-esteem at work, it’s something that happens to everyone eventually. You lose a job, perform badly at a task, receive hard-hitting feedback, or any other setbacks you may encounter. It sucks, and if it’s bad enough, your very vision of yourself gets a punch in the face. Then you can even begin to wonder what your strengths really are.

From experience, I know that when it comes to confidence or self-esteem, only one opinion truly matters — your own. And even that one should be carefully assessed because we tend to be our own harshest critics.


Male And Female

According to research, more women suffer from a lack of confidence than men. In 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management surveyed British managers about how confident they feel in their current jobs. Shockingly, 50% of the female managers expressed doubts about their job performance, whereas less than 33% of male managers expressed the same doubts.

In another study by Brenda Major, a social psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she discovered that men consistently overestimated their abilities and performance on a variety of tasks and that women habitually underestimated both.

All things considered, for both men and women, there’s plenty of insecurity to go around. And given the importance of confidence, if we lose it, how can we get it back?

The key to boosting confidence is to rise above others’ and especially your own distorted images of yourself. Unfortunately, it isn’t controlled with a simple on-off switch. Instead, it’s a continuous stream of mental strength that you need to sustain.

Here are five strategies to boost your confidence when you need it most:


1. Continue To Take Risks, Even In Hard Times

You must be declaring me for being insane but hear me out.

When we come face to face with failure, we often want to take ourselves out of the game, lick our wounds, and avoid risk. That’s what the most of us do and that’s the worst thing we can do. No matter the size of the risk, we suddenly see everything as a threat, even the smallest things, because our brain is wired to protect us from harm.

Before you realise the situation you’re in, you stopped taking action and inaction is keeping you stuck in the space of loss. It is the action which can create success and, in turn, confidence. As Winston Churchill famously said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

In my earlier blog ‘Better Odds Await The Risk Taker’ I discussed why we over-estimate negative probabilities and why the odds of it going right, are often far better. It will be worth the read.


2. Get Appreciation-Infused Perspective

If a failure stings deep enough, it can overtake our thoughts and escalate mind-blowingly fast.

Stop! Take a step back, zoom-out and see the bigger picture. For example, did you lose a promotion? Think about how many successes you’ve had to get to the place you are today. One promotion lost in a career is not a dead end.

Appreciation is your remedy here, so follow up with seeking out friends and colleagues who appreciate what you do. If you can share the failure in a safe environment, you can gain the viewpoint that others have of you. We are always, and we continue to be our harshest critics.


3. Avoid The Compare-And-Despair Trap

One of the reasons that failure hurts is that we are concerned about what others will think of us.

Wisely, we may know that it doesn’t matter, but we just have to be stubborn and look at Facebook behaviour to see how comparative we all are. Comparisons will only lead us further down the negative self-talk spiral, which further leads to anxiety and stress. It can negatively affect our mental health as well as other areas of our lives next to our jobs, such as relationships and physical health.

If your failure results in someone else’s success, try not to make it a total loss. Back to the promotion example, losing a promotion now doesn’t mean you won’t get one later. Shift your thoughts by coming from a place of abundance. So, what if this one didn’t go your way? There are more opportunities.


4. See Value In Learning From Failure

No one can be perfect all the time, and we all fail – that’s part of life whether you like it or not. However, there are opportunities within failure if we dig deep and see it as a chance to learn. If we can reframe and see the advantage, we may even find a positive message lying hidden inside.

It really is about the journey. Failure teaches us lifelong lessons because we improve, and we get stronger and tougher. We learn more about ourselves because we gain perspective. When you learn from failures, remember to not hide them because showing vulnerability can actually make you more influential and inspiring to others.

We are drawn to those who have failed and gone on to success. Would you believe that someone attains success without failing? It’s naïve to reason this way don’t you think?


5. Remember, You Are Not Your Circumstances

Learning to differentiate between our circumstances and who we are is vital for boosting our self-worth. When we recognise our inner worth and appreciate our imperfection, it will provide the secure foundation for growth. We all have infinite potential and equal worth as human beings since birth. That we are anything less is a false belief that we have learned over time.

Therefore, with hard work and self-compassion, self-destructive views and beliefs can be untaught.


  • How confident are you in your job?
  • How is your confident holding you back from success?
  • Are there other strategies that you use to boost confidence?


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