5 Ways to be Confident in the Face of Self-Doubt

5 Ways to be Confident in the Face of Self-Doubt

February 19, 2015
by Franciska | 6 comments

Professional women continue to get mixed messages these days. The Confidence Gap seems to show that we are missing out on opportunities because we are less confident and willing to take risks than our male colleagues. At the same time, many of us have a deep inner desire to be authentic and lead our lives and careers with integrity. Sometimes our admission of lack of experience or doubt is just an expression of honesty, not an unwillingness to try.

We are confused by what it means to be confident. Does it mean hiding our flaws? Does it mean being the first to speak up? Does it mean keeping a brave face in the workplace but being anxiety-ridden at home? No, nobody would say that any of these would be a victory.

However, confidence and true leadership can look many ways. The blend is unique to you. Personally I like to practice a quiet confidence that aligns with my academic background, introverted tendencies and inclusive values. Like anyone, I often have doubts, yet for me confidence is having those doubts and taking action anyway, in a way that reflects my inner strength.

Here are my recommendations on how to be confident, even when you have doubts:

  • Trust your instincts. You have a vision of where you want to go, and you have good instincts. If you feel intuitively like you should go for a position that is beyond your current years of experience, trust your instincts. If you feel like the culture of a new company you are interviewing with is not right for you, trust your instincts. You can follow your intuition with confidence, even if you are unclear where it is leading you.
  • Know you can change your mind. Often we feel like we have to know how everything will end, and we have to find the perfect answer for all time. It can be freeing and confidence-building to remember that you are always learning and growing. If you get in over your head or find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, you can change your mind, your job, your industry, your hometown. This does not mean you made a mistake. It’s a part of your journey.
  • Be confident in your core abilities. You have innate strengths that are consistent and reliable. Perhaps you always have new ideas, solve problems creatively, write beautifully, manage others well or build relationships. You can rely on these core strengths in every situation, even if it’s a new role, job, industry or problem. You can learn the specifics for the new opportunity, but you bring something golden that is uniquely you.
  • Be confident in your values. Just like you have core strengths, you have inner values. These are the principles you stand for and demonstrate in how you lead your career and your life. Perhaps you value integrity, humor, creativity, generosity, truth or adventure. When you use your values to help you make choices, you are authentic, even while learning and growing.
  • Practice and prepare with a trusted colleague, mentor or friend. Finally, when you are making a choice, preparing for a presentation or going to an interview, call someone trusted. Share your doubts (which aren’t true) and practice how to be both truthful and confident while going for what you want. You will be ready.


6 comments on 5 Ways to be Confident in the Face of Self-Doubt

  • I totally agree with the points made. I would add that we should train ourselves in deciphering between a decision coming from our inner-tuition (intuition) or from the voices in our mind. So when you say to yourself: this choice doesn’t feel good, is it really your gut feeling, or some irrational chatter in your mind? I can tell from experience that it is a mastering process and it takes a lot of honesty towards oneself, because a decision taken from the place of mind can bring temporary relief. Therefore the last point about practicing with a trusted colleague is even more important and you should give these trusted people in your life permission to challenge you and tell you the truth about how they view things. We call it: giving them permission to execute “brutal compassion”.

  • Hallo Franciska
    I was really touched bij this radio theme. Confidence to me has to do with trust in competence but also with the trust in my intuition. Do I really can trust my intuition? Or when is my intuition just a voice of my dark queen who is not letting me see what the sitiation is realy calling for. That is my struggle that lets me doubt my confidence.

  • Thank you Juul, yes, there are many voices claiming to represent your intuition. Continue to listen deeply, like (I know) you do! thanks for sharing,

  • Thank you so much Franciska.
    Two points stand out for me: Being confident in our values. What a great place to start! And remembering to Practice/prepare/collaborate. We are not in this alone and bringing in a peer for feedback/mentoring/playtime can make all the difference and remind us of what we know.

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