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Build real self-confidence: These tips get beneath the surface

January 13, 2022 - 12 min read


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What is self-confidence, anyway?

What are the benefits of developing self-confidence?

Self-confidence and self-esteem: Are they the same?

How to build confidence

What are some tips to be more confident?


Self-confidence is easy to spot but hard to develop. Everyone wants to be self-confident. But many don't know how to start building it. 

It takes some effort (and a willingness to stretch outside of your comfort zone) to gain confidence. You build it piece by piece starting with noticing what you already have and appreciating your wins, no matter how small. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

You may not realize it, but people want to see you succeed. And more than ever, there are resources to help you, including expert coaching from BetterUp, to become the most authentically confident version of yourself. 

In the meantime, read on to learn more about what self-confidence can mean in your life.

What is self-confidence, anyway?

Confidence is hard to define, but self-confidence generally refers to a sense of comfort with yourself and your instincts and a belief that you can trust your own abilities, knowledge, and judgment. 

Confident people welcome new challenges because they know that they are reasonably up to the challenge. And, their self-worth doesn’t hinge on the outcome. They'll try their best and are motivated to pursue their goals without overthinking or internalizing too much.

They approach things in life without uncertainty and nerves. 

Rather than being judgmental or hostile toward other people's success, confident people celebrate others and feel genuine happiness for them rather than envy or comparison. They are inspired to learn what they can about how others succeed. They don’t rationalize others’ successes or their own failures.

They may not be positive all the time, but they do keep a growth mindset. When they make a mistake, they usually can see the humor and are more likely to respond with laughter instead of insecurity or shame. 

People can be confident in specific areas of their lives, too. Some are more confident in their athletic abilities than their cooking expertise. Others could be confronted with a lack of confidence in certain academic subjects. The areas where people feel self-confident often represent what they’re most passionate about in life.

It’s worth mentioning that there is a difference between genuine self-confidence and people who display overconfidence. In this article, we’re talking about the earned, steady confidence that is rooted in trusting yourself within the types of decisions and challenges in the world around you. 

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What are the benefits of developing self-confidence?

Why do people need to be confident in life? Improved self-confidence can add many benefits to your life that you may not even realize. The impacts reach both your professional and personal life. 

Here are four benefits that self-confidence can bring to your life:

Experience healthy relationships

Self-confidence can be infectious. It helps make those around you feel more confident and comfortable when communicating with you. 

At heart, self-confidence is about appreciating and trusting yourself. When you know and accept your own strengths and weaknesses, you’re better able to appreciate and support the people around you. While confidence is great for loving others, it also helps you show love to yourself.

You'll find that you'll have a better understanding of yourself and others. Your confidence could encourage you to leave any toxic or unhealthy relationships that hurt your well-being. In the end, you're improving your wellness and practicing self-care.


Succeed more in your jobs

With any job or task you have to tackle, your self-confidence will be there to hype you up for the big moments. It will also sustain you through the hard work and times of growth and uncertainty. You won't waste time going back and forth worrying over your abilities or what others think of you. You will seem at ease in the way you perform. Self-confidence can also help you develop leadership skills because you can easily connect and communicate. 

Welcome new chapters without worry

Life is full of new beginnings. New beginnings aren’t as daunting when you're confident in yourself. You can better believe in your abilities when testing your limits and trying new things. Confident people also make decisions more easily. Their confidence spills over into their decision-making process, making new adventures exciting, not scary. 

Experience greater resilience

Even confident people can't avoid mistakes or failures. It's part of life, and no matter how much your confidence encourages you, you aren't immune. Instead, your self-confidence will help you accept responsibility and understand that you're constantly learning throughout life.

Self-confidence doesn’t come from one moment or action and it persists despite the bad moments. After acknowledging that you make mistakes, your self-confidence will help pick you up and bounce back faster. You’ll know you've done your best, and you can view it as a learning opportunity. 


Self-confidence and self-esteem: Are they the same?

We often use self-confidence and self-esteem interchangeably because they’re closely related. Self-confidence is most genuine and durable when it derives from healthy self-esteem. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two.

Self-confidence is outward-facing. It's what you put out to the world and what people around you see. Self-esteem is inward-facing and not always noticeable from the outside. Your confidence can come from knowledge and experience, whereas self-esteem is more about knowing yourself and valuing your self-worth. Low self-esteem or low self-confidence can cause self-doubt and negatively impact your mental health, well-being, and performance.

Often, people tend to rely on their self-confidence for happiness in life. Instead of working on their self-esteem, which is about knowing and loving yourself, strengths and weaknesses, and developing an internal sense of worth, people work on their projected image and how others perceive them. This focus on projected confidence in order to seem successful can backfire without also developing self-esteem. People may not realize you have low self-esteem, but eventually, those you connect with will see through your self-confidence. 

It’s crucial to note that self-confidence won’t endure without healthy self-esteem. It will be shaken when you find yourself in unfamiliar terrain. But with both, you’ll thrive. When your self-esteem is steady and your well-being is good, your self-confidence shines brighter. If you love and value yourself, you’ll embrace your strengths and weaknesses in any situation, and your self-esteem will motivate you to be a more confident person.

How to build confidence


Everyone can learn how to be more confident in different, powerful ways. What may work for some may not work for all, and that's okay. Remember that you can always start small with little steps before taking bold strides.

Here are eleven ways to help build self-confidence:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others
  2. Celebrate and reflect on your wins
  3. Embrace your failures and view them as learning opportunities
  4. Step out of your comfort zone 
  5. Treat yourself with respect
  6. Have positive self-talk sessions
  7. Track your progress
  8. Pursue passions that make you happy
  9. Allow yourself to be curious
  10. Think about your big goals
  11. Stand up for yourself 

What are some tips to be more confident?

Building your confidence takes time and involves plenty of ups and downs. As you put in the work towards being confident, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be proud of yourself

Hard work deserves to be recognized. Maybe one of the ways that you're becoming more confident is by making more eye contact with people

You should also celebrate your smallest victories however you'd like. If a big bowl of ice cream will do that for you, go for it. As you track your progress, make sure to think back to where you started. Think about how that version of you would be proud of where you are today.

Proud-owner-of-furniture-design-studio-standing-in workshop-how-to-build-confidence

Don't be afraid to open up

It can be scary to be vulnerable with new people and within your surroundings. But as you're learning new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone, don't be afraid to let yourself open up. Be present with where you are and what you're doing. As you grow, you can acknowledge your fear and worries, but don't let that prevent you from exposing yourself to new things.

Be specific

You have to hone in on yourself to figure out what aspects you want to be more confident in. Where do you lack confidence? Where are you super confident? Identifying these aspects will help you be specific with your goals. Once you have a plan, you won't feel overwhelmed. Discover what would give you confidence and start making purposeful actions towards obtaining it. 

If you need help defining your goals, BetterUp is there for you. Our expert coaches can help you build your self-confidence while striving to be your best self.

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Published January 13, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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