Further to my previous post about the 2010 CRA-W Grad Cohort, here is a summary of an excellent session on building self confidence led by Prof. Mary Jane Irwin.
Prof. Irwin states that self confidence can be learned and built on. She offers 10 tips on how to do this:
1) Admit the problem
- Take stock
- Realise that noone is perfect
- Have faith in yourself
2) Find support
- Find someone "safe"
This preferably should be some person who you can talk to freely and who will not judge you in the future based on some momentary lapses of confidence
- Surround yourself with nurturing friends
If these friends are outside the tech. area, then it's even better. This allows you to maintain the right perspective on your problems.
- Be sure to be there to support others
3) Establish reachable goals
- Make a list of things that will get you moving
- Identify the first small step needed to accomplish each item and have a plan for making that first step
4) RECOGNISE your successes
5) Take a break
- Exercise regularly, have a nice meal, go shopping, pamper yourself - make time to refresh yourself and reflect
6) Beware of the "triple low"
- Be prepared to recognise the times when you're faced with a triple whammy i.e. challenges coming from multiple areas of life. Don't let yourself get too down.
7) Fake it till you make it
Fake self confidence by:
- Speaking slowly and clearly
- Standing tall, making eye contact
- Accepting greetings and compliments gracefully
By performing confident actions, you will feel more positive and confident internally.
8) Be extra prepared
- Study hard
- Prepare slides for that important meeting
Go above and beyond the requirements of the task - preparation will help your confidence.
9) Take a risk a day
Don't be afraid to push yourself. Pushing your boundaries will make you better prepared for and more receptive to the surprises thrown your way.
10) Stick to your principles
- Live the Golden Rule
- Live your passion
- Pay it forward
Remember to beware the Imposter Syndrome, where you convince yourself that you do not deserve something.
For some self-assessment tools on building confidence, you can visit http://mindtools.com/selfconf.html
I would love to hear feedback on which of these strategies you have used and how, as well as any other tips that have worked for you.