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Imagine if doubt was something that never occurred to you. What if you were so confident and felt so good about yourself and your abilities that you never entertained thoughts that deterred your focus away from what is most important.

What if I told you that confidence is a skill and it can be trained? Developing self-confidence is completely up to you. Internal confidence is based on beliefs about yourself, your construction of self-concept, and just as it can be eroded, it can also be developed.

How to Develop Self-Confidence

  1. Believe in Yourself

Your belief in yourself determines the depth and projection of your self-confidence. You may feel confident from external factors, but external confidence is temporary, the praise and rewards from achievements are fleeting. You need to develop unwavering faith and self-confidence.  

Before he was drafted, Tom Brady told the Commissioner of the NFL that he would be the best player in the league. Now that’s confidence. Since he’s now deemed as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s safe to say he has made a pretty good name for himself and we can undoubtedly respect him for his determination and faith from the beginning. The key aspects of making a statement like that to the NFL commissioner – let alone to your friends or family – is that it requires considerable courage. Such a statement requires unwavering faith and the utmost confidence in one’s abilities.

Regardless of what others might have said to him, Tom Brady chose to believe in himself, he believed that he would be the best. You control what beliefs are true or not true to you. Just remember, if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.

  1. Affirm Your Successes

The reality is, most people encounter doubt every now and again. Something happens that momentarily erodes your self-confidence. If you’re ever in a particularly rough slump, take the time to write a letter to yourself. The idea of a self-confidence letter comes from Ivan Josephs ted talk called The skill of self-confidence. Write down all your unique talents, gifts, everything you’ve accomplished, moments that you’re proud of. Affirming your talents, accomplishments and successes are beneficial when you’re in a slump, but it also reinforces empowering beliefs about yourself. Every time you read this letter you reinforce how good you feel about yourself. When you reinforce the notion that you are capable and incredible, you believe you are deserving, and you feel confident.

  1. Keep Your Word

One of the most important ways to build confidence is to keep your word. Maintaining impeccability with your word is critical in building confidence. Even if we don’t notice it, when we don’t do what we say we will do, we berate ourselves. When we don’t keep promises – like waking up early to go for that run – we disappoint ourselves, and the more promises we break the less confidence and self-respect we have.

The commitments you keep to yourself play a big role in self-respect and ultimately self-esteem. The quickest method in building self-confidence is by impressing ourselves and we must earn our feelings of self-respect and self-worth by following through on our words. We must earn credibility with ourselves through congruency, which is simply having integrity with our words and our actions.

  1. Celebrate Small Wins

It’s crucial to focus on progress and celebrate small, incremental wins because celebrating small wins builds confidence. Dopamine is a hormone that you get rewarded with every time you achieve a goal. What do you do when you set a big goal? You figure out the small goals to get you to that moonshot. You start from the moonshot and work your way backwards to figure out the how. If you’re only focused on the moonshot, you can get caught up in thoughts of ‘why aren’t I further along’, or ‘I should be there by now’. If you’re solely focused on the big goal, you are barely acknowledging your effort along the way. Stanford professor and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman explains that when you’re constantly in the grind, putting out effort, adrenaline is secreted which causes fatigue in your brain. Dopamine however can facilitate the adrenaline. In order to build confidence along the way and stay resilient in your fight towards achieving the moonshot, he outlines the crucial process of celebrating small wins. In essence, it is the act of rewarding the effort so you can leverage the dopamine response. Every time you accomplish a task or small goal, you receive tiny hits of dopamine. When you make a to-do list and cross off items on that to-do list, you receive a hit of dopamine.  

The act of rewarding effort is key in building confidence because when you’re able to generate enthusiasm towards your progress and what you’ve learned, you positively contribute to your self-worth. If you look at where you are and where you want to be and think –I’m so far away’ – at the very least, recognize that you’ve taken the courage and risk to engage in the goal. Even just recognizing the courage in taking on the challenge makes you feel confident. Instead of berating yourself for how far you are from your moonshot goal, you can recognize what you’ve learned along the way and celebrate the incremental progress you’ve made. Celebrate all the small wins and progress in order to get that feel-good dopamine hit and build confidence. 

  1. Fake it until you Become It

Body language plays a large role in how confident we seem and how confident we feel. There are basic ways to exude confidence in the body which include holding your chin up, maintaining a strong posture, pulling your shoulders down and back with lifting your chest forward. Even more impactful are poses identified by social psychologist Amy Cuddy. Her team of researchers set out to discover whether certain expansive poses initiated a feeling and sense of power in individuals who otherwise felt powerless. What the team discovered was that standing in expansive power poses increased people’s likelihood to take risks and “high-power posers felt significantly more powerful and in charge than did the low-power posers.”1

Not only were subjects who had taken part in the expansive power poses more willing to take risks, they increased their testosterone and decreased cortisol which meant that they felt more assertive with less anxiety.

The practicality of engaging in power poses is immense, some of which can be adopted right before a job interview, a presentation, a crucial conversation, an athletic event or race or even if you’re just feeling meh. Any time you want to feel more confident and powerful, all you need to do is pose like superman or superwoman for two minutes. These expansive power poses enable people to feel self-assured and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. In Amy Cuddy’s empowering ted talk, she encourages you to not fake it until you make it, but instead make it such a practice that you “fake it until you become it. “ 

All you need to exude confidence is to reframe your beliefs, reinforce your abilities, keep your word, celebrate small wins and fake it until you become it. Each time you fall into a slump check the letter to yourself and reinforce your self-belief. Celebrate your progress, your small wins and pick yourself up along the way through expansive power poses. Make the choice to cultivate your confidence even when you feel you’re not able to muster it up and soon enough, you’ll find yourself further along the path to where you desire to be.


1 Cuddy, Amy Joy Casselberry. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Large print edition. New York: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Company, 2015.