Where does self confidence come from? How do we get it? Why don’t I have it? The answer to all of these questions can be answered with one word – you! Self confidence starts with you, your perception of yourself, and what other people think about your actions or behavior. For some of us, a lack of self confidence only affects our high ambitions. You might have always wanted to get up on stage, or to be a professional singer or actor for example. Perhaps your life dream is to travel the world, visit different countries or cities, but you don’t have the self confidence to do it. For others, the problem of self confidence is much closer to home – in the office, business meetings, public speaking events or presentations. Self confidence issues affect most of us at some time, and we can usually find ways of getting around the problem. Avoidance is one tactic we often use – if we can get out of an intimidating situation we’ll make up excuses not to take part. However, there are times when we can’t get out of it, or we really don’t want to. If a lack of self confidence is preventing you from doing trying something new, or from succeeding in your working life, it’s time to do something about it. The starting point in improving your self confidence is understanding what causes the problem. Low self esteem, not believing in yourself or your ability, feeling inadequate compared to your colleagues or friends or maybe some kind of trauma from your childhood are all contributing factors. By examining the reasons for your low self confidence, you’re halfway there! Taking positive action to overcome your fears is the next step to help boost your self confidence. A simple way to do this is by taking on small challenges. You have allowed your brain to associate certain events or actions with fear, so you’ve already pre-empted the outcome of these situations. By taking a small step towards conquering this, you’ll find that the result is most likely not as bad as you think – in fact, you’ll probably be surprised about how good you feel and your self confidence will instantly increase. When you’ve completed your first small challenge, congratulate yourself on achieving your aim. A small reward can often help. You’re already on the right path to improving your self confidence, so you’re ready to take it to the next level. This doesn’t need to be a huge task; you don’t want to undo all the good work. Building up your self confidence takes time, and while you might want to leap ahead, it can be a good idea to take things slowly at first. Steadily increase the risks you’re taking to get your self confidence to where you want to be. Risk taking does not, of course, mean jumping off a bridge, but the perceived risk of something happening as a result of your actions is usually the biggest barrier with self confidence. Self confidence problems are common for most people, and there are excellent resources to learn to deal with these issues, but if you do have severe difficulty facing certain situations you should seek professional help.