February 21, 2024 - 16 min read

Removing Shyness by Building Self Confidence at Work

Building Self Confidence at Work.
Nicolas Moore
Nicolas Moore Growth Mindset Expert

Have you ever wished you could speak up with more conviction in meetings? Or felt the urge to take on a challenging project, but self-doubt held you back? Building self-confidence at work is the key to unlocking your full potential.

Self-confident individuals are often more respected, earn more promotions, and have greater job satisfaction. But what does it really mean to be self-confident at work, and how can you develop it?

What you will learn on this article:

  • How to identify your unique strengths: Learn to pinpoint what makes you valuable in the workplace.
  • The power of positive self-talk: Discover how to reframe your inner dialogue for greater confidence.
  • Steps to build real confidence: Get actionable tips you can start implementing right away.
  • How to handle insecurities: Develop strategies for overcoming self-doubt and staying on track.

"Believe you can and you’re halfway there."

Confidence at workplace Theodore Roosevelt

The Process of Building Self Confidence at Work

Building self-confidence at work isn’t about flipping a switch – it’s a process. Think of it as training for a marathon. You don’t become a runner overnight; it takes time, consistent practice, and a healthy dose of self-belief.

Improve workplace confidence.

Here are the key steps involved in that journey:

Identify and Use your Strenghts

Your natural talents and skills are your biggest assets in building self-confidence. When you operate from a place of strength, you naturally feel more capable. But sometimes, we downplay our own abilities. Here’s how to uncover your strengths:

  • Reflect on Your Successes: Think about projects that went well or tasks you particularly enjoyed. What skills did you use to succeed?
  • Ask for Feedback: Talk to colleagues, mentors, or your manager. Ask them to identify your strengths. Often, others see things in us that we don’t recognize in ourselves.
  • Take a Strengths Assessment: There are several online resources that help you identify your natural talents and areas of expertise.

Once you have a good sense of your strengths, look for opportunities to use them at work. Volunteer for assignments that play to your talents or find ways to incorporate your existing strengths into your everyday tasks.

Example: When I realized I was good at writing, I started volunteering to draft emails and memos for my team. This boosted my confidence and helped me gain recognition.

Importance of Self Confidence at work

Self-confidence isn’t just about feeling good about yourself – it has a significant impact on your career success. Here’s why it matters:

  • Increased Performance: Confident employees are more likely to take initiative, propose creative solutions, and go above and beyond in their roles.
  • Better Communication: Self-confidence translates to clear, assertive communication, allowing you to express your ideas and advocate for yourself effectively.
  • Stronger Relationships: People are naturally drawn to confidence. It fosters trust and makes it easier to build positive working relationships with colleagues and clients.
  • Career Advancement: Employers recognize and reward confident individuals. Self-belief is often a key factor in promotions and opportunities.
  • Resilience: Facing setbacks and challenges is inevitable in any career. Self-confidence helps you bounce back from difficulties and learn from mistakes.

93% of people believe that self-confidence is critical to professional success. (Source: Gitnux)

In short, self-confidence acts as a catalyst for professional growth and overall job satisfaction.

Benefits of Self Confidence

Building strong self-confidence at work unlocks a wide range of benefits that extend beyond your professional life. Here are some of the key ways it can transform your experience:

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: When you believe in yourself, you worry less about what others think or fear making mistakes. This leads to lower stress levels and greater peace of mind.
  • Increased Motivation: Self-confidence fuels the desire to set goals and take action. When you have faith in your abilities, you’re more likely to pursue challenges and achieve success.
  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Confident individuals trust their judgment and are less afraid to make tough decisions. This helps them navigate challenges and move forward with clarity.
  • Greater Happiness: Self-confidence positively impacts your overall well-being. It fosters a sense of accomplishment, leading to a happier and more fulfilling experience both at work and in your personal life.

Remember: Building self-confidence takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth the investment!

15 Ways to Build Self Confidence at Work

Let’s dive into practical strategies you can implement to enhance your self-belief and achieve greater confidence in the workplace:

1. Focus on Your Accomplishments

It’s easy to fixate on what went wrong, but recognizing your successes builds your belief in your skills. Keep a record of your wins, big or small.

This can be as simple as a “wins” note on your phone or a dedicated accomplishments journal. When you’re feeling unsure, refer to this list for a boost of confidence.

2. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Your internal dialogue has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself. Pay attention to your self-talk and challenge those negative thoughts.

Replace “I can’t do this” with “This is challenging, but I’m going to give it my best shot” Use positive affirmations like “I am capable” or “I am learning and growing”.

3. Set Small, Achievable Goals

Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. When you successfully accomplish them, it creates a positive feedback loop that fuels your self-belief.

For example, if giving a presentation is daunting, start by researching your topic thoroughly. Then, practice with a friend. Build up to the full presentation in manageable stages.

4. Embrace Challenges

Seek out opportunities that stretch you slightly beyond your comfort zone. Each time you successfully navigate a challenge, it validates your abilities and builds your confidence for future endeavors.

Volunteer for a stretch assignment, sign up for a new training, or push yourself to network with people you admire.

5. Seek Mentorship

A mentor can provide guidance, support, and objective feedback, which helps you see your strengths and build a positive self-image.

Look for someone whose work you admire or who possesses qualities you want to develop. Be proactive in making the connection and establishing a mentoring relationship.

6. Develop Your Skills

Continuous learning is a crucial part of confidence-building. Invest time and resources in training, workshops, or online courses that enhance your knowledge in your field.

When you feel competent and up-to-date with your skills, you naturally feel more confident.

7. Visualize Success

Before a high-stakes presentation, a crucial meeting, or a challenging project, use visualization to see yourself succeeding. Imagine yourself speaking confidently, articulating your points clearly, and feeling calm and prepared.

Visualization primes your mind for a positive outcome.

8. Celebrate the Successes of Others

A competitive mindset focused on outshining others breeds insecurity. Shift your focus by genuinely celebrating the achievements of your colleagues.

Recognizing their wins helps create a positive environment and promotes a growth mindset for you and your team.

Workplace self-assurance.

9. Take Care of Yourself

Physical and mental well-being are intertwined. Prioritizing sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet boosts your energy levels and makes you feel good mentally and physically.

When you feel your best, your confidence naturally follows.

10. Dress for Success

How you present yourself impacts how you feel. Take some time to choose clothes and a grooming style that make you feel professional and put-together.

When you look good, you tend to project a greater sense of confidence.

11. Surround Yourself with Positive People

The people you spend time with have a significant impact on your mindset.

Seek out colleagues who are supportive, encouraging, and inspire you to be your best. Limit your interactions with those who are constantly negative or who undermine your confidence.

12. Fake it ‘til You Make It

Even if you don’t feel completely confident inside, acting with confidence can trick your brain into believing it. Stand up straight, make eye contact, speak in a clear voice, and project a sense of ease.

Over time, this external confidence will start to translate into a genuine inner belief.

13. Focus on Your Contribution

Instead of fixating on how you measure up to others, shift your attention to the value you bring to your team, department, or company.

How does your work make a positive impact? Recognizing your unique contribution fosters a sense of purpose and worth.

14. Learn to Say “No”

It’s easy to overextend yourself in a desire to please or prove your worth, but it can lead to burnout and overwhelm. Learn to respectfully decline tasks when you’re already at capacity or when they don’t align with your priorities.

Saying “no” demonstrates that you value your time and skills.

15. Don’t Give Up

Building confidence is an ongoing process, not a single destination. Be patient with yourself. Celebrate small wins, learn from setbacks, and don’t allow self-doubt to derail you.

With persistence and self-compassion, you’ll cultivate a strong and unshakable sense of self-confidence.

Tips to Overcome Common Obstacles

Even with the best intentions, building self-confidence can have its roadblocks. Common obstacles like self-doubt, fear of failure, and that constant inner critic can chip away at your resolve.

To truly master confidence at work, it’s essential to address these challenges head-on. Let’s delve into ways to identify your insecurities and some effective strategies to overcome them.

Identify Your Insecurities

The first step to overcoming insecurities is to get to know them. What makes you feel self-conscious at work? Here are a few ways to pinpoint your triggers:

  • Pay Attention to Your Inner Critic: Notice your negative self-talk. What are the recurring phrases you use? (“I’m not good enough,” “They’ll find out I’m a fraud,” etc.)
  • Observe Your Reactions: Are there specific situations that make you feel anxious, stressed, or defensive? These might point to areas where you feel less confident.
  • Journaling: Write about moments at work that trigger negative feelings. Reflecting on these experiences can help identify patterns.

79% of women and 62% of men experience a lack of confidence in the workplace. (Source: ResumeLab)

Example: Perhaps every time you need to give a presentation, an anxious voice tells you that you’ll stumble over your words or that people will find your ideas silly.

Boost self-esteem at work and increase professional confidence.

Identifying your insecurities isn’t about self-criticism. It’s about gaining awareness so you can challenge those limiting beliefs.

Tips to Remove Your Insecurities

Once you’ve identified the source of your insecurities, it’s time to start tackling them. Here are some powerful techniques to help you change the script:

  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Don’t let your inner critic run wild. When a negative thought pops up, question its validity. Look for evidence to support a more positive and balanced perspective.
  • Reframe Failures: Instead of viewing setbacks as catastrophes, see them as learning opportunities. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?”
  • Focus on Progress, Not Perfection: Nobody’s perfect. Celebrate your growth and acknowledge small improvements instead of fixating on flaws.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Talk to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be kind and understanding, especially when you make mistakes.
  • Seek Support: Talk to a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist. Sharing your insecurities and getting external support can be extremely helpful.

Deep-seated insecurities may take time and effort to fully overcome. Be patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed.

Case Study: Alex - From Timid Intern to Confident Leader

Alex started his career as a quiet and reserved intern. Public speaking terrified him, he rarely shared his ideas in meetings, and he often doubted his abilities. However, Alex had a deep-seated desire to succeed and make a meaningful impact.

Through a combination of the strategies we’ve discussed, Alex started his journey of self-development. He began by focusing on small wins, celebrating his accomplishments, however minor they seemed. He actively challenged his inner critic, replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Inspired by the positive changes he was seeing, Alex decided to join a Toastmasters club to improve his public speaking, a huge step outside his comfort zone.

The changes were gradual. At first, his hands shook and his voice trembled during his short speeches. But with persistence, he saw steady progress. Alex sought feedback from his mentors and visualized success before each presentation. He learned new skills and practiced relentlessly.

Over time, Alex’s confidence grew. He began volunteering for projects that required visibility and interaction with senior management. His ideas were well-received, and his ability to communicate effectively opened doors to new opportunities. Today, Alex is a respected team leader known for his clear communication and the confidence he has in his abilities.

"With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world."

Improve self confidence at workplace Dalai Lama

Key Takeaways:

  • Building self-confidence is a journey: Transformation takes time and consistent effort.
  • Small wins matter: Celebrate your successes to fuel your motivation.
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone sparks growth: Embrace challenges that stretch your abilities.
  • Support systems are crucial: Don’t be afraid to seek mentorship, coaching, or the support of friends.


Building self-confidence at work is a powerful investment in your career and overall well-being. It doesn’t happen overnight, but by consistently applying the strategies we’ve discussed, you can transform your mindset and achieve incredible things.

Remember, confidence is like a muscle; the more you train it, the stronger it becomes. Focus on your strengths, celebrate your accomplishments, embrace challenges, and always maintain a positive attitude. As you see progress, your belief in yourself will soar.

Next Steps

  • Choose a few strategies to implement: Don’t try to change everything at once. Pick 2-3 strategies from the list and start with those.
  • Track your progress: Keep a journal to note how your confidence changes over time. Celebrate even the smallest wins!
  • Be Patient and Persistent: Building genuine confidence takes time and effort. Don’t give up on yourself – keep going!

If you struggle with deep-seated insecurities that make progress difficult, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor. With the right tools and support, you can develop unwavering confidence and unlock your full potential at work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I lack confidence at work?

There are many reasons why you might feel a lack of confidence at work. Maybe you’re new to a role or company, and the feeling of being the “newbie” is making you doubt yourself.

Perhaps you’ve had negative experiences in the past that have dented your self-esteem. Or maybe you tend to compare yourself to colleagues who seem to have it all figured out, leaving you feeling inadequate.

Whatever the reason, understanding the root cause is the first step toward building more confidence.

How to improve your self-confidence?

Improving self-confidence takes time and effort, but it’s absolutely possible.

Here are a few key things to focus on: Identifying your strengths and celebrating your achievements, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, setting achievable goals and celebrating your wins, seeking out mentors and support networks, and continuously developing your skills.

How do introverts gain confidence?

Introverts often have rich inner worlds and unique strengths, but may struggle with self-promotion in social settings. The key is to play to your strengths.

Prepare well for meetings and presentations so you feel knowledgeable and confident. Seek out opportunities for one-on-one conversations where you can shine.

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone in small ways, it will build your confidence over time. And make sure to recharge with some quiet time when you need it.

Do introverts have low self-esteem?

Introversion and low self-esteem are not the same thing. Introverts simply draw their energy from within, while extroverts gain energy from social interactions.

There are many confident introverts! Anyone can struggle with self-esteem, regardless of personality type. The important thing is to focus on building a positive relationship with yourself.

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