I’m curious about what it really means to build self-belief. All of us are flawed – we know that – but I think we also have a flawed view of what it means to believe in ourselves.
Genuine self-belief looks different from what most people imagine. It’s quiet and unassuming and has nothing to do with ego or status or any outward measures of success. It’s not about needing to win or to dominate others. It is about having a deep sense of self-awareness about who you are and accepting yourself for all of the aspects of you.
Once you have that level of self-acceptance, it’s then about living authentically and importantly, feeling at peace with the choices you make in your life, even when they’re different to others or less mainstream.
Self-belief is a paradox in many ways
Self-assured people are grounded and humble and they accept that life will bring some differences of opinion. They stay calm in the face of conflict, they’re willing to stand up for what they believe in and they don’t take differences of opinion personally. They’re curious about another person’s perspective and comfortable to disagree, but they’re also able to be vulnerable and to admit to some uncertainty.
In your career, self-belief is about going after the role you want, not because a bigger paycheque will make you feel more valued, but because you’re choosing a role that will play to your strengths. Believing in yourself means being willing to shine in that role but to equally play an active part in helping others shine too.
As much as it’s acknowledging your strengths, self-belief means accepting that you have weaknesses too. It’s not about feeling embarrassed or ashamed by what you can’t do, but rather acknowledging that each of us was put on this earth with a unique set of gifts and our great challenge in a workplace is to build teams where we all get to do what we love.
Build self-belief by taking care of yourself
Self-belief is about valuing yourself enough to prioritise self-care and to cultivate the practice of self-compassion. It means making time to rest; learning to say no sometimes and feeling comfortable to have healthy boundaries.
If you find yourself wrestling with perfectionism or with an overly active inner-critic, try changing your self-talk so you’re more supportive of yourself.
Self-belief is not about comparing
Importantly, being self-assured is not about comparing yourself to others or judging people for the choices they make, particularly when they differ from yours. There’s no sense of superiority in real self-belief – you want everyone to share in good fortune and you’re not caught up in your ego.
When you believe in yourself, you’re generous with praise and you can accept a compliment graciously. You’re open to negative feedback and not defensive, you’re comfortable to apologise when you make a mistake and you’re also courageous enough to move away from relationships that no longer support you.
Five simple steps to build self-belief
Get to know yourself well
Identify your strengths, accept your weaknesses and be clear about what you stand for.
Don’t take things personally
If people disagree with you, be curious about why rather than being prickly.
Stop comparing yourself
As Brené Brown says, “stay in your own lane”. Forget about what other people are doing. Stay focused on the things that matter to you.
Take care of yourself
Make the time to look after your wellbeing and make the most of your appearance, regardless of whether you’re at your ideal weight or fitness level.
Move away from relationships that deplete or drain you
Remember that it’s ok to set boundaries about how you want to be treated and equally, make an effort to connect with people who inspire you.