"You are enough.” “You are worth it.” “We can do it.”
These phrases have become well known for most of us. We read them in magazines, in Instagram posts, they are there decorating the walls of many co-working spaces and workout spots. They are constant reminders, most often directed at women, of the importance of self-confidence.
But why do we need to be reminded about this? There’s plenty of documented evidence. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote about this in her bestseller ‘Lean In.” Scholars have carried out various social experiments to explain how confidence matters just as much as competence. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman documented the ‘confidence gap’ between men and women; most recently, research claims there is no such thing as a gap, but that women are actually trying to avoid the backlash effect of them showing self-confidence.
Confidence comes from your overall well-being, acceptance of your body and mind and the belief in your ability, skills and experience. When it’s not there, we hear that internal voice that whispers, “What if I fail? What if I’m criticized for doing this?” I certainly know what it feels like, as I’m sure many other women do too. Lack of confidence can make us take the longer road to reach our goals, it may even stop us from doing certain things. It is real, and it’s the reason why we sometimes must be reminded of our worth.
Time itself is a confidence builder; I know I was more confident when I was 31 years old than when I was 13. But while we wait for time to do its magic, there are things we can do to build our confidence. Here are five things I find relevant on our day-to-day at Edelman:
- Create something from scratch – I will never forget that feeling of seeing for the first time something I helped write published in the media. Apart from being satisfying, seeing a finished project and knowing I did that is a true confidence builder. From developing an interview pitch, to a new business opportunity, to implementing a new work tool at your office, own a project from start to finish and work on it until you accomplish results.
- Take care of yourself – We know this feeling: If you feel good, it reflects on what you do. Take care of your mind, body and soul. Watch your health and take time to do more of what makes you happy.
- Compliment others and yourself – We sometimes take simple things for granted. If your colleague secured a tier-one publication, applaud her. If you like the way another office tackled a common challenge, let them know. If you lead a team, take time to celebrate accomplishments. Do it for others and do it for yourself. Recognition can go a long way.
- Stop judging yourself so hard – Self-doubt not only hunts you — it’s more common than we can imagine. You are not as weak as you think, and other people are not as great as they may seem.
- See feedback as a gift – We are lucky to work at a company that devotes time to feedback and takes it very seriously. Listen, reply and do your homework, learn from your mistakes. Getting up after failing will build confidence in the long run.
It’s true: You are enough and worth it, and yes, we can do it. The next time you see these reminders know they are only there to help. With so many things happening out there, know that confidence is something we must build every day until we don’t need to be reminded.
Marisa Maldonado is vice president, Technology, Mexico City.