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How to grow your confidence at work

Confident woman giving a presentation

My client DR worked for a big media company in the City of London. When she came to me for coaching, she was struggling with low self-esteem that was considerably affecting the way she behaved at work and the way her co-workers and boss interacted with her.

She was feeling as if everybody were taking advantage of her. Her boss was very demanding, asking her to work long hours and even to carry out his (personal) errands without ever saying thank you. Her colleagues often asked for her help and never returned the favour.

She was feeling frustrated, never having the courage to say no, to speak up for herself, to ask for a higher salary or a promotion.

We worked together to identify her skills and talents, to build up her confidence in different situations. She started setting herself a wellbeing goal and worked hard to achieve it. That gave her a big confidence boost and also helped her make new friends outside the working environment. She learned a few tips on how to be more assertive when talking with her co-workers and her boss. Coaching helped her considerably overcome her confidence issues, boost her self-esteem and changing her behaviour, not only at work but also in her private life.

If you are experiencing the same issues as DR, here are a few ideas to start your journey to a more confident self at work.

1. Notice your self-talking

The first step to growing your confidence is to start paying attention to your internal conversation, to the inner-critic that keeps telling you that you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not fun to han g with and so forth.

Try to identify any pattern, any specific situation when your inner-voice is louder and more persuasive. Does it recur in comparable situations? Can you challenge it with positive thoughts?

2. Mind your posture.

Amy Cuddy, an America social psychologist, became widely known for her 2012 Ted Talk ( In her speech, she explained how our body language shapes how we think and feel about ourselves, and thus, how our posture can have an impact on our minds. So, holding your back straight can make yourself actually feel more powerful, whereas slouching (the position we adopt when we feel sad) can contribute to making you feel scared or powerless. Cuddy's research suggests that holding a "power pose" o a "wonder woman pose" for as little as two minutes will raise your testosterone and increase your confidence, while also decreasing your cortisol and improving your ability to handle stress. So, if you’re feeling stressed a few minutes before a presentation, interview, or meeting — take a moment to adjust your posture and stand in a powerful position.

Power pose for confidence

Similarly, yoga is an effective tool to help you increase confidence. Some yoga poses (called "warrior" poses) are proved to have an effect on how we feel about ourselves. Bene Spoelders, in her blog post "Yoga for Confidence: how to bring out our best self" (, describes some easy exercises that you can do at home to improve your balance and your confidence.

3. Let others know your skills (but first, know what they are)

Often parents teach their children not to brag, to be modest, but this attitude does not help in the workplace. So, focus on your skills, your talents, and abilities and let others know what you are good at. Don't hide if a new task or project comes up and you know you'd be the perfect candidate for it: push yourself out of your comfort zone and ask for that job. Read "Feel the fear and do it anyway" by Susan Jeffers to get inspired!

5. Learn how to speak assertively

Identify your needs, your wants, your values and try to express yourself in a positive way, being able to say "no" when you need to. Speak slowly and communicate your thoughts and feelings directly, using a firm voice: avoid a too high voice pitch, it would sound childish. Use the pronoun "I" (I want, I need, etc.). Keep eye contact.

6. Practice mindfulness.

It will help you reduce stress and control anxiety when you have to face a difficult situation.

And, if you are curious and want to know what happened to my client, well, she got a promotion but, after a while, she quitted for a more exciting job in Hong Kong!


What's your experience in boosting your confidence? Do you have a winning strategy? Leave a comment on Facebook, I would like to hear from you!

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