Look at yourself. Who do you see? Superhero, muscles bulging, cape flying—ready to conquer the world? No? If you don’t believe you can conquer the world, then there’s no way you ever will.
You might not be superhuman, but you can combat the villain of low self-esteem. How? We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), “What is one way someone can build their self-confidence, personally and professionally?” for answers.
Here are their suggestions for a boost:
Self-confidence is a state of mind that can be achieved through intentional action. Allotting time to nurture your mind, body and spirit (preferably one hour a day) can be done in a variety of ways. I prefer to read, exercise and meditate in the morning. If you’re not taking time for yourself, then you’re allowing someone or something to shape your view of the world.
—Dustin Cucciarre, BryghtAds Inc.
A whole new branch of psychology is dedicated to mindfulness, but it boils down to this: Negative thoughts and insecurities pop up like pimples. And, like pimples, picking at them—even if you mean to discredit and burst that negative bubble—ultimately makes it worse. So, mindfulness practice teaches you to treat thoughts as tools. Use and strengthen the ones you need; discard the ones you don’t.
—Manpreet Singh, TalkLocal
Putting yourself into courses or professional relationships that force you to grow ensures that you’re always expanding, which in turn generates confidence and humility. From therapeutic programs to leadership programs to physical programs, committing to this kind of regular growth and showing up and being fully present are the keys to confidence.
—Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
Many professionals will at some point experience a psychological phenomenon known as imposter syndrome, complete with feelings of inadequacy and a fear that everything accomplished to date has been through sheer luck. To overcome this, learn to internalize accomplishments. Peer groups are a great place to talk it out and build confidence.
—Joel Holland, Video Blocks
No matter what level of business you’re in, it’s important to dress for the client you want, rather than the client you have. There’s this idea of working from home in PJs. The most successful people get up early and dress like they’re off for a day at the office, and it’s reflected in their attitude. When you look good, you feel good and you’re more confident, too.
—Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
Improv classes make you think on your toes in front of an audience. Being on stage helps grow your confidence; being in front of crowds teaches you how to think and react quickly—all things that translate well to a boardroom or public speaking opportunity.
—Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.
I believe that a key component to building self-confidence is in publicly building one’s own brand. This can be done through the creation of high-quality content like blog posts, e-books, podcasts or video content. Even if it doesn’t receive much traction initially, the fact that you have a body of work that you are proud to refer others to can make a big difference in your self-confidence.
—Joshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets, Inc.
Your self-confidence needs to be rooted in who you are completely outside of your success in business. So find ways to get connected with yourself and grow. Perhaps volunteer, do pro-bono work, meditate, work out, read, hang out with friends. Whatever it takes for you to see your value regardless of how well [you’re doing professionally].
—Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
So, look again. Is your cape flying?
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.