Getting A Dose Of Vitamin C(onfidence)

Here’s how to bolster your confidence and banish self-doubt, so you can live your best life.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Here’s how to bolster your confidence and banish self-doubt, so you can live your best life.

If you had more faith in yourself, your life would probably be totally different. You might be earning more because you had the guts to ask for that raise. Or going out with your crush because you weren’t afraid he’d say ‘no’ if you asked him out. And since you’re totally cool with stepping out of your comfort zone, you might be running your own business or living in your dream city a thousand miles from home. 

But nobody has limitless self-confidence. The slings and arrows of life, whether in the form of criticism from your boss or rejection by a guy, can hit us hard. On top of this, we have to deal with our inner critic, who’s always quick to tell us we’re not good enough. 

It’s perfectly normal to be less-than-confident in some areas of your life. But if self- doubt and a fear of failure are seriously getting in the way of you living your best life, here are some things you can do to boost your self-confidence.

Set yourself up to win 

People often make the mistake of setting overambitious goals, and when they fail, they get demoralised and their self- esteem takes a huge hit. To prevent this, break down your big goals into smaller, less scary ones. 

So if your aim is to start your own business, you can break it down to “go to a startup networking event” and “draft a list of possible grants you can apply for”. As you achieve these smaller goals, you’ll feel better about yourself, leading to a virtuous cycle that will see you tackling ever-more challenging goals.

Do one thing that scares you every day 

Confidence is not something that’s just miraculously bestowed upon someone. It’s something you have to consistently work at over a period of time. By taking small risks on a regular basis, you’ll notice that every time you do something that scares you, your overall confidence will grow.

This exercise doesn’t have to be connected to any of your big life goals—it could be speaking to a stranger at a party, pitching a crazy idea to your colleague or asking for something you don’t think you’ll get. Slowly but surely, you’ll build the confidence needed to tackle the Big Scary GoalsTM. 


Remind yourself of what you’ve already achieved 

Keep a list of all your achievements, both big and small, to remind yourself of all the awesome stuff you’ve done. Keep this list close by (like on your vanity mirror or the wall by your desk) and add to it as you rack up more wins. When you’re low in confidence, take a look at the list— reflecting on your achievements is a great way to reinforce confidence in your skills and dispel negative self-talk. 

Care for yourself

Self-confidence isn’t just about social health, but physical and emotional health as well. After all, it’s hard to feel good about yourself if you feel lethargic all the time or self-conscious about how you look. So be sure to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise regularly. On top of this, wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself. 

Keep negative people at arm’s length 

There may be some people in your life who are a constant source of criticism and negativity. Whether it’s a colleague or even a friend you’ve known for years, you should consider staying away from those who love pointing out what you’re doing wrong. Even a temporary break from such people can make a huge difference to your self-confidence.


“There are people who decide or are told growing up not to like you… What you have to do is practice pushing through it. You have to practice achieving through other people’s low expectations of you.” 

- Michelle Obama at a Women’s Fund of Central Indiana event, February 2018

“Confidence is 10 percent hard work and 90 percent delusion— just thinking foolishly that you will be able to do what you want to do.” 

-Tina Fey, Vogue Diaries, February 2010

“Confidence and leadership are muscles. You learn to use them or you learn not to. If you’re afraid to speak up at a meeting, every time you force yourself to do it, you get better at it.” 

-Sheryl Sandberg, Forbes, September 2016