You know what confidence is when you see it, but the question is how do you become confident? More importantly, not only confident in yourself, but in all aspects of your life. To put it simply, confidence is a combination of self-efficacy and optimism. Self-efficacy can be defined as a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific ‘situations or accomplishing a task’. This can ultimately shape how you carry out your responsibilities, goals and challenges. Self-efficacy can be broken down to the following factors of knowledge and skills: Mastery – sustained effort and deliberate practice to achieve goals Peer role models – looking for someone who is ahead of you, but not someone who doesn’t remember what it’s like to be in your position Encouragement and support – look for those who can assist you to move forward Body and mind – the physical and mental factors that contribute to the task or goal Everyone will have a preference in regards to the above. It’s important to balance your key strengths and redistribute your efforts to the necessary factors your goals are dependent on. Optimism can be used as a way to interpret or approach challenges. Pessimists usually see things in a permanent manner where every situation is a ‘be all or end all’, ultimately reflecting their failures in themselves. It is crucial to take an optimistic approach to your setbacks. Remember stumbling blocks are: Temporary Specific to a situation a Internal and external factors are involved An example of this can be: “That project wasn’t the best, but I have identified the issues and what to keep in mind for next time. I need to make sure to communicate more with my colleagues and stakeholders to ensure details are accurate and no changes have been made by our providers.” Anxiety The kryptonite of confidence is anxiety. It takes away our power to move forward and blindsides us from the bigger picture. When an error is made, the following well-known symptoms occur: heavy breathing, sweating, shaky hands, and bright red flushes. Stop. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. To assist in coping with anxiety and overcoming setbacks: Acknowledge your worries – identify specific concerns Allow time for the anxiety to pass Self-compassion – do something you truly enjoy Seek support – this may be from friends or professionals The bigger picture At times, goals seem impossible to achieve. You know where you want to go, but don’t know how to get there. You need to see tasks as a series of small achievements, which contribute to you achieving your goal. An example of this can be illustrated by utilising the ‘mastery’ element as mentioned above. If you want to learn a language or compete in a sport, you must practice and dedicate time to develop the skill and in turn improve your ‘body and mind’. Collective confidence For you to achieve genuine confidence, you need to acknowledge that failure is necessary to learn, improve and be the best you can be. It is the only way you can truly trust yourself and others to work towards your goals. The misconception that confidence is determined by the individual needs to be put aside. It is a collective effort. Do what you can to bring yourself and others up, but appreciate the external factors you cannot control. Be authentic; when in doubt, check if your actions are aligned with your purpose. Confidence in your relationships, work and yourself will enable you to ‘live a more meaningful life’.