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I remember when I was visiting home after my first year of college and I was having a conversation with my mother, she told me that when I was a child she was really concerned for me because she felt that I would grow up to be shy, passive, and a push over. Well, for all those who know me knows that is the furthest from the truth.

My upbringing was not very stable or safe. There was a lot of volatility, abuse, and uncertainty. I lived that way for 8 years and when I reached high school I had had enough. I contemplated running away from home for years but never had the courage. I would dream of how life would be if my home life was normal, how it would be living in a calm environment, and what life would be like without fearing a beating every day.  Then one day when I was a freshman in high school I did.  I packed two paper bags worth of my things and left the house in the morning as if I was going to school and headed straight to my paternal grandmother’s house. I cried on her shoulder and told her what my life was like. She took me in and I never returned to that abusive house again.

Although I had one act of courage, I did not possess courage and/or confidence at all times. After leaving my grandmother’s house and getting an apartment with my sister, who was a sophomore in high school, I began my journey of developing my confidence. My development took a long time but it happened. It worked on it day by day and I eventually saw the results of my hard work.

Women are not born with self-confidence, they must develop it. The problem is women do not take the time for themselves and they are usually taking care of everyone else and putting their focus on other things and neglecting their own self-development. Why is that? I believe it’s two-fold: (1) a lot of women are nurturers and they nurture everyone except themselves; and (2) women know they need to change but they do not know where to start.

As we look around we can see a lot of “self-confident” women in advertisement, online, in the media and on television. I imagine some of the women are acting, but those who genuinely have self-confidence have developed it. If you were to ask them how they developed their self-confidence, I am sure they would mention at least one of the 6 items listed below.

1. Take responsibility for yourself. This is the first and most important step in developing self-confidence. You, and only you, can make new things happen in your life. If you just sit by and let life go on “as usual” that is what you will get, the usual. You must realize that the path toward self-confidence is one that you will have to travel — no one else can do it for you.

2. Begin to experiment with life. Try something new. Go out to dinner alone. Take a class in an unfamiliar subject area. Teach yourself how to repair something. Testing your abilities at something new and accomplishing it is a great way to increase your confidence. Have you ever thought of becoming a business owner?

3. Develop an action plan and implement it. Start small by selecting only one area for personal development. Determine the action steps you will take to get there. Put these steps on a timeline. Now implement each step according to the plan — no excuses. Every small step you take will be a great boost to your confidence!

4. Stick with it. When you take on a new challenge, stick with it. Self-confidence doesn’t come from each thing you attempt. If it did, one failed effort would bring you back to zero on the confidence scale. True confidence develops from an increasing belief that you can rely on yourself to do something and to follow through, no matter what the result.

5. Act “as if.” If you put off taking-action until you have confidence, you will never have it. There are studies that show that by changing your mindset and your thinking, your feelings can change too. So, if you take-action and begin to think that you are confident then overtime your posture will begin to change and your outward appearance will begin to match your inward thinking, and then your true feeling of confidence will follow.

6. Find a mentor. Do you know someone who is confident and continues to take one new risk after another? Watch how they do this. Build up the nerves to ask them to meet you for coffee. Find out how they do what they do and ask them for advice about your action plan and implementation. Most confident people are happy to help. They remember the courage and effort it’s taken them to get where they are today.

There you have it. You have 6 steps that you can implement to begin to build your confidence. You do not have to do them all at once and just starting with one and working the rest of them one at a time, will start towards the new and more confident you.