Confidence is absolutely necessary for success and yet sometimes, the slightest insecurity or faux pas can make it disappear almost immediately. Finding and restoring it can be as difficult as trying to grab a greased pig.


Once you lose your confidence, discussing the very subject can increase self-doubt and concern, paralyzing the strongest and most talented people. You don't have to let a slip of confidence take you down the rabbit hole. Here, my Inc. colleagues and I have put together this list of ways to rebuild quickly.

1. Find your center.

When I have made an unforced error, the guilt hits first and my confidence drops. In these moments of weakness I think back to a learned friend who taught me that confidence is truly just the way I consider myself. I remember that my insecurities are simply my brain getting in the way of what I want. By refocusing on my preferred future, I let my desire overpower my insecurities and put that confidence right back where it belongs. Then I take stock of the lessons from the error and move on with strength.

2. Focus on working hard.

The best way for me to regain confidence is to work hard at getting better at whatever it was I didn't do so well. While it sounds simple, true confidence doesn't come from strategies or self-talk or "tricks." Skills and accomplishments breed confidence, so focus on being the best you can be, and confidence always follows. Jeff Haden--Owner's Manual

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3. Your mistakes aren't the end of the world.

Here's a sentence I've repeated to myself many times after many varied screw-ups: "If this is the worst mistake I ever make, I'll be doing all right." Of course, it doesn't work for all mistakes. Many years ago, I married a man who turned out to be a compulsive liar, and violent when he didn't get his way. When I left him, he threatened my family and me. I did recover from that error, but it took a lot of time, effort, and help. Some mistakes are big, but most of the mistakes we wind up kicking ourselves over are pretty minor in the scheme of things; we just need to learn to see them that way. Minda Zetlin --The Laid Back Leader

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4. Return to your wheelhouse.

When I need a confidence boost, I take a step back and return to what I know I do best. For me, this means taking on a simple and quick writing project--say, writing a quick column for, and then maybe another. This allows me to create a series of small wins that I can string together into larger wins. Soon, I get the momentum and confidence boost I need to get my mojo back in full swing. Peter Economy--The Leadership Guy


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5. Make sure your perspective is based in reality.

When I feel especially low, I first allow myself time to chill out and honor my feelings. Then I do my best to take a bird's-eye view of the situation, make sure that my expectations are in line with reality, consider what I may have done differently, and/or let my friends cheer me up. Friends have a great way of pointing out the obvious--you know, the truth that you're not always willing to see because you're too busy wallowing in your misery? Lastly, I take the focus off myself and help someone else. Doing volunteer work or helping someone in need will certainly help you to see another perspective. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist

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6. Focus on small accomplishments.

My confidence level is tied to the progress I make. I have a low-tech habit that boosts my confidence when I hit a wall or start to worry that I am not being effective: I keep physical notebook with my to-dos for the week and relish in both checking an item off my list and marking through it with a highlighter. When I get mired in the daily grind and feel like I am not progressing, I can look back through the pages. This serves as a tangible reminder of the work I have accomplished. While this is a small thing, it is often a tiny change in your perspective that pulls you out of a funk and gives you the boost you need to take on that next challenge. Your confidence is often tied with how you view the impact you are making on the world around you. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

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