Confidence is not something everyone is born with. Most of us have to work at it. 

One of the fastest ways to grow your confidence is by starting with small changes, and practicing them every day. These essential tasks are valuable for anyone of any age, at any stage of professional or personal life.

Here are 10 ways to become a more confident person, which will help you achieve your goals. 

1. Take stock

Write down or type everything you are good at. Be sure to list any item you can think of, even if it does not apply to your current job. For example, you may make the best chicken soup known to mankind. Write it down.

Do you keep a clean house? Put it on the list. Are you great at memorizing every single song you hear on the radio? Yep, it goes on the list. Read over your list. Never take your skills for granted. Take pride in what you do well, and do not be afraid to share those things with others.

Make the soup, and take it to work. 

2. Learn how to accept praise

It is OK to receive a compliment. No matter how large or how small the compliment is, say thank you.

Do not brush praise off. Accept it, own it, and realize that you are worthy of the compliment. This is tough, especially after years of not accepting. With practice, form a new habit of thankfully, and gracefully, acknowledging your admirers.

3. Read. Read. Then go read some more

Nothing inspires others or instills confidence in oneself more than knowledge. You do not have to know everything about everything, but having a wide base of awareness of the world around you is a boost to your self-worth.

If you feel unsure of yourself in political discussions, brush up on the latest debates. Not sure what a first down is? Read up on football. Read about art, fashion, entertainment, the Middle East. Search blogs, magazines, and more. Learn about the latest music trends. Study up on the latest movie reviews.The ongoing process of learning will make you a well-rounded, more confident person.

4. Try new things

How does trying new things build confidence? It doesn't. The decision to try that new thing and follow through with it does. Challenge yourself to try something new at least once a month. For you extreme confidence builders, make it once a week.

Try a new restaurant. Sign up for an art class. Take up freelance writing. Volunteer at a local food bank.This is truly a life-changing exercise. Even if a particular endeavor doesn't work out, you had the courage and confidence to do it.

5. Get healthy

Living a healthy lifestyle has an everlasting impact on your confidence. This is not about how you look, although yes, that does help your self-esteem. It is about feeling good, making the right choices, and being confident in your life.

Drink more water. Stop eating junk food. Start walking. Join a gym. Restock your pantry and refrigerator with only your favorite healthy fruits and vegetables. You do not have to become a fitness guru to benefit from the confidence-boosting effects of a healthy lifestyle.

6. Surround yourself with support

Is there a life sucker in your world? You know, that one negative friend or family member that brings you down just by being around him or her?

Distance yourself from such a person. Surround yourself with those who make you feel good about yourself. Yes, this is hard. It will be the hardest thing on this list to accomplish.

Don't know people that make you feel good? Find them. (See No. 4.) No matter how much faith you have in yourself, the friend that isn't really your friend will destroy that confidence. Move on from that chapter in your life, and make a new, confident future for yourself.

7. Dance

Seriously, just dance, even if you do not know how. Turn the music up, and let it go. In your living room or in your bedroom, even in the middle of the, gasp, grocery store.

You can take this literally or figuratively. The goal is to be yourself. Always. Do not be afraid to let your personality shine. Be confident in who you are, and let the world around you see that person.

8. Jazz up your wardrobe

Do you have a closet full of T-shirts and jeans? Is everything in your closet the same color of black?

Try a couple of new clothing items to go with what you already have. For those on a budget, this only takes a few good, quality items.

A new sport coat, a brightly colored top that looks good on you, even a new tie or statement necklace will change the way you see yourself.

If you aren't sure what looks good on you, ask a friend or a co-worker to help you out. There is no shame in being fashion backward. Simple changes in your outward appearance not only make you feel better about yourself, but they also change the way others perceive you.

9. Ask for extra work

What?? Yes, request extra work. This will challenge you to do your best. Completing this work will build your confidence in your abilities. Your supervisors will notice your initiative and reward it.

This will also build your courage. Often, extra work exposes you to people in your company you haven't worked with before.

Remember, when praised, accept it gracefully.

10. Appreciate others

As your confidence grows, help others grow their self-esteem. Helping others feel great will have the same effect on you.

If a co-worker turns in a great project, tell him or her and mean it. Do you have a friend that always does kind things for you? Thank the person.

Is your family always there for you? Tell them how much you appreciate their support, and return that support.

Be genuine, be honest, and people will recognize your sincerity.

Published on: Feb 8, 2016