Start the New Year with Confidence
Start the New Year with Confidence

How you feel about yourself colors your dealings with the world. Confidence gives you the courage to set high expectations, to risk, to grow, to achieve desired personal and professional goals.

Those who lack confidence take jobs that are too easy or lovers who won't ask for too much. They're losing out on work opportunities, fun, and growth.

How confident are you?
Answer "yes" or "no."

  1. When I do a job, I do it well.
  2. I worry about what others think of me.
  3. I feel good about myself.
  4. I'm as or more successful as most of my graduating class.
  5. I rarely think positively about myself.
  6. I welcome constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth.
  7. I have a contribution to make to my employer and community.
  8. I'm nervous around important people that I want to like me.
  9. I can accomplish almost anything I desire if I work hard.
  10. I'm secure in my interpersonal relationships.
  11. I get nervous when called upon to speak to a group of people.
  12. I'm not afraid of taking a stand even though it may be unpopular.

Scoring: One point for each yes to items 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12; and one point for each no to items 2, 5, 8, and 11. Add your points.

The highest possible score is 12. A score of 9 or higher suggests you like and respect yourself. You're content with life, work, and accept your positive and negative qualities. You're enthusiastic, and may be attaining desired career and life goals.

5 to 8 suggests you're confident in some areas and vulnerable in others. Or, your mood, when you completed this quiz, was down. You may also be a perfectionist who sets high standards resulting in inadequate feelings.

4 or lower indicates you have low self confidence. You're not having much fun and may dislike your job. Your level of confidence is probably the result of negative experiences. You can change this.

Liking yourself and doing things to please yourself doesn't mean you're selfish or egotistical. It does mean, however, that you can be a better employee, parent, colleague or partner than someone who lacks confidence.

Building Confidence
- Know and accept yourself. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Prepare a list of positive achievements and personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.

Don't change to please others. Don't compare yourself to or compete with others.

Affirm yourself. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Say, "I can accomplish this easily and effortlessly." "I'm confident, intelligent, caring and attractive" (or whatever you want to be). Speak up. Share your thoughts, opinions and preferences.

Set goals, make plans, then take needed steps to attain desired goals. Realize that you may have setbacks which may require re-evaluating and adjusting goals to get to where you want to go. Visualize your goals. Imagine yourself going through a happy, productive work day with competence and confidence.

Preparation and focus are key to goal attainment. Look ahead and attend to given challenges. Persevere.

- Reward yourself. Each morning think of something positive to do for yourself. Every time you pull through a challenging or negative experience, give yourself a treat.

- Enjoy success. Measure yourself by what you have accomplished, what you are accomplishing, and what you want to achieve. Keep a daily, weekly, or monthly record of your accomplishments and build on these. Each day do something a little better than yesterday. The exhilaration of achievement will make you feel good.

- Maintain perspective. Time and distance can make mountains seem like molehills. Don't let what happened yesterday affect what will happen tomorrow. Face each challenge with an open mind. Depersonalize failure. Look upon failure as one step toward growth. Next time you'll succeed.

- Develop strong, supportive relationships. Evaluate your relationships. Are they supporting or sabotaging you? Sever ties with non supportive people and develop relationships with those that give support, constructive feedback and offer learning or other positive experiences.

- Use your power. You are an intelligent person who has succeeded in the past and will succeed again and again. Exercise your confidence, nurture it, delight in it. You can make anything happen!

- Accept responsibility for your life, decisions, and behaviors. Although you may not always have control over what happens in your life, you do have control over how you respond to situations.

Act despite fears. This demonstrates courage. We all have fears—fear of failure, fear of not measuring up, fear of appearing stupid. It’s part of the human condition. But don't let fear keep you from living fully, from claiming your power.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every challenging experience faced. Step out of your comfort zone and give your best shot to a new, challenging experience, despite anxieties or fears.

- Be tolerant. We tend to lose patience with friends, co-workers, family, and even strangers at times. That’s human nature. But confident people are usually willing to lend support, give constructive feedback, or sometimes just give another person a hand up.

- Give praise and recognition. Don’t take all the credit. Willingly share it. Recognise and appreciate those behind the scenes that did their job to attain specified goals.

- Be proud of a job well done, and graciously accept praise and recognition. Learn to accept compliments. Say, "Thank you," to those who praise your work or appearance.

- Stand up for your beliefs even though they may be unpopular. Confident people place their beliefs above their need to be popular. Be willing to compromise to attain goals, but do not compromise your values.

Questers, described in the award-winning Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, offer other additional tips to strengthen confidence.

Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within You!  Dr. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.