There are probably people you know at work who radiate self-confidence and seem to sail through every challenge with an innate sense of purpose and direction. But the truth is, very few of us feel naturally self-assured all the time. Tough transitions, such as getting a new boss, leaving a job, or even just some challenging feedback can knock our confidence. However, research shows that if we learn to value ourselves and establish supportive habits, we can strengthen our self-esteem. Here are five simple Microsteps to help you build your confidence.

Treat yourself as you would treat a friend  

We treat our friends well, offering words of encouragement when they’re feeling down. But often, we’re not as positive and kind when it comes to ourselves. Become your own best supporter and cheerleader. One great way of doing that is to write down and repeat affirmations, like: “I am accomplished and fulfilled” or “I am doing a great job.” You can also say them to yourself in the mirror. At first, it might feel forced. But affirmations can have a positive, cumulative impact. If you keep repeating them, you’ll start to believe them. 

Look back at work you’re proud of accomplishing

A simple way of boosting your confidence is to keep a folder (on your computer or a hard copy that you print out), with projects you’re proud of completing, as well as praise or kudos you’ve received in the past from managers and peers. Glancing at a note from your boss thanking you for a job well done, or an email from a co-worker full of gratitude for support you provided acts as a confidence trigger, reminding you that you are valuable.   

Listen to people when they tell you about your strengths

If you need a confidence boost, connect with colleagues, friends, and mentors you respect and ask them for positive feedback – we often don’t hear these things unless we ask! Sometimes it’s helpful to hear from another person how exactly you contribute to your team. When your colleague tells you how diligent, talented, and considerate you are, take it in. It’s true!  

Step out of your comfort zone

Science shows that taking risks is great for our well-being and confidence. That doesn’t mean jumping out of a plane or climbing Everest (although some people love extreme challenges), it can simply be doing something outside your regular routine. At work, that might mean striking up a conversation with someone you’d like to get to know, or suggesting a new idea in a meeting. 

Celebrate all wins, no matter their size

Write down what you’re proud of completing at the end of each day or week. This might be as simple as connecting with a new co-worker, meeting a deadline, or making progress in your garden after work. And celebrate other people’s wins, too. Sometimes we can allow co-workers’ successes to deflate us and sink our own confidence. But instead, you can choose to be inspired and encouraged by their wins, knowing that there’s room for everyone to succeed.  


  • Elaine Lipworth

    Senior Content Writer at Thrive Global

    Elaine Lipworth is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster who has reported for a variety of BBC shows  and other networks. She has written about film, lifestyle, psychology and health for newspapers and magazines around the globe. Publications she’s contributed to range from The Guardian, The Times and You Magazine, to The Four Seasons Hotel Magazine,  Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar,  Women’s Weekly and Sunday Life (Australia). She has also written regularly for film companies including Fox, Disney and Lionsgate. Recently, Elaine taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University. Born and raised in the UK, Elaine is married with two daughters and lives in Los Angeles.