If you’ve ever had trouble sharing your ideas in a group, or find yourself doubting your abilities, join the club.
We all have qualities, experiences, and knowledge that make us unique, but sometimes it’s easy to feel overlooked if we're less comfortable showcasing what we have to offer. For shy introverts, this can be especially difficult, and it’s often just easier to let the loudest voices be the ones that are heard.
But, the very qualities that can make it challenging for you to express all you have to offer are also qualities that are very valuable. For example, thoughtfulness, working well independently, and self-awareness are qualities that many employers look for in their employees. The trick is to find ways to demonstrate your innate value—to do this, it’s important to build your confidence.
Reframe your thinking
A helpful way to grow confidence is to reframe your thinking from negative to positive. This is easier said than done—and it can be harder in some situations than others, but there are ways to make it easier.
Begin to notice when you’re thinking negative thoughts—maybe it’s in the classroom, at a job interview, or at work. We are our own harshest critic. Take note of these thoughts and how often they enter your mind and write them down. Then, actively promise yourself to not judge your thoughts and actions so harshly—maybe make a game out of not judging your own abilities for a full day or even week.
Then, if these thoughts still enter your mind…
I don’t know enough about this to contribute anything...
Why is everyone smarter than me…
Reframe these thoughts into positive statements:
If I actively listen for now, I bet I’ll think of something valuable to say…
Just because other people are speaking louder or more than me doesn’t mean they are smarter…
This may sound cheesy, but negative thoughts can really inhibit our ability to try new things, contribute in groups, and build confidence in ourselves. Give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work for you, then try something else!
The biggest part about being confident in yourself is allowing yourself to fail—because you probably won’t, and if you do you’ll always learn something from it. So, do things that you’re not totally comfortable with, and over time your confidence in your ability to do those things will naturally increase. The downside of trying something new is way smaller than the possible upside.
Try speaking up in class a few times—because the more you do it, the easier it’ll get and the more you’ll realize that it’s not such a big deal. Another benefit of speaking up more is that it can really help your grades.
If meeting new people isn’t your favourite thing to do, get yourself to talk to one or two new people the next time you’re at a party or out with friends. Small talk isn’t the most fun for some people, but the more you do it, the more natural it will feel—and you just might meet some cool people.
Keep at it
Over time, and with practice, you just might find yourself seeing your own value more naturally. If you’re an introvert, know that you have valuable qualities that will help you succeed in whatever you want to do—but it’ll help if you’re able to show your confidence in those abilities first. People will start to take notice.