Category Archives: Self Care

5 Guaranteed Ways To Boost Self Confidence

Imagine sitting in a job interview with a hiring manager staring at you. She’s just asked you a difficult question. Feeling confident?

Some people are self-assured by nature. The rest of us have to work at it. Fortunately, confidence is something we can build.

Here are some suggestions for ways to do just that.

1. Visualize success

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. In your mind’s eye, see yourself, the hiring manager, and her office in detail. What are you wearing? What’s on her desk?

Now imagine that you’re completely prepared for that difficult question she just asked.

Picture yourself sitting up straight and feeling relaxed. You have a slight smile. You know this topic well and enjoy talking about it.

You’re speaking with assurance and enthusiasm.

And you see her looking impressed.

2. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep

We all know we’re supposed to exercise, right? But why is it especially helpful for building self-confidence?

One, it lowers stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also makes endorphins that naturally create an upbeat mood.

Two, keeping up an exercise program is hard for most people. When we do so, it makes us feel proud.

And three, we usually look better when we exercise.

3. Give attention to your appearance

Just as your environment reflects your sense of calm or chaos, how you present your appearance reflects your self-esteem.

People treat you differently when you look put-together. Even more important, you can change how you view yourself when you spruce up a little.

Something as simple as ironing your shirt or getting a good haircut boosts confidence.

The clothes we put on can have a big impact on how self-assured we feel. Dress the part of someone who takes themselves seriously and is attentive to details.

It may well make you more aware of all that you have to offer.

4. Pay attention to other people

Low self-confidence mushrooms when we’re focused on our selves and our worries. But helping other people and thinking about their happiness makes us feel better.

Something as little as paying someone a compliment will lift your spirits as well as theirs.

Learn some jokes to tell. This will get you smiling more without plastering an artificial grin on your face. Humor helps us relax and creates a good feeling between people.

This is also a good time to think about volunteering. It makes you feel good and gets you around friendly people. You’ll get the chance to use your abilities to make someone else’s day better.

5. De-clutter your home or office

Your environment can say a lot about what’s going on inside you. What does your desk, dresser or bathroom counter top show about how settled you feel?

You can impact your mood and sense of control by bringing order to your surroundings. Take even 15 minutes to straighten your work or living space.

When you finish, enjoy this newly organized area for a little while. You’ll feel a sense of greater ease and accomplishment.


There is so much in life that we cannot control: the economy, what others do, world events. But you always have control over your level of self-confidence.

Try out these ideas and watch your optimism grow. You’ll be happy to see how much your choices can change your life.


The Right Environments

Imagine you learn of a wonderful job. You want to go after it.

But it happens to be in a windowless office. And you’re someone who needs natural light like you need air and water.

Or the job requires travel. You know you wouldn’t function well with this, but you try to talk yourself into pursuing the job anyway.

Not gonna work.

You may not think to consider your working environment as you plan your career. This involves not just your physical environment but the people and cultural environments of an organization as well.

Think now about what kind of environment you need to be happiest in your work. Here are some questions for you to think and write about:

Environmental Factors

  • Would you be happiest working outdoors? Indoors? How much natural light do you need?
  • Would you like to work from home?
  • Do you want to work in one building or get out and about?
  • Would you like to settle in at a desk or move around a lot?

People Factors

  • Would working with a lot of people make you happy, or with a few? Do you want to work alone?
  • Do you want to constantly be interacting with new people or mostly work around people you know?
  • Do you want to work with children? Teens? Adults? Seniors?
  • Would you work best independently or as part of a team?

Organizational Culture Factors

  • Would you like to work for a non-profit? For a business? For yourself?
  • Do you want your co-workers to be an important part of your social life?
  • Would you work best for an organization that places a high value on family and personal commitments?
  • Would you thrive in a high-stakes environment that requires a deep commitment of your time and energy?

As you work with these questions, pay attention to your non-negotiables. Your answers may lead you to consider new possibilities or take some ideas off your list.

Just be true to yourself.

How To Cope With a Miserable Job

Stuck in a really boring job
Boredom, a photo by Teeejayy on Flickr.

First off, I’d like to congratulate you.

It takes a lot of strength to keep going each day to a job you hate. You could have run screaming from your cubicle ages ago. You could have just melted into a pool of boredom in the staff lounge.

But you’re sticking it out.

And more importantly, you’re involved in a process of figuring out what kind of work you really want to be doing and how to get to there from here.

In the meantime, you have this boring or toxic or stressful job to contend with until you can find or create something better. Here are some ideas to help you cope:

See the job as your teacher. Any difficult situation holds the opportunity for emotional growth. It’s very possible that your job is providing the exact conditions necessary for you to change in ways that will enhance every part of your life.

Do you need to learn greater understanding or assertiveness with difficult people? Do you need to develop patience? The ability to hold onto your dream when you’re feeling discouraged?

Ask yourself right now what you might have to learn.

Enjoy whatever you can about your job. What good exists there? The people? The schedule? Opportunities to develop new skills?

Unless you’re in a dangerous or highly unethical environment you can find something good about your job. Focus on this.

Appreciate the job you have and think often about the parts you like, especially if there aren’t many. You may miss these things in a better job that you’ll have down the road.

And oh – if you are in a hazardous environment physically, emotionally or legally, get out immediately.

Be around people. You need others now more than ever. It’s easy to avoid people when you’re down, or complain to the point that your friends wish you would isolate yourself.

Have lunch with someone every day. (And you must take a lunch break.)

Look around for a job-hunters’ or career development support group.

Take walks during your breaks (you must take breaks) and ask a co-worker to come with you.

Don’t give up! This job is temporary.

Even in this difficult economy, you aren’t condemned to a dead-end job.

You’re in the process of creating a great career, and nothing can throw you off this path. Celebrate your courage, your smarts, and your conviction that you can have more.

Your Career and Your Relationship With Money

Spending Money by 401(K) 2012
Spending Money, a photo by 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.

The beliefs and feelings we hold about work are intertwined with our attitudes about money. What a complicated soup! Many of us feel that making a lot of money is more important than practically anything else, certainly more important than something as abstract as “happiness.” Others stay in a job earning far below their potential and maintain a vague sense that they don’t deserve wealth or that money is somehow a bad thing.

Where do these attitudes come from and why do they have such a hold on us? Generally we form our beliefs when we’re children. We soak up messages from the adults around us, especially the unspoken ones. Before starting kindergarten, children already have a strong sense about money, richer people, poorer people.

Even if we change our opinions about money in adulthood, strong feelings that get instilled in childhood are deeply rooted. And few things touch on our feelings as powerfully as money. This is especially true in American culture, where money holds a central place and we evaluate each other by how much of it we have.

What beliefs did you develop about money at a young age, and how do they affect your current career position? You can get insight about this by thinking and writing about a few questions:

  • What did your father believe about money? Your mother?
  • How about your aunts, uncles and grandparents?
  • The kids at school — who was well off, who wasn’t, and how did you feel about each?
  • Was your community middle class? Affluent? Poor? A mixture?

In the coming weeks we’ll be looking at the story of a woman named Cheryl, whose early lessons about money had everything to do with her career. Cheryl’s family members were outspoken about money and wealth, and their actions spoke even more loudly. And they certainly had their opinions about work.

We’ll join Cheryl just after she is laid off from a career that has been draining her energy. She’ll move from there kicking and screaming to an exploration of what she really wants to do with her life and a new sense of freedom.

A Manifesto

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Good Strong Self Esteem

Flower & pot by Vijay Sonar
Flower & pot, a photo by Vijay Sonar on Flickr.

Most of us grapple with self esteem to some degree. During a career search process, your self esteem may take more of a beating, especially if you’re looking for work because you were downsized or laid off.

If your self-esteem is low, how do you get more? How can you feel good about yourself when you don’t feel good about yourself?

Self esteem comes naturally and without effort as you develop the ability to see yourself clearly. At your core, you are wise, powerful, and in possession of many talents. At your core, you know you’re ok. More than ok. This is still true even if it doesn’t feel true. Bringing this to mind builds your self esteem.

If you don’t feel very wise, powerful or talented at the moment, think about all the amazing things your body and mind know how to do. Something within you knows how to heal up a cut on your hand. You knew how to crawl and learn language when you were a baby. You keep your body going by breathing, digesting your food, and growing your toenails without even thinking about it. That very brain of yours that can drive you crazy worrying about your work situation also brings you pleasure by processing information and instructions at the speed of light. How could you do anything except admire this person?

Your body, mind and spirit are very capable of figuring out a career path for you that will let you love your work, pay your bills and bring you meaning. Trust yourself. Trust your wisdom. Trust your creativity.

If you want to do something concrete to build your self esteem, get out your paper and pen (or get on your keyboard). Here are a few things you can write about that are guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself. If these ideas seem trite to you, too bad! Do this exercise anyway!

  1. Make a list of at least ten things you’re grateful for. Ideally, fill up the page with these things.
  2. Fill up a page writing about the amazing things your body and brain automatically do without your trying.
  3. Write about some kind and generous things you’ve done.
  4. List at least 20 things you’re good at doing.
  5. Write out what your family and friends would say if asked what your best qualities are.

Please share with us in the “Comments” section about what effects these writing exercises have on your self esteem!