I have read many articles about how women are not as confident in the workplace as their male counterparts. Since reading these articles I have noticed that when praised or questioned I react in a more sheepish way than I believe a similarly qualified man would have acted. I do not want to be a statistic so I have come up with a list (because I am a list person) of small steps to help me become a more confident professional in my field.
1. Say "Thank You" when complimented. Don't say "I try", "I had a lot of help", "It's not that great", etc. Someone thought you did something worth praising. Take that small life trophy with pride and put it in your trophy cabinet. Give credit where credit is due, but don't slough off something you worked hard on and that someone else noticed!
I used to be a horrid example of "I try" when complimented. I was also bad when complimented about my appearance. I'd laugh off the praise or negate it. No! Own it and take it in with both arms. Give it a bear hug! Confidence is knowing you are great and accepting it. (But please don't flaunt, that's not confidence, that's arrogance)
2. Have eye contact when in conversation. When in a business or personal conversation with someone, give them eye contact. Look at them, not at your hands or feet. Let them know you think what they have to say is worth listening to. In turn, they will think what you have to say is worth time out of their day as well.
3. Admit when you don't know. "I don't know" is not always the most opportune thing to say, but knowing your limits shows confidence. Say "I don't know, but I can find out" or "I don't know, let's go find out together" have been great ways to show I am a team player and know what I know. Never makeup something. That just makes you look foolish.
4. Have a healthy way to deal with stress. We all deal with stress differently and it manifests itself differently for each of us. Stress can take the most confident human and reduce him to a blubbering mess. To keep a level head and your confidence when stressed have a healthy way to banish it.
While recently on tour I would go run for at least thirty minutes in the morning or after a show to allow myself to decompress and think through things. It really helped. Having just half an hour to myself where I could leave my duties behind and mentally relax helped me keep my head. For some people they meditate, do yoga, take a walk, journal, or draw. Find what works and do it.
5. Allow yourself to have a funk but set a time limit. There will be times when confidence goes out the window because you messed up bad, or you feel like you did. Allow yourself to feel those feelings, but set a limit, 20 minutes, till dinner, till second act, etc. to get all the feels out. After the time limit get on with your day/night and don't go back.
This was very helpful for me. I used to dwell on mistakes I made no matter how little. I now allow myself to feel these feelings for a short amount of time and then I am back to my own cheery self. Feelings are legit. Allow yourself to have them, but do not let them interfere with your job.