4 steps to grow your confidence

By Servane Mouazan


Confidence = capacity to overcome obstacles and gain assurance (in a particular area)

“Lack of confidence” is the mantra that drags us down and defines us in times of uncertainty, like the crash from a bad synthetic drug.

Confidence issues pop up when you start-up, when contracts are refused, when you can’t measure your impact in ways that you would have liked. Confidence is shattered when someone else does it better than you, or when your health is breaking you apart.

Confidence questions also touch you when you are growing, when you are in front of investors, when your business expands, or when you no longer know if you are fit for purpose.

Our goal at Ogunte is to work with women so that they recognise themselves as genuine agents of change, exercising power and influence to change people’s worlds for the better.

We’ve found out that confidence is a volatile currency. When it is damaged, we must look deep inside ourselves to assess what is really going on and rebuild it.

One big mistake though is too believe that you are “someone who lacks confidence”.

It’s impossible.

The truth is most of you, your brain, your body is confident about something. What may drag you down is one area (or two) in your life, and that makes you feel… maybe not at your best. But it is not definitive. And it certainly shouldn’t define you.

This is why in our sessions with women in social enterprises, we include exercises that enable you to explore your personal foundations and grow that confidence.

Step One: When You Are in Transition – and in Doubt - Map Your Life Story

Sofia Bustamante once shared with us a “Life CV” she had designed using 5 year increments - annotating it with descriptions of her key challenges and achievements on one hand, and her specific roles, on the other hand.

Completing this exercise for themselves has enabled many of our coachees to map and identify patterns of success and situations that give rise to depression or self-sabotage.

This tool is valid at work and in life too and you can also use it to map and analyse organizational stories.

If you do the Life CV exercise, it is important to step back and acknowledge the:

  • specific obstacles you have faced in your career/life/organisation
  • insights you’ve gained through these obstacles
  • measures you put in place to overcome these obstacles 
  • (implicit) quality standards you have implemented to prevent them reoccurring.

Step Two: Reality Scanning

Once you have travelled into your past, have a look at your present and step back. Take a bird’s eye view – or a fly on the wall’s view! What can you see?

  • What’s going on around you?
  • Which external drivers influence your thinking at the moment?
  • Gather information (perceptions) from people you know, then your team members and your peers (Some coaches do a 360 degrees exercise; as long as they work with you on understanding the results, it can have its benefits)
  • What’s it like when you are feeling confident, when does it happen?
  • When you feel confidence deserts you, in which situations exactly does it happen, can you break that down even more specifically?
  • What does make even a tiny positive difference to your confidence in those difficult situations?

See if patterns emerge.

Step Three: Mapping the Possibilities

When you have learned all you can about the present, it is time to look to the future. Having a 5-year plan doesn’t work for everyone. But just having a sketch on the back of an envelope can help you get your “stuff” together and feel more confident.

One way to project yourself into the future on paper is by using circles to plot different possible scenarios.


Start with a set of 4 future “what if” scenarios; a positive scenario, a negative scenario, a scenario where the context stays the same as now, and a scenario where the context is, well… “weirder”.

An essential key is to play along with the tone of the scenarios in order to let insights about your present choices grow. Don’t try to “fix” a situation that has better or worse outlooks, instead, understand how you behave, and the decisions you make, and what you learn from your character, in these new variable contexts. Where do your strengths come from? What is your support system?

Step Four: Moving on to Action

The process you’ve just been through of raising your awareness is essential - but far from sufficient. The next step is to mobilize yourself and get organized. Then act.

 Ask yourself:

  • What do you need to do to avoid the scenarios you don’t want to see?
  • What behaviour do you need to change to influence the outcome you prefer?
  • What skill do you need to learn to get through this patch? In times of growth, it is maybe delving into corporate finance or honing your business skills. It can also mean, stepping down and passing the baton to someone who is better suited to driving your operations.

Then sketch 3 actionable strategies to “sell” the results of your thinking - to yourself first - but also to the people who matter.

Based on your results, surround yourself with new professionals, friends, peers and organisations to reinforce your confidence and credentials. Beware of picking people from the same old bubble! And add 1 person at a time… it is not a race for volume.

For more support, follow our series on 5 pillars of support to equip social entrepreneurs for tough time. 

You can also contact us for a trial Thinking Booster or team coaching session that could help you shape a plan around confidence building.

You can also use the Beesmap Toolkit to help yourself off line! 

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