3 Ways To (Actually) Build Confidence

By: Alexa Carlin

Have you ever walked into a room looking down on your phone?

Did you know that small gesture tells people you aren’t that confident in the current situation?

Whether you realize it or not, confidence not only has a huge effect on the way you perform and feel but it also affects others perception of you, which in return translates to affecting the outcome.

Think about it this way, when you go to the doctor, if the doctor tells you a diagnoses sounding unconfident, would you trust that doctor, continue to be their patient or let them perform any work on you? Probably not.

Same goes for the doctor, if he/she/ze isn’t confident in their own ability to help you, most likely they won’t be able to do a very good job.

When you view confidence as black and white as the example above, it allows you to understand the importance of building confidence and how it will dramatically change your career and personal life.

My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t believe in themselves. I hated when I was in college and my friends would say, “I’m going to apply for this grad program but I probably won’t get it”. I always thought to myself then WHY EVEN WASTE YOUR TIME!

If you don’t believe you will get it then why are you even applying?

It’s time to really get serious about your future and who you want to be in the world. If you have big dreams you want to achieve you have to first believe you CAN achieve them. One of the main ways to gain this belief is understanding how to build confidence in all areas of your life.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s not that easy. It takes work and you’ll have to work on this every single day. But, here’s the good news, confidence is a skill and skills can be learned and the more you practice the skill of confidence, the more confident you will become.

I’ve seen success with this in thousands of people I’ve personally trained, taught and worked with.

Through the past few years of researching this topic of confidence and interviewing successful people from all walks of life from Mark Cuban to Shaquille O’Neal to Rebecca Minkoff, I’ve concluded that there are 3 main pillars that can help anyone build confidence.


First item on the list is achievement. When you achieve something you automatically feel more confident in yourself. Why? Because you just accomplished a goal and that means you are capable of achieving another goal!

The thing I see that stops most people from utilizing achievement to breed confidence is the fear of failure. People wait and wait until they feel “fearless” in order to act on the things they want but the thing is, we may never feel completely fearless. When you feel fear it means you care about what you are doing. The goal you are working towards is meaningful to you which brings on fear and so sometimes the fear is a good thing.

What has helped me since I started my first business at the age of 17 is continuing to tell myself that I fear regret more than failure.

I never want to feel that feeling of regret and so that fear itself pushes me to act on my dreams.

Whether you are a freshman in college or a grad student, you have everything you need right now to act on your dreams and get to that next level in your life and career.


The second thing you need to master in order to build confidence is your mindset. I’ve always been a positive thinker but in order to really build unwavering confidence, you need to go deeper than just thinking positively.

When I was just a few months away from college graduation I had a near-death experience that left me with a 1% chance of living. While this experience taught me a lot, one of the main things it taught me that has helped me throughout my professional journey is to be consciously aware of what I’m choosing to focus on.

When we focus on things out of our control, we not only bring on doubt, anxiety and stress but we also are wasting energy. We are taking away energy we can be using to help us overcome the obstacle or achieve our dreams. You need to really be consciously aware of what you are focusing your thoughts on and only focus on what you do have control over.

You don’t have any control over what a grad school admission officer will do, but you do have control over how much you study for a final. You don’t have any control over why the person you interviewed with thought you weren’t fit for your dream job, but you do have control over applying for similar jobs and practicing your interview skills.

The more you focus on your strengths and what you CAN do now, the more confident you’ll become.


Being surrounded by people who support and believe in you is a sure-fire way to gain confidence.

Think about it like this, if you walk into a party alone you probably feel a little less confident going up to someone to strike up a conversation than if you were with a group of your best friends.

As the Founder of the largest event for female leaders, the Women Empower Expo, I gather thousands of people together to connect and collaborate with one another and really support each other in their pursuit towards their dreams. This community has been a key to my success and through my years of research, I’ve seen how every successful person, whether they’re in a c-suite position, founder of a tech company or a successful blogger, they’ve all had a community who supported them along the way.

I always say, there’s enough room for everyone to find success and when you understand this, you’ll be more likely to find that true community of support. (The best part, you can do that right now, while you are a student!)

While there is always more to learn about how to gain confidence and I go deeper into each section in my keynote speeches, this is a great place to get started right now.

Understand where you feel confident today and see how you can expand that to other areas in your life through the 3 items discussed above.

It’s up to you to create the life you want to live. You have so much potential, now it’s time to gain the confidence to go for it!