How to build more confidence as a woman in STEM

Aug 07, 2022

There are many reasons you may lack confidence at work. I didn’t always feel confident as a woman in STEM. In fact, for years I felt uncomfortable and not good enough. In this article, I share a few ways of how I "got over it" and became more confident in my industry.

>> Don’t believe everything you think. 

Remember that just because you have a thought doesn’t mean that it’s true. Our mind has a habit of playing tricks on us and will always conjure up the worst-case scenario. This is an evolutionary response designed to keep us safe. Think about it. If you've prepared for the worst, any other scenario is likely more advantageous. 

Now this is great if we are actually in a life-or-death situation, but not so useful when we are trying to get our point across in the office so that we can demonstrate our valuable perspective which will likely support our promotion ambitions. Instead, become aware of your limiting thoughts and question them. Ask yourself - is this thought ultimately true, or is my mind simply trying to keep me safe in this situation? Becoming aware of how our mind works and the 🤔

>> Be yourself…but if that doesn't work, pretend to be someone else.

One of my favourite quotes is this; “If you can’t find the confidence, find the courage.” Confidence is a by-product of experience. Simply put, we can’t just turn our confidence on if it’s not there to pull from. Maybe we are in a challenging situation with new clients, or we’ve suddenly been gifted with a lot more responsibility. Or perhaps we don’t have the background or social experience to feel competent in a new situation. I’ve certainly felt this several times in my career so far. Honestly, I didn’t believe I was good enough. So, what do we do in these situations? 

>> Pull on your courage 

There have been many times in your life when you were brave. When you didn’t truly know how you would accomplish something, but you did it anyway. Make a list. Write out all the time that this was true for you. Inside or outside of the work environment. Then, pull on this courage inventory whenever you need a boost of self-esteem. Remembering past instances of our own bravery will enable us to feel a sense of confidence in the moment. 

>> Play a trick on yourself. 

I'm all for being yourself, but sometimes it helps to be someone else first. There may be times when we need to trick our minds into feeling more confident before we can feel that way. 

One of the tools you can use to do this is to create a confidence persona. Almost like a stage persona. It can feel like an odd concept at first, but it works! Try it out. Think of how the most confident person in this situation might act. What would they think? How would they walk, talk, and interact with others? And then pretend to be that person. 

By taking on a more confident persona, we trick ourselves into believing that we really are this person. Do this enough times and you don’t have to pretend any more. You’ve built the skills and the belief system you were searching for, and you just ARE that person - or are they now you? 🤔

So, give some of the strategies above a try and remember, building confidence does take time. But a little bit more confidence each day adds up to a wildly confident woman in a very short time! 

For more tips to help you build your confidence and skills as an incredible woman in STEM, download my 100 Free Resources To Empower Women In Tech Here 

BIO: Charlotte, a leading female figure in STEM is a world traveler and an expert in helping companies adopt the latest industrial digital technologies. She earned her Master’s in International Business and has more than a decade of experience working with real-world organisations. Through her keynote presentations and workshops, she now supports organisations in building confident, high-performing female STEM talent.

Before taking on consulting privately, She worked with leading providers of digital transformation services during her time with Microsoft / Accenture. She has worked with many industry-leading companies to leverage technology & create operational efficiencies, drive more revenue, and build the teams required to meet the exact needs of their customer.