How to get your confidence back after a knock back

Have you ever had a confidence knock back?

Have you ever had a confidence knock back? Have you gone in for a handshake only to be met with an awkward high-five and ended up casually styling it out and cringing inside? Or had that uneasy anxiety creep over you in a meeting that everyone is looking at you – but you’re not sure why? Have you ever made a badly thought through comment that was met with silence and had no option but to wait for the socially awkward moment to pass?

Did you feel your confidence take a nosedive? You’re not alone.

I help people to be creative and think differently to get the results they want. A lot of my work involves helping people make change happen, overcoming dips in confidence and brushing off the knock backs and keeping going.

In fact, I’ve helped so many people get through a confidence knock back, that I’d like to share some proven tips on how to manage your confidence.

If you’ve ever been afraid to speak up in a meeting or kept quiet when you knew the answer, or if you’ve let your inner critic jeopardize you by telling you that you’re no good and you’re going to get found out, read on and learn my 7 tips to get over the knock back and shine at work.

7 confidence boosting tips

  1. Shift your mindset

Stop labelling yourself as ‘not confident’ or ‘not good enough’. It might be your view on how you feel, but it probably isn’t how other people see you.

Nothing is going to send you into an unconfident spiral faster than berating yourself for the way other people may or may not see you.

So stop telling yourself that you are not good enough and start telling yourself that you’re an excellent confident person.

  1. Ask yourself ‘Why?’

Why are you having these feeling of low confidence in the first place? Are you comparing yourself to others?

An excellent piece of advice that I heard recently was:

‘Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside – you will always lose.’

Consider the situations where your confidence dips. For example, do you feel awkward at networking events? Why? Because you’re worried about what other people think? Why? Because people don’t understand what you do and lose interest?

Then you can think about how to describe what you do in a way that does spike peoples’ attention.

For example, when I told people I was a fundraiser for a charity, people would back away from me at networking events anxious that I was going to ask them for a donation.

So I changed what I said. I started talking about the impact of my work ‘protecting children from harm’ rather than my job title ‘fundraiser’ which felt much better and opened up conversations rather than closed them down.

Keep asking yourself why to get to the root cause of your anxiety. It might help to talk it through with a trusted friend or colleague. Or join the Lucidity Network to get some help and support. Then you can start to find solutions to shine.

  1. Focus on the other person

We can often get stressed out about what people think about us. Stop thinking about you – focus on them.

Be present. Put your phone away and give them your whole attention. Ask them lots of questions. By doing this you don’t have space to think about what they think of you because you’re too busy thinking about them.

  1. Practice every day

The best way to tackle anything that can feel big and overwhelming is to do something small every day that builds your confidence.

Like eating an elephant – how would you do it? In small chunks. (Well of course, I’m not really suggesting that you should eat an elephant.)

For example, if you feel awkward in social situations, start with small steps to build your confidence; say hello to the person at the bus stop, talk to the barista at the coffee shop, say hello and smile at the person on reception.

Build up every day with small steps and you’ll find you’re confidence for social situations will grow.

  1. Put your inner critic back in its box

That little voice that tells you you’re going to get found out and you should never have got the job, the pay rise or be at a work event where you have to interact with people – call it out!

Find evidence to prove the voice wrong. Tell that voice to shut up, tell it about all the reasons you did get the job, deserve the pay rise and the times when you enjoyed a conversation at a networking event or felt comfortable in a social situation.

  1. Fake it until you make it

An oldie but a goodie and one that’s stuck around for so long because there’s a lot of truth to it!

How you look and behave and how you feel are closely linked. Dress like you mean success. If you turn up to the office or a meeting looking smart (and smart will mean different things in different contexts) you’re perceived differently than if you turn up looking ready for a casual Sunday afternoon.

  1. Notice your body language

A research published on the Harvard Business School Working Paper shows that your body language has an effect on your confidence.[1]

So before you go into the meeting room, stand tall, shoulders back and breathe slowly to get yourself into a confident frame of mind and body.

There’s more practical tips and tools to build your confidence in my ebook ‘How to have confidence at work.

If you have any questions or would like some additional support to manage and boost your confidence, check out Lucidity training and coaching, the Lucidity Network or drop me a line at

[1]^Harvard Business School: The Benefit of Power Posing Before a High-Stakes Social Evaluation

2 thoughts on “How to get your confidence back after a knock back

  1. Lucy, this is excellent advice, though I certainly have not always followed it. I have recently learned some useful perspectives.
    ‘Shift your mindset’ is super important. Seems a vague idea until, as you suggest, we remind to tell ourselves the truth. I really wasn’t sure what the truth was to tell myself – and that itself must have been my inner critic at work.
    ‘Ask yourself why’ is a great tool . 7 levels deep is what Dean Graziosi suggests (Google it). His is to find why you do want something better, but that should would also work for ‘why you have low confidence’ or ‘why you want to change’.

    Yes, the whole process has to be deliberate and being in the right mindset –.’a beautiful state — does enable that to happen.’

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