You can search the whole world (a.k.a., the internet) for an easy hack to building confidence—you can adjust your posture, give yourself a pep talk every morning, envision your future full of success. You can follow top influencers and mimic their habits, or take a class. Or you can do something far more straightforward, yet incredibly underrated: Get experience.
Yup, it sounds obvious, but if you want to become the most confident person in the room, you have to actually become the most informed and prepared: “Nothing beats the confidence-building effects of preparation, and of focusing on the minute-by-minute process that lies entirely within your control,” says Joy Tan in a recent article on Medium on this exact strategy.
Just think about that next presentation you have to give at work. Should you just strike a power pose and pray your boss thinks you’re a star? Or, should you also do your research, take the time to practice, and put in your best effort? Maybe it won’t be the most mind-blowingly awesome speech you ever give, but because you’re prepared, it’ll feel far less intimidating.
When you think of it this way, building up your confidence is less about adding hacks to hacks to hacks, but instead just putting in effort where it counts. The next time you find yourself approaching a situation in which you know you’ll need that self-esteem boost, turn your attention to what needs to get done now.
As Tan says, “An approach based on diligent practice is less about projecting confidence, and more about building it. So, when you work toward a long-term goal, taking tiny steps that eventually culminate in a breakthrough, you’re where you need to be, doing what you need to be doing.”
And that, in short, is why all your career role models always sound so self-assured. They didn’t uncover a secret trick—they just know their stuff. And that’s probably the simplest answer there is.