Students & YPs

Young Professionals’ Voice: On Building Your Confidence

By Devon Ryan

Embarking on a new endeavor can be daunting. Whether it’s a job or a business, insecurities can stop you from ever starting. Your most important way to combat this fear is confidence. Confidence can help you achieve something that less confident people think is unachievable. Confidence is like your bank account for accomplishing goals-to turn your dreams into a reality. The key is being conscious of your “confidence account” every day. You can’t withdraw from it, unless you conscientiously take the time to build it up.

The good news is that we are all capable of building confidence. Like anything, building confidence requires an intentional effort every day. Once you start building confidence, it has a landslide effect-but it’s not all downhill from there. You have to keep investing in your confidence account.    Life can throw you a curve ball at any time. The economy can come crashing down. You can get laid off. All of these things are out of our control. Fortunately, the more experience you have invested in your confidence account, the easier it is to start building it back up. That’s called being resilient.

Here are some ways to invest in your confidence account:

Self Esteem

You can’t ascend to new heights, until you start to value yourself. Every choice you make is an indication of how you feel about yourself. Are you making choices that add value to your life? To your future? If so, then you probably value yourself.

Valuing yourself requires an effort to do things that make you feel good. Working out and eating healthy are a couple of examples. Keep in mind your network will have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people will give you this boost. Fortunately, deciding who is in your network is in your control.

Once you value yourself, you will value your time more. Once you value your time, you need to”¦


Just Start Something

Let’s assume that you get past the first hump. You just start something “¦

Taking the first step in anything can induce a surge of confidence in you. You should be cautious, though. If you lack the experience, you will appear overconfident. I know”¦ I am actually advising you to tone down your confidence at this point-because it can be detrimental. Instead, start seeking small wins incrementally. Each win will give you a healthy dose of confidence. At this point, you should start to track your”¦


Progress is one of the biggest motivators. Try this experiment. Write down five accomplishments you’ve made within the last five years. How do you feel afterwards?

When you start to notice progress, you can start to get an understanding of your trajectory. Trajectory is a reminder that forward is the only way-and that’s where you are headed-forward.

I have seen too many people just spinning their wheels in one place. We have all been there. Walls, obstacles and roadblocks are natural occurrences in life. When you feel like you are stuck, try the following:

  1. Find a small win every day.
  2. Find a small win every week.
  3. Find a small win every month.

With small wins here and there, you will begin to notice progress-which in turn, will make you more confident. It’s like hacking down a big tree with a chisel, instead of an axe. Eventually, the tree will fall down-and when it does-you will get an even larger boost of confidence.


See a pattern here? You build confidence during the execution of completing your goals. Confidence, time and success are interwoven. Being idle simply won’t cut it. I could write more on this topic, but I’m confident you get the point. And I know you are going make things happen.

Move forward through time with intention, and before you realize it you’ll be more confident.

Devon Ryan is IEEE-USA’s Young Professionals Voice columnist; and the Young Professionals Representative on the IEEE-USA Board of Directors. 

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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