How to Build Confidence in Unexpected Ways From 11 Top Life Coaches


It’s easy to feel like you’re falling short — never successful enough or pretty enough or thin enough or rich enough. In fact, whatever the reason, there’s nothing easier than feeling sorry for yourself! These thoughts, however, can often be self-fulfilling prophecies that hold us back. Confident people, as infuriating as it can be to those of us who are timid, often achieve more in life. Luckily, confidence is not just a personality trait, but also a skill that can be learned and honed. The road to building confidence, especially in the age of social media, isn’t an easy one, but you may be surprised at the impact that small tweaks can have.

Here’s a look at the best tips on how to build confidence in unexpected ways from 11 of the country’s leading life coaches.

Make a Glory Board

“On the edge of a new project or chapter we start to think of all the reasons that we’re not qualified, all those times we didn’t get it right in the past and what’s at stake (and the stakes seem high). This is exactly where you need to create a glory board — a résumé of your successes. I nailed this the last time. I won the debate competition. I gave the best wedding toast ever heard. The team raved about my last round of ideas. Anchor into positive proof. Remind yourself on a cellular level that you have pulled stuff off before — and you will again.” Danielle LaPorte, author of White Hot Truth, speaker, poet and invited member of Oprah Winfrey’s inaugural SuperSoul 100

Ask Yourself What You Want…That You Already Have

“Like…the money that’s flowing (even if you want more), the supportive man (even if that supportive man is just the handyman that you pay to fix stuff), the healthy body that never lets you down (even if you want to lose some weight), etc. This way, you take the neediness vibe out of your aspirations and when you’re less desperate you think more clearly and act more calmly. You muster up gratitude (and gratitude is a form of empowerment). You might realize that you’re further along than you’ve been giving yourself credit for.” -Danielle LaPorte

Make Self-Care a Priority 

“When you look good, you feel good. Small things like grooming, following a skin care routine, wearing clothes that are clean and pressed and exercising regularly can make a big impact in how you feel about yourself.” Natasha Silver Bell, life and recovery coach

Do Community Service

“Whether they head up a Capital campaign or help out in the local soup kitchen, volunteers will consistently report that they feel a tremendous sense of self that comes from knowing they are enhancing quality of life for others. There are few experiences that build us up more than serving the people around us.” Marybeth Cale, certified life coach

Spend Time With People You Love

“Just as we all nourish our bodies with healthy fruits and vegetables to stay strong, so, too, must we nourish our souls by enjoying great conversations with people who feed us with positive, healthy energy. Although social media and texting can keep you connected, nothing beats face time with those you love to make you feel alive and confident in who you are. Our dearest friends and family are the ones who remind us how far we have come and how special we are. Make the time for them!” -Marybeth Cale


“Making something from scratch is a great way to tap into creativity and that process can be incredibly empowering. Think about your hobbies; maybe you like to cook, draw or write or maybe you like to create through collaboration and working on new ideas alongside other people is more your style. Whatever your passion, make time to get into the space where creation and inspiration happen.” Harper Spero, business and career transition coach

Stay in Your Lane

“The moment you begin to compare yourself or to compete with someone else is the moment you break your stride and lose your momentum. Everyone has a different race to run and the only person you want to be better than is whoever you were yesterday. Be bold enough to build your confidence by refusing to compare yourself to anyone else.” Stacey Speller, life coach and growth expert

Live in the Moment

“Spending too much time living in the past or worried about the future robs you of the ability to develop your confidence in the moment. Bad experiences and past mistakes cause you to have serious doubts about what comes next. Be bold enough to learn the lessons from your past, live in the moment and then dare to expect better for the future.” -Stacey Speller

Fake It Until You Make It

“Even the people you think are the most confident have insecurities, but their secret is that they know how to put their strengths on display. When you are feeling less than ready for that presentation or meeting or worrying about having a bad hair day for your first date, remember to take a deep breath, hold you head up high and walk with confidence.” Jennifer Gibson, Vida Health head of coaching and nutrition

Start a Regular Exercise Routine

“Even if you don’t physically see the benefits right away, the chemicals released during exercise give you a bump in positivity and will leave you feeling more confident overall. Plus, that post-exercise glow doesn’t hurt, either.” -Jennifer Gibson

Get Your Beauty Rest

“Not only do you look better when you get a good night of sleep, your resiliency to life’s unexpected challenges is much higher. With a healthy dose of sleep, obstacles don’t seem as large and your confidence in overcoming them is greater.” -Jennifer Gibson

Accomplish an Action in Front of Others

“Social reinforcement is critical for building confidence. Your performance on a task in front of others will allow you to see your success for yourself and in the eyes of peers, thus increasing your confidence.” Dr. Joshua Klapow, licensed clinical psychologist, behavioral science and public health expert at Mountain Trek

Watch Yourself Perform on Video

“There is nothing more scary than watching yourself on video, but if you see yourself doing it, you will be very surprised how deeply it validates your ability to accomplish a task.” -Dr. Joshua Klapow

Put Yourself in an Awkward Situation

“Because life is awkward! From asking to play hopscotch with the ‘in’ crowd in elementary school to saying yes to a blind date to really going for it with that outlandish wardrobe choice. You can truly build confidence by flexing your awkward muscle. It’ll remind you that you can survive uncomfortable moments and teach you how to embrace them with humor and skill.” Laurie Wolk, certified life coach

Go At It Alone

“Go eat a meal by yourself in public. Explore the city alone. Hang out with a new group of people. While it might feel super weird at first, you’ll soon realize you can handle most situations without friends as backup. You get to call the shots. Plus, you’ll get that twinge of confidence and pride that you’ve got the innate skills to handle any solo situation.” -Laurie Wolk

Do Stand-Up Comedy

“Even if you don’t think you’re funny. Even if you’re shy. Comedy helps you practice being brave and it lets you be your authentic self. You get to tell your story and give your unique perspective by telling jokes only you could write. While you’re up there in front of people, you’re truly living in the moment and challenging yourself and even if you bomb, it’s great practice for surviving failure. You might turn out to be totally hilarious!” -Laurie Wolk

Ask for What You Want

“Often we miss opportunities for growth because we are afraid to ask for what we really want. Typically people worry too much about what others are going to think. I always tell my clients to keep in mind that if you don’t ask, the answer will always be a definitive NO! Cautious people can overthink the outcome of their potential actions to the point that they find themselves in a state of ‘paralysis.’ Of course, you want to make smart and safe choices, but too often we hesitate to take risks that are simply more ‘fear-based’ than life-threatening. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen? And go for it.” Lynn Burns, health and lifestyle coach

Box It Out

“‘Why did I say that?’ ‘God, I’m fat. Look at those thighs.’ Sound familiar? Sadly, negative self-talk is one of the most destructive things we face every day or even every minute. But don’t let it go unchecked. Instead, take a stand! With your feet planted hip-width apart, hold your fists up in front of your face and do 10 jabs with each arm. As you punch, imagine knocking out that inner critic. Feel your power! Then do another round of 10 on each side, this time adding affirmations. With each jab, yell one out. ‘I am strong!’ ‘I can do it!’ ‘I have power!'” Sonia Satra, mind-body expert

Get Up — Fast

“Often, when we fail, our confidence suffers. That can make it hard to get up after a setback. But getting up, and getting back on track, is exactly what turns that failure into a stepping stone to success. Let’s practice getting up faster, right now. Get into plank position. Now, jump up to standing and reach up. (Yes, this is a burpee.) Do it again. With each jump, envision yourself overcoming a setback. Maybe it’s one you’ve already gone through or one that’s happening now. Doesn’t matter. See yourself getting up after a setback and getting back in the game!” -Sonia Satra

Mountain Secures Space Exercise

“Lack of confidence can manifest as fear, stress, anxiety and simply not wanting to face the challenges of life with an open heart and clear mind. With an unshakable confidence, most of life’s challenges can be dealt with in a fluid and clear manner. What can you do to build confidence? Start with the following exercise one to three times daily. Face southwest. This position works to engage fields that stabilize, strengthen and straighten the body through the affect of gravitational forces. By achieving a strong connection to gravity, nervous charges will calm down and stability will be felt immediately.” -Sifu Matthew, founder of The Martial Arts of Wellness


  1. Create inward pressure on anklebones to get the feeling of one leg instead of two. Feel the lower back relax and the tailbone center.
  2. Lift the rib cage to the sky while directing pelvis downward. Keep ribs high and neck pulled back while relaxing the shoulders.
  3. Focus on holding the air (space) between your arms and legs with a calm smile inside.
  4. Inhale and hold the Earth’s currents in your muscles and bones until you feel wide and stable. Exhale the energy out and feel the body and bones expand.
  5. Expect to feel calm, strong and able to stabilize nervous tension.