Confidence is about believing that you are valuable, worthwhile, and capable and we thought about this in our African contexts in the previous section. This can empower young women to act courageously and face challenges head-on.

While there are some aspects of confidence that young women don’t have any control over, a huge part of developing confidence is the choices they make, the risks they take, and how they respond to challenges and setbacks.

Practical tips on how to build confidence.

One short-term way of building confidence when starting a task is to picture in your head what success in that task will look like. You might also adopt a powerful pose, listen to music with deep bass, and give yourself a pep talk to move you to achieve the success you have pictured in your mind.

Another way of building confidence is to believe that your abilities can improve. Avoid thinking that your talents and abilities in a particular area, for example, singing or a particular sport, are fixed and cannot change. This is called a fixed mindset. Instead, believe that your abilities can improve with practice and hard work. This is called a growth mindset.

There is scientific evidence for this. Practice and study help the connections in your brain become stronger over time.

A final way of building confidence is practising failure. You will fail at some point. 12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling before somebody finally decided to publish the Harry Potter books. Rather than getting upset or angry at failure, try to respond constructively. Look for strategies for success and ask people for their advice on how to succeed. Accept that you will make mistakes and be kind to yourself when you do.

From Failure to Success: A Toolkit

When you try and fail, you should ask yourself the following questions so that you can learn from your mistakes the next time:

  • What went wrong?
  • What stopped me from succeeding?
  • What could I do differently to increase my chances of success?
  • How will I approach this task differently next time?

Reflection Questions: 

  •  Think of three tips you could implement to build your confidence.

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