Love, Advice

I don’t know how to be more confident in life, and it’s hurting my future

Here’s the truth: it’s easy to keep women down if they don’t know what their true power is.

Hey Laila,

So, my question to you is do you have any advice on how to have more confidence in life? I find that often I get stuck in this “I’m so happy to be here” mindset and not really realizing just how capable I am of things. I know I’m not getting enough out of things like school and just life in general with this mindset but I also find it very hard to get out of.

Any advice?



Hey Livi,

First of all, I’m going to be frank with you: even the people who seem like they have the most confidence in the world have their insecure moments. It’s the way the game works, and unfortunately, they just aren’t willing to share when those times happen.

[bctt tweet=”Confidence, like everything we learn in this world, isn’t something we’re given.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Confidence, like everything we learn in this world, isn’t something we’re given growing up – particularly as people that identify as women, and people that are from otherwise “marginalized” backgrounds. Here’s the truth: it’s easy to keep women down if they don’t know what their true power is – so when you grow up surrounded by microaggressions, awful recommendations and straight-up proclamations around this fact, it’s going to be one hell of a ride building your confidence back up. What you’re feeling, as a result, is something that has to be unlearned, and that takes time. 

And that’s okay.  

I didn’t grow up with much self-confidence. Sure, I knew that once in a while I’d get something right, but I didn’t trust my capabilities and my potential. That meant I put myself in situations where people took advantage of me – and did not care that they had done so. I realized the hard way that I needed to start learning how to be confident and stop being okay with how things were, once a friend screwed me over – and refused to repair the relationship.

[bctt tweet=”I didn’t grow up with much self-confidence.” username=”wearethetempest”]

So here’s what you have to do: sit yourself down in a café or a place you aren’t too familiar with – a place where you can create new memories for yourself, where feelings and memories of the past aren’t a constant reminder. Bring a notebook and pen, get yourself something to drink that’s delicious, and write out what makes you unique. What makes you feel good about yourself? What are you good at? Even if you don’t fully believe it, as you write it out, truth is attached to the words.

Then, set three big goals for yourself for the coming year. These can be anywhere from “get that license” to “apply for the Truman Fellowship” – as long as they’re goals you’ve been working to attain, they’re goals you’re more than allowed to pursue. Under each one, list three reasons why you are definitely going to get them. Allow yourself to be kind to yourself.

[bctt tweet=”What makes you feel good about yourself? What are you good at? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

That’s just the start. Now, every time you feel complacent or you feel like you aren’t worth this or that opportunity, you take out your phone or notebook or whatever you have close by, and you write to yourself why you are better than how you’re feeling. If you don’t like writing, talk to yourself. Over, and over, and over again, until you feel it. It doesn’t hurt if you have some music to pump you up too – I have dozens of playlists depending on the situation.

[bctt tweet=”Bottom line here: it’s going to take time. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Bottom line here: it’s going to take time. These exercises are just a start – but that’s the beauty of it. You might have spent years being told one thing, but I’m going to tell you this: you are worthy of the very best, you are allowed to be confident, and life’s about flourishing – which you’re on track to do.


Kick some ass,



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  • Laila Alawa

    Laila is The Tempest’s founder and CEO. Laila has given a TED Talk, appeared on BBC World News and NPR, and contributes on women’s issues and entrepreneurship to Forbes and The Guardian. She was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and’s inaugural The Cafe 100, and recognized by the White House. Before founding The Tempest, Laila worked at the White House and Congress, and was previously at Princeton University.

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