Editor's Note: This post is part of a series produced by HuffPost's Girls In STEM Mentorship Program. Join the community as we discuss issues affecting women in science, technology, engineering and math.
"When I was young, I thought confidence could be earned with perfection. Now I know that you don't earn it; you claim it. And you do that by loving the wacky, endlessly optimistic, enthusiastically uninhibited free spirit that is the essence of style, the quintessence of heart, and uniquely YOU." - Cecelie Berry
Some women may have been born with a naturally high level of confidence. I'm not one of them. While I've always had self-respect and known my value to an extent, over the years it has taken practice to learn exactly who I am and what I have to offer the world around me.
Here are some of my top ways to boost confidence and realize just how awesome you (yes, you!) are.
1. Make a vision board.
If you're anything like me, sometimes being able to visualize something helps it become more of a reality and something to aspire towards. Our minds can often become cluttered with a million different things - everything from our career to our relationships to what to eat for dinner. That's why separately creating a vision board for inspiration is a great thing for every woman to do. You can make a tangible vision board and hang it in your room, or you can make it even simpler and utilize a resource like Pinterest. The key is to narrow down what it is that inspires you, what you want your future to look like, and how you see yourself. It's once you realize these things about who you are that you can turn inwardly and grab your confidence from within.
2. Spend time with people who know and believe in you.
I don't know about you, but the times my confidence gets to an all-time low is when I get into my own head and engage in negative self-talk. I can be my own worst enemy. On the other hand, talking to the people who know me and care about me the most can help me to see myself and certain situations for what they truly are. A lot of times our closest friends and family know us better than we even know ourselves! Not to mention they're usually more than willing to listen and help us. So don't be too proud to seek out those people and have them encourage you, help you remember who you are, and remind you of the amazing things you have to offer.
3. Have "me time."
Confession: I'm a people-pleaser by nature. Whether it's with co-workers, friends, or family - I see the needs of others as more important than my own because "Oh, I'll just be fine." But you know what? At the end of the day, it's my pride that is telling me that! The truth is that we're all human, and we all need to be a little selfish sometimes. One of the best ways to remember who you are and to be confident in that person is to simply spend time getting to know yourself. Allow yourself to relax. Do things that you enjoy - even simple things like going for a walk, catching up on reading, or pampering yourself with a manicure. Remember that taking time to better yourself is not wasted time. Knowing what your worth and treating yourself as such will help with naturally boosting your confidence in the busyness of everyday life.
4. Verbally remind yourself of who you are.
Okay...this one might seem a little bit weird. But hear me out. In the same way that a vision board helps you visualize your identity, speaking truths over yourself allows you to hear those things. Make sense? This can be as simple as a single phrase you say to yourself every morning. It can be reading your favorite quotes out loud. Taking that moment to encourage yourself and hear the truth about who you are can set you off on the right foot and boost your confidence for the remainder of the (probably long) day ahead.
5. Remember that people are just people.
The times that I'm the most insecure is when I let myself become intimidated by other people and what I view as their level of status/importance. I'm not saying that it's not imperative to respect authority (and anyone you come in contact with, for that matter), but even they still put their pants on one leg at a time. Remembering that we're all human - and we've all been in the same position at one time or another - can help you to become less intimidated and more likely to be an effective communicator, worker, and asset to whatever project or career you're aspiring to.
What tips and tools do you use to boost your confidence?
When is the last time you treated yourself to some "me time?"
Follow Gracie Gordon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alagracie