YOU NEED ONLY look at the high fliers in an organisation to realise that achievement and high self-esteem go hand in hand. The go-getters often make it by having the courage to do the difficult things and by not holding back. In contrast, those with limited self-confidence often settle for less and set their sights lower than they should. By seeming unsure, they find it harder to gain the trust and support of the powers that be. But developing faith in oneself can be a challenge. It is one thing to know the importance of being more confident, but quite another to make it happen. In particular, if things have gone terribly wrong, how can you maintain self-esteem and ensure that your sense of assurance doesn't hit rock bottom? The answer lies in changing the way you deal with challenges and adversity. Confident people are certain of their ability to cope, no matter what is going on. Faced with difficulties, they believe they can turn things around and, rather than dwelling on failures, learn the skills and behaviour that lead to success. Of course, such individuals are not immune to the pain of rejection or disappointment, but they know how to get over it without expecting reassurance from others or letting it affect their future performance. The lesson is to develop resilience and not rely on external factors to boost your self-esteem. It is always nice to be praised by the boss, or to win a prestigious industry award. If you always depend on others to boost your morale, you limit your potential and ability to decide your future. Deep-seated confidence comes from two things: knowing you are in control and learning from experience that it is possible to achieve anything you want. But this takes time to develop. So in the short term, you may need some practical tools to boost your confidence, whenever doubt arises. Consider the following: Talk yourself up When you feel uncertain, it could be because you have slipped into a negative mindset and are thinking 'I can't do this', or 'If this goes wrong, I'm doomed'. Take a deep breath, relax and tell yourself to stop these thoughts. Then concentrate on positive statements such as 'I've succeeded before and will succeed now'. Explore your passions The very act of acknowledging passions and natural talents does wonders for one's self-confidence. Start by thinking of something exciting you would like to achieve. One part of your brain may be saying you don't have what it takes, so be firm and list the positive qualities that will help in reaching the stated goal. For example, your ambition might be to write film scripts. At first glance, it may seem impossible, but by focusing on the positives you will realise it requires a passion for the movies, creativity and story-telling ability - all of which you may have in abundance. Remember achievements We tend to underrate our abilities, even though we should not. Think of a particular achievement such as finding your first job or passing a music exam. Then analyse what exactly you did to make that happen. Was it a matter of persistence, specific skills or a method? The talents you used can undoubtedly help in achieving other objectives. Find a personal champion While it is important not to be too concerned about other people's opinions, at times we do need someone to stand beside us and lend support. For this, avoid people who tend to criticise and judge. Instead, spend time with those who will cheer you on and give sound advice. Take action If we lack confidence, even the smallest task can become a real burden. We procrastinate, don't tackle our objectives and end up feeling even worse. To stop such a downward spiral, it is important to start creating small wins. The best way is to pick just one project that must be completed and break it into bite-sized chunks. Make sure each step is achievable and represents progress, however small. Then, just do it. Forget about the long road ahead and focus instead on doing the individual tasks to the best of your ability. By successfully completing each small thing, your confidence will soon grow. Be kind to yourself Whenever you experience a setback or disappointment, make it a rule to look for some positives. That way, it is possible to learn something and know what to do differently next time. Perhaps the presentation did not go as well as expected. Remind yourself, though, that you remained composed, covered all the essential details and still have a follow-up meeting with the client. Maybe next time you just need to do a little more planning and change some of the graphics in the presentation. Live a little When short of confidence, we try to avoid failure by not taking any risks. Unfortunately, this is no recipe for improving our self-esteem or dealing with life's challenges. The only thing is to get involved and test our limits. If necessary, start by taking a course or joining a club that interests you. Sometimes even the smallest task, such as volunteering to take the minutes of a committee meeting, gives a new perspective and shows that you can make things happen. Do something fun Work to live but do not live to work. It is essential to have outside interests to help you get through the toughest challenges at your workplace. So, make time for a hobby or resume an activity you always enjoyed before work took over. Get physical Keep mentally sharp by staying physically fit. It makes sense to include time for exercise in your daily routine and to have a balanced diet. One benefit of sports is that it is also goal-oriented. You might start off by doing one length of the pool but in a month you could be swimming a mile. That is a great way to build self-belief. Article sponsored by Gemini Personnel, the trusted name in personnel Fake it till you make it Are you facing a big challenge and having doubts about how to get the job done? At times such as these, success often depends on showing others you have complete confidence in your abilities. That may mean honing your acting skills and faking it to a certain extent. When things go well as a result, your level of confidence is sure to increase. Dress for success If you look good, you will feel good. So wear a smart suit or trendy outfit with expensive accessories. But don't try too hard - true confidence comes from feeling you can be yourself. Walk tall Self-assured people hold themselves as if each step or breath matters. Hold your head high and keep your back straight. Relax A tense body is a clear sign of doubt or uncertainty. A confident person moves easily with just the right amount of positive energy. Catch the eye Anyone who believes in what he or she is doing has nothing to hide, so be sure to maintain steady eye contact. Command attention A weak or high-pitched voice signals a lack of self-esteem. Win respect by projecting your voice and try to develop a low pitch and the right volume and tone for the occasion. Be certain To sell your ideas effectively, you must communicate assertively. Practise sufficiently, so that you don't mumble or hesitate, and never apologise for making a suggestion.