Sometimes leadership truly feels like a leap of faith. We don’t always know the answers and yet we are expected to produce them. If you are any good as a leader you already know that the path to success is paved by lots of failures. Good leaders take those failures in stride, learn and move on. It’s not always so easy.

Many of my coaching clients can feel a bit lost and lose confidence in times of organizational change or high stress. When everything is going great, it’s easy to feel confident. It’s when things take a more difficult turn that we may lose our confidence. As leaders, our teams and peers rely on us to maintain confidence through the struggle of solving difficult problems.

Certain challenges shake even the most seasoned leaders’ confidence. We’ve all been there! In those tougher times, it’s vital to remember that all we need lies within. Each of us possesses a well of confidence; learn to tap into it.

Here are 5 easy steps to keep your confidence high in the face of challenges, failures and adversity.


A learning mindset is not about achieving; it’s about aspiring to keep getting better. Seeing life as a classroom allows you to say, “This was hard for me this time, maybe I can learn from it to improve next time.” When doubts creep in, apply a learning mindset and your confidence will grow. Work on being curious rather than judgmental. Your goal is not perfection, but rather improvement.


When a situation shakes your confidence, or you harbor negative doubts, these feelings come from a deeper place. Research shows that taking time to understand yourself better welcoming all aspects with compassion improves job AND life satisfaction. Just because your work resulted in a bad outcome does not mean you are a bad leader or team member. Most people are extremely hard on themselves regarding errors or mistakes. Learning where this comes from and noticing it when these thoughts arise will help you maintain confidence and, hopefully, lessen negative beliefs.

Be Mindful


Seattle Seahawks sports psychologist, Michael Gervais, knows that confidence is the key to any successful endeavor. He remarks that confidence comes from one place…what we say to ourselves! When you get stuck in your head with negative thoughts, guide yourself back to a positive mindset. Your mindset creates your performance.


Let go of your attachment to self-esteem, which is often rooted in a comparison to others. Basing self-esteem with a constant comparison to others is impossible to maintain. Rather than focusing on being the best, consider being your best. Improvement rather than perfection is the goal.


How do you treat a friend when they feel bad about themselves? Compare that to how you treat yourself. When you fail, show compassion to yourself, understanding that we all struggle, suffer and take missteps. Be your own best advocate and know that suffering is universal. Be kind to yourself.

Being a leader is so much more than hitting numbers and generating top revenues for your organization. It’s about people. Your confidence will increase when you can tap into the five steps I’ve outlined above even in the roughest of times. Don’t forget to reach out to your leadership peer groups for advice and support or an executive coach to support your journey.