As a small business owner, building confidence is integral to overall success. After all, when you are clear on your goals and able to articulate them clearly, others want to jump on board with what you are trying to do. This means that growing in confidence includes the possibility of gaining more qualified employees, more loyal customers, a stronger reputation in the community and the resilience to better bounce back from setbacks.

The following eight tools could have you building confidence at work while growing in self-esteem and a feeling of purpose.

1. Create Vision Boards

It's hard to feel confident when you do not have a clear idea of where you are and where you want to be. Vision boards help to create a visual representation of your dreams so that you can turn them into plans.

Start by printing five to 10 visual representations of things you want to achieve and pinning them to a bulletin board where you will see them daily. Apps like WordSwag and Canva can help you personalize the images and add specifics like dollar amounts, dates, names and more.

When you create your vision board, aim to keep things looking neat. Collages are popular, but a cluttered vision board makes it difficult to focus on what matters most. Instead, keep things clean and simple with only a few carefully chosen images. This way, you can use your vision board to create a daily habit of visualizing your dreams, which could help you in building confidence and self-esteem.

2. Create Celebration Boards

The fun thing about creating a vision board and practicing visualization daily is that you are likely to begin achieving some of your goals and dreams. This is where a celebration board comes into play. Choose another bulletin board to hang next to your vision board so that you can move your pinned images to it as you achieve them. There's nothing like building confidence at work through seeing a tangible, visual representation of everything you have already achieved.

Bring your celebration board one step further by purchasing a photo album to keep on your desk. When your celebration board gets too full to hold the images of everything you have achieved, you can move them to your photo album to make space. When you are having a bad day or doubting your abilities as a small business owner, you can pull out your celebration album and see proof of what you are capable of accomplishing.

3. Building Confidence Through Goal Setting

When you have big goals on a vision board, sometimes it can feel impossible to get where you want to be. This is where goal setting comes into play. You take that big goal and break it down into smaller goals as well as monthly, weekly and daily tasks that will ultimately get you where you are going. Aim to set SMART goals that are:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable 
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time Bound

This means that instead of saying you want to double your annual profits as an abstract, nonspecific goal, you will narrow down what you really want. You might say that you are going to increase profits in each of your four product lines by 25% in the next five years through hiring new product development and marketing specialists. The more specific goal helps with building confidence because it gives you a specific direction to pursue in terms of hiring and determining strategy.

4. Set Daily Priorities

Greg McKeown, the author of "Essentialism", claims that you can only really have one priority at a time. If there are any more than that, your energies become divided, and you are less effective. Take a look at your vision board and determine which one item is your current priority. When you do a brain dump or make a daily to-do list at the start of each day, cross off any items that do not pertain to that one priority. You can delegate or eliminate the items you cross off instead of overcrowding your plate.

When your daily priorities support only what is most important, you achieve the goals on your vision board more rapidly. As your celebration board fills up with these achievements, you are actively building confidence and self-esteem. Focusing on what you do best while encouraging others to focus only on what they do best helps catapult your business to a new level of productivity and success.

5. Utilizing Outside Help

Building confidence and self-esteem as a business leader is intense work, and outside professionals can help you to do it better than you would on your own. Consider seeking a business coach who can help you identify your strengths and growth areas and develop a concrete progress plan through weekly coaching calls.

Therapy can help you overcome personal issues or trauma responses that are standing between where you are and where you want to be. Certain neurofeedback protocols are designed to target specific areas of your brain to increase performance, while HRV biofeedback can help you learn emotional management and physiological coherence skills.

When you have the outside help you need in building confidence and self-esteem, you are likely to find it easier to perform well on the job, relate to colleagues and meet or exceed your projections. This leads to a positive cycle of increasing confidence where you are supported, take action, succeed, celebrate and repeat. The right outside help can get you off the hamster wheel of overworking in order to experience confidence and freedom in the workplace.

6. Attend Conferences and Courses

Building confidence at work is easier when you feel like you are at the top of your game with cutting edge information in your field. Attending industry conferences and taking regular courses can help you gain new information that makes it easier to succeed and achieve your goals, leading to increased confidence.

If you are particularly well read on a certain topic, presenting at a conference can also help with building confidence at work. As others believe in what you have to offer, you might begin to believe in yourself too.

7. Network and Build Relationships

While you are learning all the latest information at the industry conference, remember to network and build relationships. Talk with others who share similar interests, make eye contact, exchange contact information and perhaps plan to join forces on an upcoming project.

You will find that you have reason to refer others to your colleagues and that they might also refer people to you. Feeling respected and squashing the loneliness that often creeps into leadership can do a lot in terms of building confidence.

8. Create a Morning Routine

Hal Elrod is famous for creating a "miracle morning" routine that many swear by in terms of building confidence and achieving goals. Make a commitment to get up early in order to practice good self-care and professional care in practicing his life SAVERS:

  • S – Silence
  • A – Affirmations
  • V – Visualization
  • E – Exercise
  • R – Reading
  • S – Scribing

When you start your day by accomplishing these six things before the work day even begins, you already feel successful, which builds confidence. When you are short on time, you can even simply devote one minute to each of these items and achieve a similar result. Give yourself the gift of prioritizing your confidence, success and well-being through a little bit of early morning self-care.