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Building Self Confidence Mary Lou Soffa University of Virginia.

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1 Building Self Confidence Mary Lou Soffa University of Virginia

2 Somehow I cant believe that there are any heights that cant be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in the four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. Walt Disney

3 How self confident are you ? – Do what you believe to be right, even if criticized for it – Willing to take risks – Admit your mistakes and learn from them – Extol your virtues as often & to as many as possible – Accept compliments graciously. Thanks, I really worked hard on that paper. – Govern your behavior based on what others think – Stay in your comfort zone – Work hard to cover up your mistakes – Wait for others to congratulate you – Dismiss compliments offhandedly. Oh that paper was nothing really, anyone could have done it. High Self Confidence Low Self Confidence

4 Take this online quiz How self confident are you ?

5 Balancing self confidence If you are under-confident, youll avoid taking risks and stretching yourself – you might not even try at all. If you are over-confident, you may take on too much risk, stretch yourself beyond your capabilities and fail badly.

6 Grad student confidence plot Confidence Level Progress Through Your PhD First exam in a grad course First PhD candidacy exam attempt Pass thesis proposal Pass final defense First paper rejection First paper acceptance Pass PhD candidacy Admitted to grad school Searching for a thesis topic

7 Every CS PhD student I have seen, including myself, had at least one period during which they are convinced that their dissertation topic is utterly worthless. Gerald Estrin, Professor Emeritus, Computer Science, UCLA

8 The good news is that self confidence can be learned and built on.

9 10 Tips for Building Self Confidence

10 #1: Admit the problem Take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, and recommit yourself to getting there Remember that no one is perfect. Even the most confident people have insecurities. Accept that life is full of bumps down the road and have faith that things will be better tomorrow

11 #2: Find support Find someone safe you can talk frankly to – Make sure they are people you trust and who wont judge you in the future based on your current state of self confidence Surround yourself with nurturing friends. – Watch out for those who lower the confidence of others to compensate for their own confidence issues Be sure to be there to support others when they need it

12 #3: Establish some reachable goals Make a list of things that will get you moving towards your PhD goals Identify the first small step needed to accomplish each item on the list and have a plan for making that first step – For that rejected paper, let the review age for a short while. Then, ask yourself what was good about the paper and what needs improved. Develop a plan for revisions and resubmission.

13 #4: Recognize your successes Do not ever, ever put yourself done. Try to avoid fixating on your failures Make a list of your recent successes, then read the list (out load if necessary) back to yourself – Think about your strengths and what youve achieved so far. Give yourself permission to take pride in those achievements – Be realistic, but dont leave it blank

14 #5: Take a break Take some time off to refresh, reflect, and enjoy – Find time to exercise regularly – go for a run, hike, swim, … – Have a nice meal with friends/loved ones – Go shopping – buy that pair of shoes youve been wanting, that tennis racket, … – Pamper yourself – get your nails done, have a massage, …

15 #6: Beware of the triple low Your experimental results dont support that hypothesis you were so hyped about; your paper was just rejected; … You just saw that man you have such a crush on with another woman; you and your partner had a slamming-door fight this morning; … Its the first day of your period and that pimple just erupted … again; those 5 pounds are back; …

16 #7: Fake it till you make it Speak slowly and clearly – A person who thinks they arent worth listening to will often speak quickly and/or softly Stand tall – Dont slouch, dont walk around with your head held low Accept greetings and complements gracefully – When asked how you are doing, say with enthusiasm Just great. Dont roll your eyes, groan, and say Im just swamped.

17 #8: Be extra prepared Go the extra mile to be prepared – Study your butt off for that exam – Spend more time in the lab running those additional experiments – Prepare a few slides for the next group meeting – Write, rewrite, rewrite that paper – Practice that talk again and again – in front of friends and not-so-friends Just beware of perfectionism – (or you will never finish)

18 #9: Take a risk a day Challenge yourself everyday – Dont be afraid to push yourself, a little bit of pressure is good for you Make it a habit

19 #10: Stick to your principles Know your principles – Live the your Golden Rule – Live your passion Then actually live them If you dont have something you believe in, you dont have anything. If you dont stand for something, you will fall for anything.

20 The imposter syndrome Regardless of success achieved or proof of competence, you are sometimes convinced that you do not deserve it – Proof is dismissed as luck, timing, or a result of deceiving others into thinking you are more intelligent/competent than you are – It is particularly common among successful women and typically associated with academics. It is also widely found among graduate students and first generation college students.

21 In closing … Believe in yourself No one will believe in you until you believe in yourself Know yourself and you will win all battles. Sun Tzu Think about what is important to you and where you want to go … and then go for it ! And, smile often

22 " My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others... Always aim for achievement and forget about success. Helen Hayes, Actress From

23 Credits CRA-Women (especially Carole-Jean Wu, Esin Saka, Maria Klawe, Janie Irwin) presenters at previous grad cohort workshops Various web sites – wikiHow: How to Build Self Confidence – MindTools: Building Self-Confidence – 25 Killer Actions to Boost Your Self-Confidence boost-your-self-confidence/ boost-your-self-confidence/

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