Confidence doesn’t come naturally to me. When I was young I was shy and timid and nothing changed much as I grew up. I was different enough from the other kids in elementary school that I got made fun of and bullied. My lack of confidence probably reached a peak my junior year of high school when I didn’t say more than a few sentences to my peers the entire year.

Today I’m very confident. I strongly believe I can do anything I put my mind to doing. I believe I owe my confidence to taking on challenges that tested my faith in myself and overcoming them. What do I mean by “challenges that tested my faith in myself?” I’ll explain.

Despite my confidence today I still doubt myself. When I hit trouble on a project a voice in the back of my head starts calling me names. Stupid, incompetent, a fraud, in way over my head. That’s my fear talking and it is a great sign that I’m challenging myself the right amount.

That fear can be enough to break your will and make you stop and declare failure. But if you push through it to the end and declare victory then you’ll build your confidence. After a few experiences like that you’ll be unstoppable.

My key takeaway about building confidence is that it comes from putting yourself in situations where failure is possible. You can’t fool your fear with simple tasks that you can easily overcome. You have to forge your confidence in the fire of challenges that test your faith in yourself.