Do You Need Confidence School?

Only 20 per cent of women are happy with their appearance, so maybe it's time we signed up for self-esteem studies...

You’ve just been asked to lead a huge company presentation at work. Do you A) count down the hours until the big day – you’re pretty confident in your presenting skills and it’s a chance to show off, right? B) worry about it for a while before accepting you’ll just have to get on with it, or C) fret about it every day on the run up – public speaking is not your thing and even the thought of being centre of attention for 15 minutes makes you queasy.

If you chose option C, you’re not alone. Last year, research by the Young Women’s Trust found over half of 18-30-year-old women are lacking in self-confidence, with a separate study by Dove revealing that 85 per cent of women surveyed admitted they would opt out of important life activities because they didn’t feel good about the way they looked.

Enter, confidence school – a growing number of courses aimed at curing the self-esteem pandemic in millennials. But is confidence something you can learn? Lexie Carducci, coach and presenter, certainly thinks so.

‘Confidence isn’t something that comes naturally to some of us, but like anything, we can be taught how to practice it,’ explains Lexie.

‘It won’t happen overnight but a little bit every day and it’ll become habit.’

Lexie, 26, founded Style School two years ago – a confidence programme that aims to ‘help you be the best version of you’. With over three quarters of young women having the opinion that better teaching on body confidence would help with low self-esteem, she’s onto something – and she’s not alone. From one-day courses, to two-week retreats, a quick Google search and it seems everyone wants in on confidence class.

‘After suffering with low self esteem all my life, I wanted to tackle it head on,’ explains Lexie. ‘At school I always lacked in confidence. I was the girl copying other people’s fashion – I thought if I mirrored other people’s clothes and opinions, I would be further away from myself.

‘I envied the naturally bubbly girls – I would look to them and think, “how can I get that confidence?” I’ve realised it’s not about changing who you are; it’s about being the happiest version of you.

‘For me, starting a confidence school had always been a dream; I attended one in Cornwall when I was 15 and it changed my life. But, it was years later that I turned my plan into action. I’d just signed up to take part in a beauty pageant for fun and when I arrived, I realised so many of the girls were there not to be competitive, but because they wanted to challenge themselves, to gain confidence or to overcome a fear of public speaking. In that moment, I knew I wanted to set something up – an outlet for women who could gain confidence and build each other up, without doing something like a pageant.

‘At Style School, we teach key skills that students can use in any social situation, either in group sessions or one-to-one. At a work meeting, at a party, on a date or even just talking in front of others, confidence building is our number one aim. It’s all about being comfortable in your own skin. I want people to love themselves and be happy with who they are. Everyone’s different and that’s something we must embrace.’

27-year-old content and social media manager, Larissa Hirst, signed up to Style School earlier this year. Now, she’s about to launch her own YouTube channel. ‘I enrolled in a one-to-one confidence course earlier this year as I’m launching my own YouTube channel, Feminists in Heels,’ explains Larissa. ‘I needed a confidence boost with how to present to camera, as well as interview guests on screen. Through a series of public speaking exercises, I worked on my body language, posture and script delivery. As a result, I feel 100 per cent more confident in my abilities.’

Lexie’s prices start from £55 per hour, but ahead of National Body Confidence Day on 18 October, we asked Lexie for her self-esteem boosting tips. With confidence seemingly suffering a major crisis, we’re seriously championing this new way of learning. See you in the classroom…

Lexie’s top tips for building confidence

1. Positive Mind, Positive Life
At the start of the week, write down what you want to achieve – this way your mind isn’t constantly exhausted trying to keep up. When we’re overworked and down, we don’t feel confident. What’s more, try not to get worked up over little things and never let fear stop you achieving your goals.
2. Wardrobe Goals
Have a wardrobe of basic go-to items that you know make you feel good. There’s no need to spend lots of money, just update key basics with statement, on-trend pieces – for example, oversized earrings. Express your personality through your style and be comfortable in your own skin. When we feel good, we feel happier and more confident.
3. Ice Breakers
People get freaked out and become awkward in social situations, so have a few icebreaker questions up your sleeve. Try simple things like compliments, talking about the venue or whether they’ve been on holiday this year. Speak clearly and present yourself in a confident manner – whether you feel it or not!
4. Push Boundaries
Stop worrying and start doing. I live by the mantra, “what’s the worst that could happen?” so don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. If you have an idea at work, tell your boss! Fancy that guy on the train? Go and chat to him.
5. Self-Love Club
Don’t let your mind bully your body – make complimenting yourself a habit and squash those negative thoughts.

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