Why we need to see role models, people like us, succeed.
No matter what your self-confidence level is right now, you can probably improve it. But you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities before anyone else will.
Bandura's theory of self-efficacy is a great place to start looking for ways to improve the way you see your abilities. According to the theory, there are four sources of self-efficacy:
Mastery experiences - things you have succeeded at in the past.
Vicarious experiences - seeing people who are similar to you succeed.
Social persuasion - hearing from others that you're capable.
Emotional status - staying positive, and managing stress.
Three of these sources (the first, second, and fourth) are within your control, so we'll look at them more closely. However, while we can’t force people to say good things about us (the third source), we can increase the likelihood of receiving positive feedback by being more confident in general.
An interesting part of Bandura's theory is the idea that seeing other people's success improves your belief in yourself. If you view yourself as similar to someone else, and you see his or her accomplishments, you're likely to apply that to yourself, and believe that you can achieve similar success.
The more alike you think you are, the greater the influence. So, if your boss has a similar education and work background, it can improve your confidence. If you see others working hard and succeeding, that can also motivate you and build your confidence.
The opposite may also be true. If you see people make great efforts and not achieve anything, that can hurt your confidence - especially if you think your talents and abilities are similar to theirs.
Try the following tips:
Network, and surround yourself with accomplished, successful people.
Seek a mentor who has a background similar to yours.
Learn from those around you. Note what they do that's successful.