Do you sometimes feel like you’re not getting the respect or appreciation you deserve on your job? Do you sometimes wish there were more people in your workplace you could relate to? Or more female role models to inspire you?

Many women working in male-dominated industries feel this way. Even if no one is making them feel like an outsider or overlooking their achievements a culture that’s made by and for men can make an impact.

Recruitment and retention of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions have been a work in progress for decades. Women who go into STEM are highly competent and passionate about their work. However, many end up leaving their careers or settling for something less just when they’re ready for more senior positions, or give up on the opportunity to help other women rise. This can feel demoralizing.

The effects are far-reaching. Without equal representation in some of the highest-paying professions and positions, women face a feminization of poverty that can affect them for generations to come.

How to Feel More Confident in Male-Dominated Industries and Workplaces

Today, women can learn to stand firmly in their power by recognizing the unique qualities of women’s leadership. According to Herminia Ibarra, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, women’s leadership development is about identity work.

My research shows that global self-esteem determines whether individuals become stuck in recurring patterns of behavior or achieve their full potential. Global self-esteem is best defined as the emotional relationship we have with ourselves.

This is critical work because most women hold disempowering beliefs that they have internalized since childhood. Many of these beliefs live in their bodies and show up as visceral and automatic reactions that drive their actions.

Trying to change any of this without doing the inner work is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain. In the male-dominated industries of STEM, where it’s easy to feel unseen or unappreciated, even subtle signs of rejection can derail efforts and lead to self-doubt, unhappiness, and loss of confidence.

If you’re in an environment that isn’t bringing out the best in you, know that you do not have to depend on other people’s ability to value you to find joy, pride, and meaning in your work. Here are two things you can do right away to start developing a greater sense of confidence.

Silence the Inner Critic

All of us have an inner critic—it’s an evolutionary gift to ensure we stay loyal to our tribes. For many women, the inner critic is loud, overbearing, and unforgiving. It can find fault where none exists and beat down on us for mistakes we readily overlook in others.

I’ve struggled with an unforgiving inner critic for most of my life. And I’ve finally found that the best way to deal with it is to take it a little less seriously. Arguing with it or challenging it rarely works. It just comes back with something equally ridiculous or untrue that undermines confidence. Paul Gilbert, founder of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, says that we would all be quite confident if we didn’t talk down to ourselves all the time.

One easy way to stop giving your inner critic center stage is to give it a funny name or image. When you hear it having a fit, simply smile and say something like: “It’s okay. I’ve got this.” Or say, “Thanks for letting me know; now you can sit back and relax.” You can also imagine a knob that allows you to turn the volume down, or pretend to take the inner critic by the hand and walk it out the door. You’re essentially using the power of imagination to your advantage rather than to scare yourself.

Own Your Brilliance

Sometimes, women are not comfortable with the word “brilliance”: “I don’t think I’m particularly smart,” they say to themselves. Or: “My skills aren’t really helpful in the work I do.” If you carry similar self-doubt, you need to build a sense of mastery.

Many people confuse mastery with competence, although they are different constructs. Competence is having a certain set of skills—something almost anyone can learn. Mastery is trusting that you can overcome whatever gets in the way of your worthwhile goals. Think of competence as knowing how to cook a certain dish or cuisine, and mastery as the ability to take whatever’s sitting in your fridge and put a meal together without the fear of failure or judgment.

If you struggle with self-doubt at work, think of areas in your life where you have this sense of self-trust. It could be in the garden or the kitchen, when you’re with your kids, on the dance floor, or engaging with a certain aspect of your work. Who is the version of you that you see? What are her strengths, what qualities does she exhibit, and how does she overcome challenges?

According to Richard J. Davidson, expert in the study of emotion and the brain, our brains undergo continuous remodeling based on our life experiences. The more you own this resourceful self within you and show up as her in your work, even in male-dominated industries. The more you’re strengthening the neural pathways to who you truly are and becoming the powerful woman you came here to be.

A version of this article originally appeared on Happify.

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