Meeting challenges with confidence

Find out how self confidence can help your young person see challenges as opportunities


This activity takes around 20-25 minutes and is designed to help young people identify the feelings experienced when facing and overcoming a challenge, such as adapting to big changes or new ways of learning and working, as well as recognise the benefits of successfully tackling challenges in the workplace.

Use the steps below to complete the activities with your young person, or they can use the worksheets provided as an independent learning activity.

Download full lesson plan pack with all activities

Meeting challenges with confidence.pdf

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Step one: Tackling challenges with confidence

Ask your young person to think about a time they have faced a problem or a challenge. This could be starting at a new school, learning a new skill that they found particularly difficult, adapting to an unfamiliar situation or competing in a sporting event.

Suggest they create a mind map on the worksheet of the emotions someone might feel when experiencing a problem or challenge like the one they’ve thought about, e.g. nervous, scared, overwhelmed, out of their comfort zone. Then ask them to imagine that that person has successfully solved the problem or challenge and add how this might feel to their mind map e.g. relieved, thankful, proud, they should add these to their mind map too.

Explain that when we face a problem and succeed, we often feel rewarded, proud and more confident in what we can achieve. It can also make us feel that we’ve learnt something new: overcoming challenges allows us to grow and develop. Experiencing those feelings of success and pride can also help us to be more prepared and confident, and feel less fear, the next time we are faced with a challenge.

If you feel comfortable, share your own story of a challenge you took on, the fears you had to overcome and the emotions you experienced. Examples might include starting or changing jobs, managing a team of people, becoming a parent, public speaking, visiting a country you hadn’t been to before or moving to a new home.

Help your young person to identify that there are two sides to any challenge: the fear of taking it on and the benefits of doing it.

Read the quotes and accompanying information below from three famous people and discuss the challenges they faced. What can we learn from each of these people and their quotes? Explain that by demonstrating the skill of staying positive (resilience) we can turn negative situations into positive ones, overcoming big challenges and using them to help ourselves or others to grow.

Step two: Dealing with a workplace challenge

Ask your young person to read the workplace challenge examples below and select one to tackle. Using their worksheet, they should consider how they think the person might feel about the challenge and how they should respond.

  • What might the person’s fears be? E.g. doing something wrong, disappointing someone, the task taking a long time
  • How could the challenge become an opportunity? E.g. a chance to learn a new skill, to get to know a colleague better by asking them for support, to demonstrate their commitment to their employer
  • What skills would be needed to successfully tackle the challenge? E.g. teamwork, empathy, honesty, resilience, creativity

Now ask your young person to think back to one of the challenges they identified as having faced at the start of the activity. Can they reflect on ways they could apply the tips below for overcoming fears on their worksheet to the challenge they faced. Suggest some other ways they could turn a challenge into an opportunity and discuss these as well.

Some top tips for overcoming fears and tackling challenges may include:

  1. Treat each challenge as an opportunity
  2. Find reasons to try something new
  3. Reach out of your ‘comfort zone’
  4. Have a goal and make a plan to reach it
  5. Imagine what success looks like
  6. Believe in yourself - your abilities and your potential
  7. Realise why your fears might not matter
  8. Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
  9. Learn from mistakes – then try again


Remind your young person that they can always ask for help when faced by a challenge or opportunity, this may be from a parent/carer, teacher or friend. Even just discussing a challenge with another person can sometimes help. Now discuss the ways that talking about a problem has helped you in the past, if you feel comfortable, such as the following; explaining it to someone else helped you understand the situation better; gaining another person’s perspective made it seem less scary; they gave you useful advice that helped you face the challenge.

To summarise their learning, suggest that your young person tries the Workplace Challenge online quiz

Remind your young person that to grow, we must take on and overcome new challenges. Emphasise that it’s normal to feel fear – this shows you’ve taken on something worth doing. But these fears aren’t always as big as we make them out to be. Taking on a challenge and overcoming fears helps builds confidence to take on even bigger challenges in the future and feel more positive while facing them.

For a follow-on activity, encourage your young person to complete our skills for staying positive activity which is centred around developing a positive attitude and growth mindset.

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