Make your confidence a priority.
Confidence, or lack of it, can have a big impact on your career.
Without it, we struggle to find our voice in meetings, ask for a pay rise or take on new projects to increase our experience. Confidence is an essential building block for success and without it, you’ll miss career-changing opportunities.
It seems like some people are just born confident. If you’re not one of them, you might be feeling frustrated, limited by your own doubts and constantly underestimating yourself.
Take heart. Confidence is a skill that you can and should build with intention. Make it a priority to learn about and focus on creating confidence at work and in your personal life. Strive to believe in yourself until it becomes a natural part of who you are.
How to develop confidence
The internet is full of ‘quick confidence hacks’ but the truth is, you need to stick with your commitment to becoming more confident. It usually doesn’t happen overnight! Practice confidence building habits consistently and observe the changes and opportunities that begin to show up in your career.
Make a habit of reviewing your wins
Make a habit of going over a list of past wins when you feel anxiety about your abilities and begin to spiral.
Keeping tabs of your successes and reviewing them regularly is a practical way to restore balance to the way you think about yourself. Think back to a time at work, or in your personal life, where you’ve felt really out of your comfort zone but persevered with the project or situation.
You didn’t have the answers to everything immediately but you pushed through and figured out how to solve the problem one step at a time. Remind yourself if you did it before, you can do it again. It doesn’t have to be some huge, crazy success, even small accomplishments count when it comes to boosting self-confidence.
This list of your wins and accomplishments is also a handy asset to have when it comes to annual review time or negotiating a pay rise!
Develop your skills
This means two sets of skills. The things you’re already good at and areas where you need to improve.
Take some time to identify your strengths. How can you develop them further? Could you specialise in a particular area? Becoming an expert; even within your team at work, is a great way to boost confidence.
Next, figure out where you need more help. What are ‘low-confidence’ areas that are holding you back? If you really don’t like public speaking, what steps can you take to move past the fear and nail that next presentation?
Focus on improving skills in the areas you feel self-doubt while building on what you’re already good at and watch your confidence skyrocket!
Here’s a tip from the confident crowd. Confident people say YES to a new challenge, even when they’re feeling a little in over their heads.
Ever wanted to say yes to leading a project but didn’t put yourself forward, or didn’t apply for an amazing role because you thought you lacked qualifications?
Next time, ask yourself these questions –
- What is the worst that could happen?
- What is the best that could happen?
- What benefits can come from this?
- What would I miss out on by NOT doing this?
Get the worst scenario out of the way. Then focus on all the possible benefits to be gained.
You might find yourself saying YES to more challenges and being willing to take more risks to achieve bigger outcomes.
Real growth happens outside your comfort zone. The more you grow, the more experience you gain which leads to more confidence. Have faith in your ability to face uncharted territories!
Don’t be afraid of failure and own up to your mistakes
None of us likes to admit we’re wrong but confident people can own their mistakes without it shaking their self-esteem to the core. They can bounce from failures and mistakes quickly and continue to feel self-assured.
Keep your perspective on the situation, assume a good solution exists and then take the steps to find it. Only focusing on the problem is a self-defeating practice.
Remember, each time you overcome a mistake you have the opportunity to learn something. The ability to handle failure well is how you develop confidence so that you can succeed the next time.
Play the long game
Confident people focus on the big picture, not every little detail along the way. They usually have a long-range vision and that means every bump in the (short term) road doesn’t shake them to the core.
If you’re too focused on a recent project crisis or criticism, you can forget how far you’ve come and lose confidence about where you’re headed.
Confident people are constantly preparing.
They study and practice to add to their knowledge base and expand their opportunities. They’re confident because they’ve done the work, laid a solid foundation and can call on all the preparation they’ve put in when needed.
Confident people didn’t start out prepared. They said YES to things that challenged them and continued to push their comfort zones, building their confidence along the way.
The more work and life experiences you expose yourself to, the more confident you become.
Finally….don’t let Impostor Syndrome stop you
I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out!
Does this sound familiar?
No matter how confident someone seems, the majority of us are prone to a little (or a lot of!) imposter syndrome at some point. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s what impostor syndrome means:
“The feeling that your achievements are not real or that you do not deserve praise or success” – Cambridge Dictionary
It’s normal. Talented doctors, authors and actresses have admitted to experiencing it, so don’t feel like you’re the only one ‘faking it till you make it’ or like you don’t deserve the kudos, promotion or new project. Even the most confident person you know feels uncomfortable or unsure sometimes.
Developing confidence takes time. Think of it as a work in progress. You will have moments of doubt but if you stick with making confidence a priority, the pay off in your career and personal life will be huge and SO worth it!