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Have you lost confidence in your ability to do your job? Perhaps your employer’s expectations are too high or maybe you are your own worst critic. Maybe your work environment changed and you have a new team, new boss or a new role. Or you may have been asked to “step-up” or take on more responsibility with fewer resources.
These, and other factors, can impact our self-confidence and often leave us feeling unprepared, unqualified or unable to do our jobs. Unfortunately, most of us feel like this at some point in our career.
While we can’t control every aspect of our work environment, we can work to increase our self-confidence for a more positive work experience. Incorporating the following steps will help you face workplace challenges feeling prepared, qualified and capable.
Reduce negative thoughts or “self-talk”
You know that little voice (I call it the “inner critic”) that keeps saying, “Are you sure about that decision?” or “You can’t do that,” or “You’re not smart enough for this”? Surprise! We all have that voice in our heads. The important thing is what we choose to do with it. We run into trouble when we let that negative, self-depreciating voice start driving our decision making and choices. What can you do when negative thoughts emerge?
- Just notice. What is your little voice saying and what’s behind the message?
- Make a choice about the self-talk you will allow to continue and explore your options.
- Replace the negative thoughts with more positive ones. When the negative thoughts come back, notice for a bit, make a choice and then move forward with self-talk that best serves you.
No situation has meaning until you add your interpretation of the situation with your thoughts. By adding more positive thoughts, your interpretation of the situation becomes more optimistic and eventually, you will become more confident.
Set realistic goals and celebrate wins
Set measurable goals to monitor your progress. Write them down. Be specific, be realistic, identify a date for completion and include the benefit to you of completing the goal.
When you meet your goals, celebrate! Acknowledging progress and success is a great confidence booster. Keep a journal of your successes and look back at it when your confidence takes a hit. Remind yourself of all you are capable of and look back at your intentions and your goals to move forward.
Increase your knowledge
Find online courses in your field or go to a seminar and start growing in your capabilities to counteract any feelings of inadequacy. Read more books, watch more TED talks, attend more seminars. It’s easy to go overboard, and spouting your knowledge too often can be a confidence killer when people who have greater knowledge on the subject start debating with you, but knowing what to do about a complex issue or problem can help you gain confidence. Confidence grows when you act on what you know.
People with confidence tend to smile more, but it’s a learned skill. If you walk around the office and greet others, smile first and ask about their day. The change in attitude about what is going on around the office builds your own confidence because you realize you need to have a better outlook–and that’s highly contagious. Confidence is contagious.
Walk with pep
No, really. This works. How you move around in the office can determine your mood. Shuffling down the hall to your next meeting creates a reaction with other workers. Add a little zing and energy, and you can gain more confidence when people notice you have the pep. Stand up taller so you can breathe in more oxygen. The more bounce you have in your step, the more energy you generate physically and the more you will feel like to can handle whatever is next.
Find people who will boost your confidence
I’m convinced the best way to build confidence is to find people who know how to encourage you and build you up. Find friends, mentors or a coach (hello!) who will support and keep you grounded in all that you can contribute to the world. That means, If you tend to hang out with people who criticize you too much, find new friends.
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