Confidence is a fickle thing. You can build it step by step climbing the mountain of achievement – you’ve prepared for the trek, you’ve checked the weather, you’re wearing the right boots, carrying the best equipment and food, your team members are strong and work together well. You’ve passed mini summits successfully on the climb and your confidence is rising and rising.
But then, there’s a stumble on the rocks, one of the team falls off a ledge. Everyone becomes shaken, demoralized and worse the weather turns sour, (there’s a market collapse). The collaborative spirit crumbles as everyone squabbles and blames. Suddenly, doubt and panic have replaced confidence and joy and you wonder just how did the confidence dissipate so rapidly?
Most of us are not on a cliff face but we are working in constantly changing business environments. Increasingly, it is our responsibility to practice self-care and manage our own confidence. Here’s a short guide to building your own self confidence.
1. LIST YOUR MAJOR CAREER AND LIFE SUCCESSES IN A NOTEBOOK
Remind yourself of your successful projects by describing in detail how they went and how you felt.
2. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Similar to number one, set up a list of your weekly successes by creating a ‘Glory File’ including emails of thanks, recognition, praise, educational certs…
BEWARE OF EGO: THIS FILE IS NOT ABOUT BECOMING BIG HEADED BUT ABOUT CURATING AND APPRECIATING YOUR TALENTS TO HELP YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT
3. ELIMINATE NEGATIVE SELF TALK AND NEGATIVE LANGUAGE
The single most corrosive element in reducing confidence is Negative Self-talk. The CBT Exercise of placing an elastic band around your wrist and snapping it every time you engage in negative self-talk is highly effective. We do sabotage our own confidence.
Stop using negative self-talk: ‘I’m not good enough’ ‘I can’t do this job’ ‘I’ll never get that promotion’
Eliminate negative words like ‘but’ ‘never’ ‘can’t’ when talking about yourself. Instead, replace the word ‘problem’ with the word ‘challenge’.
4. LIST YOUR AREAS OF STRENGTH AND EXPERTISE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE WORK
Read any psychometric reports you’ve taken, identify your key strengths, ask people you respect what your greatest strengths are. Capitalize on this by integrating these into everything you do.
5. BUILD ON YOUR STRENGTHS
Focus on your strengths more than your weaknesses. Accept what you do well and refine your better qualities to build more confidence in your areas of expertise.
6. VISUALISE YOURSELF SUCCEEDING BY RECITING DAILY SUCCESS MANTRAS
Mantras don’t work for everyone but for those it does help, it’s a highly effective practice for building and maintaining confidence.
7. SEEK OUT SMALL VICTORIES
Small victories build to bigger victories creating a pattern of success thus increasing your confidence.
8. PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Physical exercise increases confidence. *In a 2014 Baltimore County, Maryland study – on the days people at work exercised they performed better, had a better mood which led to feelings of confidence.
9. FIND A MENTOR WHO YOU ADMIRE TO GUIDE YOU WITH YOUR CONFIDENCE BUILDING
According to Dr Laura Bidwell in studies involving 43 companies researching the career outcomes for mentored and non-mentored employees (Allen et al 2004 study), people who are mentored at work are more satisfied, more engaged, more highly compensated and are promoted more.
10. SHARE YOUR WORK WITH A TRUSTED COLLEAGUE
For presentations, written articles and reports, sharing your work with a trusted colleague in advance of presenting or submitting will boost your confidence.
11. UPSKILL AND BOOST YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Continuous professional development through study, training courses and reading is a huge factor in maintaining and boosting your confidence at work.
12. LOG YOUR WEEKLY EXPERIENCES & ASK YOURSELF
a. “What did I do well?”
b. “Are there ways I could improve?”
13. CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Accomplishing things that you didn’t feel were possible is an excellent way to boost your confidence. Use your strengths and also seek out projects to stretch your abilities. Volunteer for a project that helps build new skills and introduces you to new people.
14. ASK QUESTIONS
Always understand the brief before you start a project. The only way to clarify what’s required of you (and your team) is by asking questions which leads to increased confidence at the outset.
15. FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
It may be a cliché but speaking with certainty and acting confidently will make you feelmore confident.
16. BE A ROLE MODEL OF POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Focus more on how you can provide solutions rather than spending all your time discussing the problems.
17. BECOME A MENTOR
Give someone else a hand up with positive feedback and support. Enhancing another person’s confidence at work boosts your own confidence. Celebrate others.
18. UNDERSTAND THE GOALS AND COMMUNICATION STYLE OF YOUR BOSS
Understanding the best way to interact with your boss and your co-workers can generate huge self-confidence. Spend time figuring out how to manage these key relationships best.
19. STAY ON TASK AND REMAIN FOCUSSED
Staying on task boosts confidence hugely. The better you perform, the more confident you’ll become.
20. HAVE FUN
Laugh at your setbacks and mistakes. Being light hearted will boost your confidence.
Maura Jakksen Byrne is a Senior Executive Coach and Behavioural Analyst. She is Managing Partner of Your Business Smart Coach, a leadership and career development consultancy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.yourbusinesssmartcoach.net
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