Confidence is Key to a Successful Career
Quite often I am approached by clients who complain about the lack of success, advancement and fulfillment in their current career. They blame many factors as the cause including bad bosses, toxic work environment, competitive coworkers, unqualified managers, low salaries, and many of other reasons with one thing in common. They are all EXTERNAL causes.
It’s “THAT” or “THEM”, not me.
After I work with them however, further analysis shows that although those external factors do have an impact, the biggest causes for lack of success, happiness and advancement in their career are INTERNAL.
It’s not them, it’s YOU.
One of those important internal factors that lead to a lackluster success, lack of advancement and unhappiness at work is a lack of confidence.
Confidence is so important that I am willing to go all out and state that it even makes up for lack of knowledge, experience and skills. I am willing to bet that you have met many individuals in leadership positions who clearly lack the required knowledge and skills of the team members that they are in charge of. How did they get there? How do they succeed? They continuously develop their confidence.
Whether you like it or not, it is the people who get noticed and stand up for themselves and demand to be heard and acknowledged that move up. So, if you are the timid one who never pushes yourself forward, you may never achieve all that you could.
The good news is that it does not have to be this way. You can take steps to boost your confidence at work and throughout your career.
Confidence is not innate. It can be built and improved over time.
Here are ten tips to help you find your self-confidence in the workplace.
- Stop Talking Yourself Down
Ok, so this first tip is far easier said than done. For some people the inner critic has a powerful voice. Even so, if you want to be more confident, the first place to start is to look at how you think about yourself because if you do not believe in yourself, no one else will either.
Simply being aware of your thought patterns and mental habits and noticing how they make you feel will initiate change. You’ll begin to discover that what you think of yourself is mostly up to you. Your Self Image is everything.
What you need to do is to put a little bit of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) into action. When you hear that voice in your head that says that you are not good enough, challenge those thoughts. Do not accept them that easily. Fight them. Do not be a push over.
Are your ideas that bad, or are you merely afraid that someone else will have a better idea or that someone will reject them? In other words, stop running yourself down and start realizing that you are just as capable as anyone else is.
- Treat Mistakes as Opportunity to Learn
Everyone makes mistakes, so do not be afraid to make a few of your own. No one at work is going to shoot you down in flames for making one or two blunders, and no one is going to criticize you for trying.
The most successful people are the same ones that have made the most mistakes.
Mistakes are only a lost opportunity if you do not learn from them. Do you really think that the top salesperson in your organization has never lost a sale? Do you believe that none of your co-workers have never produced less than perfect work? Of course, they have. But the confident high-achievers' mistakes are very quickly superseded by their latest successes after they have learned the lessons. And you can do the same.
- Build on Your Strengths First
You know that you are good at certain aspects of your job, so focus your initial efforts on honing those skills and becoming an expert in those areas.
Focus on your strengths not your weaknesses.
Negative people are often people who spend a lot of time thinking about what they are not so good at doing, while ignoring their strengths. They take their strengths for granted. When you sit down and think about it, you will find that you have more strengths than weaknesses. So, think about how you can make those strengths work to your advantage in your career.
- Learn New Skills Constantly
Once you have recognized that you do have strengths, you can begin to add some new skills to your repertoire. Remember, though, that you do not have to become an expert at everything overnight, so do not set yourself impossible targets. Shoot for good enough not perfect.
Start by becoming a more curious. Follow your interests. Take more of an interest in what is happening in your industry, the company you work for, and the field that you’re in, the new skills or new tools that become available. The more you learn and the more you know, the easier it will become to engage in both social and business conversations that help to advance your career.
- Never be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you are unsure how to do something at work, or there is something that you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask questions. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can always ask questions of a supervisor when no one else is around.
Asking questions in a meeting is also an excellent way of getting involved in the conversation. Questions are the best way to grow and advance. When you ask someone something, it puts the onus on them to continue with the conversation, and teach you something new, and that, in turn, will make it easier for you to express your point of view without pressure.
- Seek Out Mentors and Allies
Everyone feels more confident when they are surrounded by people they trust, so try to expand your circle of friends and advisors at work. Reach out to people who you think might be supportive of your efforts to improve your position at work and talk to people who you think may be able to provide you with advice.
Try not to take it too much to heart when people are dismissive of you or try to stand in your way, though. Unfortunately, there will always be a few jealous types in any working environment. Simply move on and find the people who are willing to guide you.
- Go the Extra Mile
One of the best confidence boosters you can get at work is the praise of your superiors. So, always try to go one step further with every task you are given. If you have a deadline of five days to meet, for example, aim to get the work completed in four days. Even something as simple as taking extra care with how you present your work will demonstrate your commitment. If you want to make an impression at work, it is not always about making the most noise. Remember, actions often speak way louder than words. Don’t tell. Show.
- Act as if
Act as if you were a confident person and confidence will follow. There are occasions when life presents us with an opportunity to do something or say something but we wait until we build our confidence before we act. And by the time we do so the opportunity is gone or worse, someone else steps up and takes that opportunity. Confidence is a learned act. It grows and become stronger with practice. Confidence is generated internally at will. So next time you are presented with a great opportunity step into the moment and out of your safe comfort zone. Demand more of yourself and watch how more confidence will follow.
- Trust Yourself More
If you lack confidence at work, you are probably someone who does not like putting forward their ideas, stepping up or standing out. Even so, you will likely have had times when you knew that you could have made a more significant contribution if you had only dared to speak up. What you are experiencing in these situations is a lack of trust in your abilities. But, when you think about it, you have probably proven many times before that your lack of faith in yourself is unfounded. So, trust your self more. Believe in yourself. You know more and can do better that you think.
- Celebrate Your Achievements
It is never a good idea to dwell on your mistakes, but it is always good to celebrate your achievements, however small they might appear to you to be. Overcoming self-doubt at work will require a combination of hard work, determination, and changing the way that you think about yourself. So, when you do put forward your first game-changing idea at work, and it is adopted, give yourself a massive pat on the back and treat yourself to something extra special.
The above tips will help you begin your journey towards becoming a more confident person at work. Remember, your goal is not to become a super-confident person overnight. Your goal is to continuously improve and build your self-confidence. Small improvement over time lead to big changes down the line. The sooner you start challenging the way that you perceive yourself, the sooner you will achieve your ultimate career goals.
By Rafael Tomik, Career Fulfillment Coach at BeGreat.com
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