It never ceases to amaze me how little confidence many highly successful people have at work despite their success. They doubt their skills, abilities and impact on others, even though they may have become very good at hiding these insecurities from the outside world.
Confidence at work comes from the state of mind where you can trust in your knowledge and capabilities. It’s about believing in yourself, having freedom from doubt, knowing that you are good enough. Self-confidence is the outward expression of self-esteem, how you really feel about yourself.
So how do we increase our self-esteem and thus our confidence? Here are 6 strategies.
1. Stop comparing yourself
We often compare ourselves to others who excel in a particular area; they may be an awesome public speaker or fantastic at staying calm in a crisis. These comparisons only serve to sap our self-esteem with thoughts of “I wish I could do that” “I’ll never be as good as them”. Instead, we need to appreciate that we all have strengths, we’re all different and unique and we need to focus on ‘doing us’. It can also be a good idea to keep a gratitude journal to help us focus on the things we’re grateful for rather than the things we don’t have.
2. Focus on your strengths
Appreciate your special qualities, attributes, skills and achievements. Remind yourself of your good points every day. Write a list and make a habit of reading through it every morning and anytime during the day you need a confidence boost at work. Try and create opportunities to utilise your strengths at work too. Figure out what you’re really good at and do more of it, as this will make you feel good about yourself.
3. Celebrate successes
We often focus too much on small missteps or errors rather than our successes. We beat ourselves up for not saying the right thing or not using the right approach. Instead, find several small achievements to celebrate each day. Focus on the things that build your confidence and heighten your mood, not the things that negatively impact it.
4. Be your own best friend
Instead of criticising yourself and using language like “I should have…” “I’m not good at…” “I’ve stuffed it up”, treat yourself as you would your best friend. Be supportive, kind and understanding. Mistakes are just learning opportunities. Say positive things to yourself like “I’ve got this” “I can do it” “I’m OK” “I’ll get there” By being your own personal cheerleader you’re more likely to succeed.
5. Challenge yourself
One of the things that builds confidence and resilience in the workplace is challenging yourself to do more than you think you can. Set small goals that will lead you to trust and believe in yourself. Have that hard conversation, volunteer for that presentation, become part of the social club but do something that puts you outside your comfort zone at least once a week. Pushing your boundaries is a great way to build resilience.
6.Dress for success
Dressing in professional attire, choosing clothes and colours that compliment you can influence your sense of self. Knowing you look good will help you feel good and exude confidence.
Building self-esteem and confidence at work can take time but with commitment and consistency, your confidence levels will rise. If you’d like to explore this topic in more detail, Psychology today have a great in depth article. Try to do something every day that will keep you on the path to success. Remember:
“It’s the small, seemingly insignificant things done on a regular basis that add up to the biggest successes.”