Confidence is a multifaceted term that refers to a psychological attitude and a set of behavioural attributes. It’s commonly regarded as a compound of self-assurance and competence. Such confidence is a great asset in the workplace: the most confident, assertive people will often get their ideas over the line and bag lucrative opportunities.
On the other hand, muted confidence and self-doubt are major obstructions to career progression. To begin redressing this, a pro-active attitude is essential. But it’s crucial that we don’t let confidence morph into a belief in our own infallibility.
Confidence doesn’t mean shoving your ideas down someone’s throat, or having inflexible faith in your own excellence. A confident mindset will only be truly effective when accompanied by aptitude and diligence. I think we can all name at least one current world leader who suffers from an unrealistic belief in his or her brilliance.
Although displays of confidence shouldn’t be mistaken for a certification of expertise, there’s no denying the value of confidence for broadening our skillsets and gaining further career opportunities. So here are six tips for boosting your confidence without becoming a self-important windbag.
1. Fake it ‘til you make it.
For those struggling to find a scrap of confidence, there’s wisdom in the fake it ‘til you make it precept. It’s not a fix-all solution, but it’s infinitely more useful than cowering in the corner and pining for a hot toddy and electric duvet. Faking it won’t be substantively effective if you’re unable to summon some self-belief, so try picturing the desired successful outcome and pushing yourself to make it happen.
2. Identify hurdles.
Progressing beyond a brave exterior requires self-examination and an acknowledgement of what’s inhibiting you. Perhaps you’re struggling to speak up in team meetings or apprehensive to do anything outside of your daily routine. Conceive a set of small, achievable goals to remedy this and aim to fulfil these before a specified deadline. Once you’ve reached your target, aim higher over the next period of time.
3. Be prepared.
Confidence doesn’t necessitate self-sufficiency, but robust preparation is greatly beneficial. Putting in extra effort to prepare for various workplace scenarios will reduce stress and gradually enhance confidence. Stay attuned to when you succeed and as your confidence grows, your methods of preparation should also expand.
4. Focus on the positives.
Competitive workplaces can have a pernicious impact on self-esteem. There are an alarming number of high-achievers who feel unworthy of whatever success comes their way. Keep a log of occasions when you prove yourself and are praised by co-workers. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t obsess on the negatives. Allow yourself to feel pride in your positive achievements.
5. Don’t go it alone.
Seek out a confidant – a colleague or close friend – to help monitor your progress. Sharing details of your confidence-seeking will go a long way towards excising vulnerability. Similarly, locate some role models either in your industry or from the wider world. Learn from the examples of others and aspire towards equivalent accomplishments.
6. Confidence, not arrogance.
We’ve all encountered that arrogant co-worker who seems adamant on shouting over everyone else in the room. This kind of overbearing behaviour will hinder workplace cooperation and productivity. A healthier form of confidence comprises clear-headed cognisance of one’s abilities, which motivates application, momentum and regular self-evaluation. Do you think Mozart conjured classic melodies every time he sat down to compose? No, he’d have syphoned through some absolute rubbish, but his foundational self-belief encouraged perseverance.
Confidence isn’t delivered by some elusive sprite that favours some individuals over others. Meanwhile, the quest to become more confident needn’t be accompanied by unflinching self-assurance. Confidence should allow you to engage in critical assessment of your own abilities, while a humble, personable attitude will make you an approachable and trustworthy colleague.
Happy offers courses in Assertiveness and Stress Management, which are conducive to boosting your confidence – or contact us to find out more about our Executive 1-to-1 Coaching with Cathy, which can cover a range of topics including self-confidence and assertiveness at work.