Do you truly believe you can do the job? Will you project a sense of calm and inspire confidence in others? Will you have the courage to ask questions that need to be asked and to freely contribute your ideas?
Confidence is a vital aspect of our day-to-day lives and is especially important in the workplace. Unfortunately, not everyone was born with "built-in" self confidence. In fact, many of us had to work hard to achieve some semblance of confidence. People with low confidence and self-esteem often feel unappreciated and find it hard to succeed. The good thing is that it can be achieved with time and effort.
Confidence is a mixture of courage, strength and the ability to pick yourself up when something fails. Five ways in which you can improve your self confidence are:
Take pride in what you have achieved. Keep a log book or a diary and jot down all the achievements you have made. Perhaps you have closed a successful sales deal or have been recently promoted. Take note of praises and words of encouragement from your superior. For days when you feel down and demoted, flip through the pages and re-read some of your successes. They are a constant reminder that you can do it and are able to achieve more if you set your heart to it.
Be a go-getter. Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to it. Say "I will complete this project in two weeks" and not "I think I can complete it in a two weeks." If you make a strong reinforcement to the statement, chances are your brain will register and you will be able to meet the deadline. Also, try to set goals that will highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
Receive a compliment graciously. It is a natural instinct to be overly humble when someone compliments you. Don't be. Acknowledge that you deserve the compliment because you have worked hard for it. Smile and say "Thank you. It was really nice of you to notice my work. I'm very proud of it as well." and not "Oh, it was nothing. Anyone could have done it." The former shows that you are capable of handling tough projects while the latter says that you are a pessimist, plus it also gives the impression that your job is an easy-peasy one!
Positive self-talk. At this point, you have to start managing what goes in and out of your brain. Yes, you might have had a terrible experience at your last job and it has sucked out all of your self esteem and confidence. It is now time to let go and move on. Eliminate all negative self-talk and replace them with positive ones. One good tip is to stick colorful pictures on your wall, in your car, or any other places that are convenient to you. Stick a smiley face to remind you to smile. Put phrases of encouragement and frame them up.
Celebrate. Last but not least, celebrate to rejoice in the fact you have worked diligently to bring your self- confidence to another level. Allow yourself some fun. After this, stretch yourself a little bit more. Make your goals bigger and challenge yourself more. Take it one step at a time at a pace that's comfortable to you. Some people take three months; others may take up to six months or more. You will slowly notice a difference in yourself.
A lack of self confidence is especially limiting for women. Dr. Lois Frankel, author of the best-selling business book for women, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, argues that women all too often tend to play it safe in the workplace. In her book, she itemizes the top five mistakes women make:
1. Waiting to be given what you want
Ever heard the saying, The squeaky wheel gets the grease? If you don't ask, you won't risk hearing no, but you also won't get what you want.
2. Avoiding office politics
Like it or not, politics is how things get done -- in the workplace, in government, and in professional organizations.
3. Sharing too much personal information
Sharing personal information isn't in and of itself a mistake -- it's sharing too much of it that can come back to bite you.
4. Decorating your office like your living room
The decor of your office should be consistent with the kind of firm in which you work.
Apologizing for unintentional, low-profile, non-egregious errors erodes our self-confidence -- and, in turn, the confidence others have in us.
Learn more about Frankel’s perspective and book in this article and discussion.