It’s a very common scenario. You’re in a large office meeting, and you’re hesitant to share your viewpoint for fear of being judged. Maybe you have a strained relationship with your boss, who makes you feel inadequate. Or perhaps you consistently downplay your successes and generally avoid the spotlight.
Many of us shy away from speaking up with confidence at work, even when we have a lot to say. But a lack of self-confidence doesn’t have to define you. Contrary to what many people think, confidence is not an innate, fixed characteristic. It’s an ability that you can improve over time. And with enhanced confidence come benefits. Confident employees are happier and more productive. When we feel better about ourselves, our work and overall performance tend to thrive. On the other hand, when you lack confidence, it’s much more difficult to stand out. Chances are you will be less likely to get the plum assignments or be considered for raises and promotions.
Not everyone is born with self-assurance, but it is crucial to your success. So if you feel it’s time to boost your confidence at work, these five strategies will get you on the right track.
Focus on your strengths
Have you ever heard that saying, “where focus goes, energy flows?” All too often, we focus excessively on our shortcomings rather than areas where we excel. Concentrating on your strengths can help boost your confidence at work because it requires you to acknowledge your abilities and successes. Try making a list of your strengths and achievements. And don’t hold back! If you have trouble, have a trusted friend or colleague help you. Then pull it out and reread it anytime you need a confidence boost.
Find confident mentors
Find people at work that you’d like to emulate. Then approach them and ask them if they would consider mentoring you. Observe how they communicate with colleagues and try mirroring their body language. Even if you lack confidence at work, practicing confident body language can increase your self-esteem and help you feel better about yourself. Adopting similar habits and postures will also help you project assertiveness and self-confidence.
Build on your skills
Feeling stagnant at work can erode your self-confidence. Instead, try learning a new skill or developing a specific talent further. For example, you might take a class or attend professional development training. Learning something new can have a lasting impact on your overall confidence at work. When you learn a new skill, you can immediately apply it to your job and improve your performance. It may also help increase your productivity and allow you to take on new tasks more confidently.
Change your inner dialogue
Another factor in building confidence is changing the way you perceive yourself. If your self-talk is consistently critical or judgmental, take steps to modify your inner dialogue. For example, you might practice self-affirming techniques such as focusing on all the recent successes you’ve had or writing down the professional skills you admire most about yourself. Pat yourself on the back when you exceed your manager’s expectations or complete a project ahead of schedule. Celebrating small wins will go a long way in increasing your confidence at work and helping you stay motivated.
Practice, practice, practice
The most important thing to remember is to be patient! Change takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. Start practicing the above techniques in small ways. For example, set specific goals like sharing at least one thought or asking a question in every meeting. Practice turning your inner critic into your biggest champion. Seek out positive work colleagues and mentors that support your professional development. By slowly moving outside your comfort zone, you will successfully build the confidence muscle you need to succeed.
Confidence at work is important not only for advancement but also for feeling happy and satisfied. So, challenge yourself, trust your abilities, and the rest will follow.