A limp handshake, lack of eye contact, and shaking voice: sound familiar? If you don’t feel confident in yourself, you may have trouble presenting yourself in an effective and professional way. Whether we like it or not, moving up the career ladder and achieving your professional goals often depends on more than just your work: it’s also often based on the way you carry yourself and interact with others.
I offer wisdom to the timid, but hopeful, worker about the importance of confidence in the career world and how to build it up every day.
Advocating for Yourself – how can you be expected to sell yourself if you’re unsure of your own capabilities? Confidence in your experience and work can help you to recognize what you’re worth and make it easier for you to explain your impact to superiors. This will help you secure promotions, raises, or new jobs.
Taking on New Projects –feeling sure of yourself and your work can help you feel comfortable taking on new, exciting projects and getting your name out there. The more opportunities and responsibilities you take on, and the more coworkers you get the chance to work with, the better the impact on your career and network. Thus, it’s crucial that you have the courage to challenge yourself and take on new things.
Working Well With Others –confidence in your own strengths and a realistic understanding of your weaknesses can make it easier for you to collaborate with coworkers and teammates. This is because effective teamwork is based on the understanding of everyone’s role and a trust in their abilities to fulfill it. Self-assuredness will also allow you to more effectively delegate responsibilities without feeling threatened or appearing controlling.
How to Boost your Confidence
- De-stress. Anxiety is one of the main causes of negative thinking and low self-esteem. Be sure to find effective ways to calm down and de-stress before major work events in order to arrive prepared and confident. Mindful activities like meditation have been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels and can be completed in just a few minutes. Alternatively, deep breathing exercises or physical activity can also help calm your mind and body in order to focus on success.
- Look Professional. Dressing to impress goes beyond what you wear. While a well-tailored outfit and clean pair of shoes can go a long way in demonstrating your professionalism to others, they can also help you feel confident and assertive. In fact, studies have found that professional dress can impact our thinking and even our heart rate. Wear a professional but situation-appropriate outfit to put your best foot forward with confidence.
- Encourage Yourself. Although it may sound a little cliche, you have a surprising amount of control over your own self-confidence. Research has shown that positive activities like self-affirmations and power posing have the ability to alter our mindsets and boost our confidence. Continuously reminding yourself of your skills and positioning yourself in strong ways can create a habit that makes it much easier for you to find confidence in yourself when needed. Try experimenting a bit at home to find what works best for you.
- Expand Your Knowledge. If you truly struggle with professional confidence, there’s no better way to feel more comfortable in your career than by strengthening your knowledge in the field. Consider attending conferences with peers, obtaining a professional certification, or meeting with other professionals to discuss industry changes and insights. Honing your skills and learning new aspects of your career can only boost your professional wisdom and should give you an effective toolkit on which to base your confidence.
Your career growth is up to you and it’s your responsibility to prove your value to others. Be sure you’re doing everything you can to improve your confidence so others can see and understand what you bring to the table.