Self-confidence is a belief in yourself and your abilities. We naturally seek out this feeling in our work, in our relationships, in our personal lives, but rarely do we feel consistently, truly confident in all areas of our life. There are usually a few gremlins and defeating messages that sneak up on us from time to time, and the workplace is often a breeding ground for situations that strike a blow to our sense of self.
When we have confidence in ourselves at work, we tend to be more decisive, assertive, and take more initiative. We feel good about ourselves, our contributions, and our decisions, and may act a little more boldly. Others tend to also view us differently when we are self-assured, and will often support or be persuaded more easily by someone who exudes conviction in their views.
On the other hand, when we lack complete confidence we tend to over-react, over-think things, and procrastinate. We feel out of control, helpless, or out of our depth. And others perceive us as weaker, less capable, less reliable.
While blows to our self-worth can come from many directions, some of the typical issues that break down our confidence while at work are:
- Doubt we can do the job/task
- Too many competing opinions
- Difficult people
- Difficult conversations
- Lack of clear direction
- Doubt in our ability to make the right decision
- Lack of support
- Contradictory feedback
- Negative people / fault-finders
Try these five tips to boost your confidence at work:
Strengths – Get clear on your strengths, skills, and innate talents. Focus on these, rather than on any perceived weaknesses. Embrace your strengths and find ways to enhance them and leverage them to be successful at whatever you do. When you play to your strengths, you’ll be more confident in your abilities, and get better results.
Integrity – Make sure you know your own core values. What are the key principles by which you live your life? With every decision you make, and choice of action, check-in with your integrity. Are you being pulled to act against your values, are you in line with them? Working out of integrity creates deep-seated self-doubt, so keep your motivation up by commiting to act with integrity in every situation.
Accomplishments – Celebrate your accomplishments, even if no one else does. Keep track of your achievements, goals met, projects completed, and challenges met. Record them, and when your confidence takes a hit, pull out the list and remind yourself of all the great work you’ve done so far. This strategy also becomes an excellent career management tool, better preparing you for performance evaluations, raise negotiations, or updating the résumé.
Alignment – If you allow yourself to get distracted or derailed from your primary objectives and goals at work, you will find it more difficult to feel a sense of accomplishment. Well-written objectives help you to see your value to the organization, and how your work fits into a larger picture. Revisit your goals for the year, then be diligent about aligning your actions with your objectives.
Trust – The first four tips, when mastered, provide you with a strong center or foundation. If you can stay connected to that core of who you are and what you need to do, it will be harder to get knocked off your game or negatively influenced by others. Find ways to remind yourself of this foundation, then trust that if you are acting in congruence with your foundation, that you are doing what you need to be doing and in the way you need to be doing it.
It is important to differentiate self-confidence from arrogance. Arrogance is when someone displays an overbearing pride and sense of superiority. On the other hand, self-confidence combined with a dose of humility and a healthy respect for others and their opinions is a sign of a good leader.
Self-confidence is a great advantage in the workplace. Take the time to build yourself a strong foundation of strengths, integrity, accomplishment, and alignment with goals. Check for arrogance versus confidence, then move forward with trust in yourself and your abilities. You will enjoy your work more, maintain perspective, and gain greater success in your career.