Confidence has a powerful effect in the workplace; it gives you the ability to take risks and advance faster, and it enables superiors to hand you extra responsibilities with peace of mind. If you feel insecure at work, training yourself to be more confident can transform your career. As with any training program, the process of building confidence uses small steps to achieve a larger goal.
Stop Negative Self-Talk
When you feel insecure, it's not uncommon to unleash a barrage of negative self-talk. Your internal narrative might say things such as "You're so slow at this task," "Everyone is going to find out that you don't know what you're doing" or "You're so stupid." Over time, your brain can accept these thoughts as truth or project them onto colleagues — an instant confidence killer.
The first step toward being more confident is to change your inner monologue. When you notice a negative thought, stop it with an emphatic "No!" Then re-frame the thought. Instead of "I'm an idiot," say, "That situation made me feel like an idiot, but I know I'm capable." If that's not strong enough, try a complete reversal from negative to positive. Change "I'm not good enough" to "I'm awesome, and I have the experience and skills to handle this project." It might feel silly at first, but convincing yourself of your abilities can go a long way toward being more confident.
Let Go of Shame and Embarrassment
Shame and embarrassment are the enemies of self-confidence. They can cause a variety of problems, from self-doubt to the fear of speaking up. The mere memory of an embarrassing incident can fill you with dread, making it difficult to behave normally in similar situations. If these feelings are holding you back from being more confident, it's time to let go.
Examine the problem incidents objectively. Were your actions wrong? If so, and you feel ashamed, identify the lessons you learned, and determine the best course of action in the future. If not, and you're simply embarrassed, show yourself kindness, and put the incident in the past. When you embrace your imperfections and learn from bad behavior, shame and embarrassment lose their power.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Self-confidence is not built in your comfort zone; it's the result of surviving discomfort. To become more confident, identify the tasks or situations that cause the most doubt. Each day, challenge yourself to take a tiny step out of the box. If you're insecure about speaking your mind in meetings, start by answering a single question. The next day, share a project update without being asked. Seal these moments in your consciousness by recognizing each effort and congratulating yourself on triumphing. Over time, these tiny successes create a snowball effect, building the confidence to take bigger risks and act in spite of your fears.
Becoming more confident is a process that requires deliberate, conscious actions. With time and gradual effort, you can gain the confidence to tackle challenges at work and in your personal life.
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