How to Boost Your Confidence at Work
We all have days when you don’t feel your best — when you start questioning and doubting yourself. In fact, many psychologists will agree that self-doubt is a normal part of the mind’s psychology. But what if your self-doubt starts interfering with your ideas at work? The importance of self confidence at work is the key factor that will keep pushing you upwards in the trajectory of your career. It is tied into your self esteem, and how you value yourself — and if you don’t value your own opinions it will be difficult for your professional peers to do the same. We talked to self confidence consultant and The Tao of Self Confidence's Sheena Yap Chan to get her insights for tips and tricks on ways to boost your self-confidence at work — and how to could start working on these strategies today.
Self acknowledgement — recognizing your own workPraising yourself doesn’t come naturally, especially when we are typically raised to avoid bragging about ourselves (for fear of being impolite). Take some time out of your day to write down your positive accomplishments in life and in your career. The more we acknowledge our good deeds and our accomplishments, the more we can recognize our own value. When you begin to realize that you have value, and your thoughts and ideas should be heard at work, you will be more willing to speak up during those meetings or pitch those ideas to your manager.
Pro-tip:Sheena recommends keeping a “success log” which is a journal of all your work-related accomplishments and successes, no matter how big or small. “I’ve written down simple successes that I’ve done, whether it was sending an email that I was scared to send, or it was an article that I’ve written,” Sheena says. “I go back to that and I read what I’ve done in my work history, and I realize ‘okay, I’ve done all this so far, now what else can I do?”
RELATED: 13 positive affirmations to start your day.
Ditch the negativityNegative self-talk is a sure way to make anyone feel bad about themselves. It’s also unfortunately an easy habit to fall into — especially if you’re feeling doubtful about your actions and abilities at work. Just as practising negative self-talk is a habit you might have procured; positive self-talk is a habit you could start doing today.
Pro-tip:To cut out the negativity, try shifting your negative thought and re-framing it in a positive way. “If I say, ‘I look ugly today’, I’ll switch my thought right away and say to myself ‘no, I look great today.” Sheena continues, “the more I can practice doing that, the better I can cut out that negativity and switch it to a positive feeling right away, just by thinking the opposite.”
Bring the positivityIt’s easy to say, ‘just be positive’ — but how does someone actually do this? It could be as easy as smiling more and tricking your body into feeling good (remember Ally McBeal). And it could also mean that you incorporate positive affirmations into your daily positive self-talk. Tell yourself you can do the task, and that you are the person that can handle the job ahead of you, and you will reap a wonder of positivity into your workday.
Pro-tip:“One of the things that I do to stop negative self-talk is I think of affirmations and say them to myself. Because it’s true, you can’t be confident all the time. Everyone has their good days and their bad days,” says Sheena. What are these affirmations? “I say three things to myself: I am loved, I am worthy, and I am enough. And I keep telling myself that until I feel good,” Sheena explains. Sheena also acknowledges that positive self-talk doesn’t come easy. “When you first start saying these affirmations, it’s going to feel weird because you’re not used to it. But the more you do it the better you get at it, and the more it will help combat those low-confidence nerves you have inside.”
Practice your passionTo be able to bring more confidence to your career, try building your confidence outside of work and develop a hobby or practice doing something you love. Any time you invest into your own self growth will be time that will help build a balance to your life, and with that comes an extra boost in confidence about your ability, in general.
Pro-tip:Whether it’s your side-hustle or just a hobby you like to keep, Sheena agrees that doing something you love outside of work generates more confidence in you. “When you work on yourself outside of work, it translates to all aspects of your life,” she says.
Feed your curiosityIf you’re feeling like you are lacking confidence at work, there might be a simple fix to your problem: get the education on what you don’t know. Learning is a life-long process and the more we know, the more we can assert ourselves as experts in our field.
Pro-tip:There are so many resources online, from short how-to videos from Lynda.com, or an inspirational class from Masterclass, or an online-course at an accredited school — make for easily fitting further education into any busy schedule.
SEE ALSO: Finance lessons your parents should have taught you (but expect you to know anyway).
Adjust your attitudeIs your glass half-full or half-empty? Adjusting your attitude and outlook on life can greatly change the amount of confidence you feel at any given time. But what about those times that you can’t seem to get out of the low confidence funk you’re in? We say to try faking it until you make it. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s focus on how body language shapes who you are, suggests that when you physically change your body pose (sitting upright, power posing), you also experience a positive mental change that makes you feel worthy, capable and confident.
Pro-tip:We asked Sheena whether she believed in faking it until you make it. “Depends on each person," says Sheena. "Some people can fake it and use that type of confidence. And for others, it’s just very uncomfortable. I do believe that it depends on the situation and how you go about doing it.”
RELATED: The most honest celebrity quotes about body image.
Fail betterEven the most successful and confident of people have experienced failure. Failure is part of the journey in attaining success. With this type of mentality, aim to take your failures in stride and take away the most learnings you can from each misstep. The more you confront your own mistakes, the more you will be able to proceed in your life, and your career, with confidence.
Pro-tip:“You know, it’s like we’re in school and we’re so afraid to put our hand up and say something stupid. You’ll never end up saying anything at all," she says in response to fear of failure in the workplace. "And most of the time your idea is actually better than you think. So just go for it, and share your ideas and your thoughts at work, because taking a risk is better than not knowing at all.”
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: What to do if you hate your job.
Start prioritizing yourselfBy organizing and prioritizing your work load, your career goals, and your personal goals, you will start to create a roadmap of your daily tasks and your life, which can lead to greater brainstorming of more goals you’d like to attain both personally and professionally. A greater boost of productivity will leave you feeling accomplished, and will give you a greater sense of confidence in your capability.
Pro-tip:Start to employ the “1 Minute Rule” by Gretchen Rubin, where you complete those work tasks that will only take you a minute to finish (think, answer an email, fill in a form). By doing this you start freeing up your time to dedicate longer windows to bigger projects, and you create a manageable workflow for your day.
RELATED: 11 ways to improve your self-love now.
Dress to impress...yourself!We almost had you! While the validation of getting a compliment on your appearance is a definite ego-booster, the true confidence you can feel from feeling good on the inside is priceless. Taking care of yourself — whether that is going to the gym, wearing your favourite lipstick, or wearing your favourite blazer — is a sure way to have you feeling great. And when you step out into the world, already on your best foot, you are more prone to taking a chance on yourself and your own ideas (and sharing them with the world).
Pro-tip:Sheena shares a fun trick when it come to style, “I have a confidence colour, which is red.” Sheena goes on, “I only wear three colours, which are black, grey and red. But red is my primary colour. If I have a headshot to take, or I’m going to a party, I gravitate towards my confidence colour because I know that I feel my best in that colour.” What's your confidence colour?
It's a processWhile these confidence tips are a good starting point, just remember that building confidence is a lifelong process. Adding behaviours to boost your self-esteem and confidence in life and in your career is about turning them into habits. And once you get in the groove of thinking and feeling confident, it will become your second nature to be a confident person. So, keep trying!
Pro-tip:Sheena weighs in, “having self confidence is like a journey you take — you are always going to have various challenges that you have to face. Life is not linear, it’s more of a roller coaster ride where sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down. And I especially believe that you need to be okay in your own company to get to that confident space in your life.”
RELATED: 20 must-have work clothes items in your wardrobe.