Confidence is not something you have. It’s something you can create. It’s a habit.
I know we all experience insecurity, anxieties, and challenges at work no matter what field we’re in. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you to overcome these and assist you in becoming more confident at work.
I’m a sucker for a good motivational quote (yes, as cheesy as they CAN be!). One of my favourites is from Richard Branson: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes and then learn how to do it later”.
There are some opportunities that you just need to say yes to, to accelerate your work goals. If there is an opportunity to learn something or grow in a certain way, say “YES”. If you do take the leap and say yes, even when you are uncertain of exactly how, and if you can, then choose to figure it out. You are placing POSITIVE pressure on yourself to HAVE to figure it out. Now, if you said no? What happens? You lose not only the potential opportunity but also the opportunity to learn, stalling an opportunity for career growth and progression. If you say no, you’re not learning or developing your skills.
However, when you say “yes” you have created that positive pressure. You need to assess; how long do I have to learn it? You make a plan. You get focused. You have gained an invaluable opportunity to develop your skills. Confidence is built from the foundations of a positive mindset of “I’ll find a way to learn how to do it”. I’ve been lucky enough at Optimum to have been offered several opportunities to progress and step up into new positions in new areas. I said yes because I knew I’d force myself to figure it out. It’s not arrogance. It’s not being cocky. It’s accepting what you don’t know, but having that hunger, that drive to learn.
Yes, of course, it can be a risk but from personal experience, it is absolutely worth it and it can be incredibly powerful. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t have said yes to new opportunities. There are so many skills I wouldn’t have developed if I had said no. Confidence then comes from understanding your own abilities and qualities, and this will only continue to increase as you create new ones. Saying yes has allowed me to gain so many new skills that I didn’t possess when I started at Optimum 4.5 years ago.
Speak LESS during unintelligent conversations
A prime example of this is office gossip. We all know it happens and I’m sure we’re all guilty of it at some stage in our career. When I say unintelligent conversations I don’t mean intellectually, I mean emotionally. If people are gossiping, criticizing something, being negative or toxic: talk less. By not chiming in and talking negatively or complaining saves you potential stress and hassle and helps create a more positive work culture.
And can we truly bond with our coworkers if all we do is complain and speak negatively? Can you bond with anyone over speaking badly of others? Do we want our bonds at work to be based on gossip? Or criticism? No.
And I guarantee that if you criticize people with people; those people will criticize you with other people.
Ask more questions during intelligent conversations
Now, on the opposite side of the spectrum, when you’re around intelligent conversations ask MORE questions. Often when we are in meetings or having work conversations, rather than listening we tend to think about what we can say to appear intelligent, smart and useful. When really we should be focused on listening as this provides the opportunity to learn and to ask relevant questions that demonstrate not only that you have been listening but also your interest and respect to those who have been speaking. Be prepared and have some questions ready that are relevant to the topic of the meeting/conversation.
By doing this, you will learn and become smarter. And funnily enough, you will be perceived as more intelligent because you’re being curious and taking a genuine interest. Intelligence isn’t necessarily shown through intellect and knowledge. It’s about curiosity and intrigue.
This leads me to my next point…
Another quote that I find interesting and relevant is from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
If you want to be confident discuss ideas. Discuss routines, practices, habits etc. Discuss your vulnerabilities, what you want to work on. It will make you more competent.
Don’t gossip or talk about other people. Talk about ideas and ways to improve.
Focus on improvement/learning, not perfection
My last point is around focusing on the journey rather than the destination, as cliché as that may sound.
We think of confident people having it all ‘sussed’ out. They know exactly what they’re doing. They ooze confidence. They’re killing it at work and winning.
However, focusing too much on chasing perfection can be detrimental. If you chase perfection and feel like you’ve reached it then that can create complacency, OR you feel you will never reach it and that can create feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. You will possibly end up either complacent or overly critical of yourself.
BUT when you focus on improvement, the benefit is that it is something that can always be realised and is something that can be measured, therefore allowing you to achieve tangible results that work to further increase your confidence. When you focus on learning, upskilling, and improving you develop enthusiasm, you gain momentum, excitement, and new experiences. You’re constantly moving forward. This creates confidence.
I hope you find these tips helpful and can start to implement them into your daily work routine. Just remember, confidence is something YOU create and it’s a skill that you will continuously develop.