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Five steps to help you overcome fears and improve self-confidence at work
Seize career opportunities by building self-confidence
You spend a large part of your life at work – so you should feel fulfilled and comfortable with it. However, lack of self-confidence may stand in the way between “just a job” and your dream job.
Unfortunately, it seems that women have a harder time to assert themselves in business and in life. Often, they end up earning less than their male colleagues even when covering the same function and delivering the same performance; it is also more difficult for women, depending on the industry, to be promoted to top management positions. What prevents the promotion if not outdated corporate structures? According to a study from the Arizona State University, women are simply less confident in themselves.
What is the reason for lacking trust in yourself – and what can you do about it?
Self-confidence is nothing more than trust in one’s own abilities, including the ability to learn new things and to grow. However, your career opportunities reduce significantly if you:
- Compare yourself to others
- have a tendency to underestimate yourself
- Fear failure and change
If you are stuck somewhere in your path, you can blame others like your superiors, your parents, your colleagues, the environment and bath in self-pity. Or realize that it is only up to you to take a different path.
If you are serious about your intention, you will set about to get better each day and finally get out of your shell
Use every day as the opportunity to deal with yourself and to improve. To grow. Moving up in the career ladder is usually not a matter of luck. Strong-will, discipline and courage are also essential to succeed.
Realizing that you lack confidence is not enough. Introspection is useless if you don’t act upon it with discipline. But then again, discipline is only effective if your goals are crystal clear and you know in which direction to move.
Self-confidence builds up with achievements
Every positive experience, every small achievement, every hurdle that you overcome each day will help you to become more aware of your abilities and to feel more confident and proud of yourself.
Wasn’t that the case at school or university? One exam after another – the diploma as final goal.
It’s no different at work: If you want your professional life to move forward, you have to be proactive and do something about it: make a realistic plan and approach your goals step-by-step.
These five steps will help you overcome self-doubt at work
1 ° – Always prepare well: practice, practice, practice
Knowing that you have done your homework, will give you a sense of comfort.
Get help from a trusted person if you can (mentor / trainer / teacher / friend …). With this person you can rehearse and gain confidence for when you have to perform in public.
This special person or mentor will be around you and always in your mind to reassure you whenever your counterpart or a particular situation triggers stress in you.
2 ° – Face your fears until they have no longer power over you
Sometimes negative experiences or destructive feedback have much deeper impact on our mind than praise. And the memory remains. And paralyzes. At this point, many prefer to avoid trying to break out: the mere idea of going through the same bad experience or feelings is almost unbearable.
The first step is then to recognize the fear, to name it and to confront it.
What are you afraid of exactly? Making mistakes, embarrassing yourself, fail, talking to your boss or losing your job? Feel your fear and question it: what’s the worst that could happen? This gigantic fear often becomes small when put in relation to the potential outcome. What if it goes well? Take the courage to do what you really want. Courage does not mean not to be afraid, but rather to overcome fear.
3 ° – Stop apologizing or justifying yourself – mistakes happen, and that’s a good thing
You have the necessary qualifications and competence, otherwise you would not have got the job. Keep improving your skills, knowing that there are always things that sometime might go wrong.
Along your growth path, accept well-meant feedback and immediately implement helpful advice that will bring you closer to your goal. But don’t allow nasty criticism to hold you back. You cannot please everyone; and you will always make mistakes – this is total normal and also the best way for you to learn.
For sure, no one will believe in you, unless you do.
4 ° – Focus on what you are good at – every day
You are valuable and so is your performance. Be always aware of that and market yourself accordingly. If you do a good job or have great ideas, talk about it. False modesty will not get you anywhere in your professional life.
5 ° – Take responsibility and grow with the tasks
This is the only way to gain self-confidence and visibility at the same time. You and your contribution will be noticed if you perform well, show commitment and share innovative ideas.
Always do your best, try, find solutions and learn in the process.
Also check your surroundings, get rid of habits and people that drag you down and look for a positive environment which encourages you. This way you draw strength from positive energy and this will have a huge impact on your motivation.
Motivate yourself with these three exercises over and over again
THE TOP TEN LIST
Write down 10 points stating why your company should be happy to have you as an employee or why your customer is lucky to have found you to assist him.
What you are good at, is often taken for granted on the job. So, every now and consider for a moment how well you have done certain tasks and what skills you proved to have.
YOUR DAYLY ROUTINE
Establish a morning routine and schedule appointments so that you don’t start the day under pressure.
As of tomorrow, begin your day with 10 minutes of gymnastics! Your work will feel easier and you will be more relaxed during the day. Why?
– Relaxed, stretched muscles
– Improved blood circulation
– Reduce stress level thanks to proper breathing and posture
– Better mood thanks to the release of happiness hormones (dopamine)
Start with an easy warm-up, stretching and breathing exercises, followed by our favourite exercise: push-ups! With push-ups you improve both posture and strength endurance and counteract back problems in a positive way. Make sure you have correct posture and slowly increase the number of repetitions.
Control you fear in 30 seconds: You are about to start your presentation and you would rather sink into the ground instead? Take 30 seconds for yourself, breathe calmly and deeply, close your eyes and concentrate on counting from 30 to 0. At “0” you go-ahead and start.
Avoid these three pitfalls
1 – Do not keep running against the same wall
Does this sound familiar? Do you keep doing the same thing expecting of achieving a different result and then you are annoyed that the result you hoped for did not occur? Latest then, you should realize that it is time to try a different strategy.
2 – Pretend to be someone you are not for everybody else’s sake
A typical mistake, especially among young professionals, is the need to please everyone and always say yes. So, they ignore their real interests and preferences, not daring to say what they really think.
Break this cycle by owning your opinion, always expressing your concerns politely but firmly, and staying true to your own character and inclinations.
3 – Focus on failures and give up because of them
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself and what images you are creating in your head: stop criticizing yourself and using harsh words. This does not mean ignoring reality. No, it means just acknowledging that we all have these days when everything goes wrong and the world is stupid, and the hoped-for results leave much to be desired. So what! Bury your head in the sand whining that you’re too stupid? No, rather tell yourself, I didn’t solve that very well today, but I’ll try again and do it differently.
And last but not least, the ultimate TIP
If you want to learn to trust yourself and ultimately to assert yourself in your job and in life, we can only advise you to start with bodywork.
Yep! It’s that simple: if you are fit, you feel more comfortable and satisfied with yourself.
Nothing new, you might think now: Every coach, no matter in which life issue, will ask you to do so. Yoga and meditation, for example, are very trendy; definitely a good way to develop mental and physical condition.
However, if you lack self-confidence, a martial art can provide even better support:
There are hardly any sports that train body and mind more comprehensively and push beyond your comfort zone. As you improve strength, coordination, endurance, speed, and flexibility, you also free your head. You switch off. The training will soon have an impact on your posture. And all along, you will learn to fight, to assert yourself more easily and to cope with setbacks.