A couple of weeks ago I asked what content you would like to see more of, and one thing that came up was confidence at work. Which got me to thinking, because confidence is like a muscle. There is no magic trick or pill that you can take. Confidence is something you have to build on. And trust me it also doesn’t just “stick” one day either. You will have to remind yourself to be confident.
Whether it’s the confidence to speak up in meetings, the confidence to ask for a promotion or the confidence to quit and/or pursue your dreams. It won’t ever not be at least a little bit scary. However take on your fear once, and then twice and it gets easier. How? Here are a couple of ways:
1. Know what you want and why. Confidence comes from being sound and sure in your mind of your outcome and your cause. Or as I’ve previously mentioned, your mission. Be strong in what you are going for and do not back down.
2. Do not (I repeat, absolutely do not!) wait until “you are ready”. In fact take action before “you are ready.” We are still wired like our cavemen selves to be fearful of stepping into the unknown outside the cave for fear of being eaten by a mountain lion. But we don’t have to deal with that anymore! We are hard wired to be cautious of the unknown. Wait until you are ready and it may not happen. Or, someone else will do it in your place. The classic example used in self-help and business books is the person who has a great idea in a board meeting but is too scared to put their hand up for fear of being laughed at. Person to their left says it instead and they get a promotion. “Being ready” (in a work sense) is your mind’s way of keeping you safe in the cave. Don’t wait! Don’t hesitate: go for it!
3. Fake it ’til you make it. Well if you can’t wait until you’re ready, then you have to fake it to an extent right? Stand tall, shoulders back. Smile widely. Shake hands firmly. Reach that hand high. Put on that suit that makes you feel like a billionaire or the red lipstick that makes you feel powerful. 80% is in the “can-do” attitude.
Bonus: if you’re having an “off-day”, keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway! Send that email, finish that content draft, fill out that form. You are human at the end of the day, and you are allowed a low day. But don’t stop. Sending that one email will feel enough to get you back on track again.
And if you’re ever really stuck, talk to someone about it. I message my family, knock on my housemate’s door or pick up the little journal I bought as part of a 28 day business challenge and write everything into there – but I don’t ever read it back! No time for dwelling!
No one you think you can talk to? You know where to find me! Let’s chat!
What other advice would you give?