Building Your Self-Confidence
Is your self-confidence sufficient to achieve the job and career success you want?
By David Cox, SHRM-SCP | March 27, 2018
Self-confidence refers to the confidence you have in yourself and your abilities. Those who struggle with inadequacies, whether real or imagined, often feel unappreciated and find it hard to succeed. The good news is that you can develop this all-important attribute with time and practice. It may not happen overnight, but once you get started, the benefits of building your self-confidence will become increasingly evident.
You can easily distinguish a self-confident person from others. They stand tall and proud as they answer questions in a clear and calm manner. When they speak, people listen because they inspire others around them. It should come as no surprise that confident people are often more successful at work and throughout their careers than those who are not.
How would you rate your self-confidence when working with managers, co-workers, customers, and clients? If you feel improvement is needed in this area, here are a few simple ideas that could yield significant results.
Keep track of your achievements
Start a notebook and write down each achievement along with the reason you feel it’s important. You may have closed an important sale, successfully negotiated an agreement, or resolved a serious problem with a customer/client? You may have received a raise, a promotion, or some other form of recognition. Any words of praise and encouragement you received from your superiors – write them down in your notebook.
On days when you feel down – and those days will come – flip through your notebook and re-read some of your achievements. They will serve as a constant reminder that you are a capable employee who can learn to accomplish anything and has already proven your ability to succeed.
Set realistic, achievable goals for yourself and stick to them. Set goals that will focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Remember, set your goals to be specific and measurable. If not, they’ll be little more than good intentions, which are unlikely to achieve anything.
Develop the habit of framing your goals in a positive way. Rather than saying, “I can’t possibly complete this project in less than two weeks,” try saying, “I can complete this project in two weeks.” This may sound simplistic, but goals framed in positive statements, that focus on what you can do rather than on what you can’t, are more strongly reinforced in your mind.
I’m reminded of the great automotive industrialist Henry Ford, who once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
If you lack self-confidence, you need to start managing the “self-talk” that goes on in your mind. Specifically, you need to eliminate your negative self-talk. You may feel your life and career experiences didn’t turn out the way you envisioned. Regardless, it’s time to forgive anyone you’ve blamed (including yourself), let go of the past, and move on. If you insist on being stuck in the past, that’s your choice, but you’re only hurting yourself.
Positive self-talk is practical and constructive. For example: “My past has already occurred and there’s absolutely nothing I can ever do to change it. Likewise, I can’t do anything about the career mistakes of yesterday, but I can learn from my past mistakes, work to do a better job, build my credibility, and position myself for future advancement.”
Don’t be afraid to set progressively higher goals and challenge yourself to achieve even more. As you do, your self-confidence will grow. Some people take three months while others may take six months or more. You’ll notice a difference in yourself within a matter of weeks and I guarantee you will be proud of the more self-confident person you’ve become.
Up next: Career Advancement Begins Now!