We all suffer from a lack of confidence at certain times during our working life. Lack of confidence rears its ugly head in a variety of ways. One person might be terrified of public speaking, while another person can feel inadequate and that they have got their job through chance, or luck, rather than through credit (even though this is not the case).
Here are some simple but effective resources to help you tackle your confidence demons.
Strike a Pose
Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk: “Your body language shapes who you are”
I am slightly addicted to TED talks. This is one of my favourite ones, as the advice is simple but incredibly effective. Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy explains how simple ‘power posing’ before entering a situation that you don’t feel confident about improves your body language and confidence in your abilities.
If you watch the talk and feel you want to know more, Amy has recently released a new book that explores the topic in more detail:
Celebrate Your Successes
We are usually our own worst critics. Instead of focusing on what you have to improve on and being hard on yourself for not being confident enough, take the time to recognise the many things you are doing well. If you are sent an email, or card from a colleague or friend thanking you for helping them, or for doing a good job, stick it into a notebook. If positive feedback is given in conversation, or on the phone, write it down in the same notebook. Do this every time you receive praise or recognition and soon you’ll have a book filled with a reminder of your strengths and positive qualities. Each time you start being hard on yourself, take a look in this book for a reminder of the many reasons you have to feel confident in your abilities.
Identify and Slay Your Fears
Susan Jefferson’s book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” has sold over 2 million copies and with good reason. Simple techniques and examples in the book help you identify and tackle the precise (and often irrational) fears that are stopping you from feeling confident.
One of the tips in the book is to create and use positive affirmations. This involves repeatedly saying positive comments out loud, that tackle your fears head on. The logic being that if you tell yourself something enough, you will begin to believe it. So, instead of thinking “I can’t handle my fears”, tell yourself, “I am handling my fears”, or “I am becoming more confident every day”.
Try writing down some positive affirmations on a post it note and stick them on your bathroom mirror at home. Say them out loud every time you look in the mirror. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this simple technique can make a difference to how you feel.