Be Brave: 3 Tips to boost your Career Confidence

What are you lacking the confidence to do? Where are not being brave? And why? Being brave is being true to yourself and what you want. It is being your authentic self.

We all know when we’re playing small – all those times we didn’t challenge someone who made us feel inferior, all those times we’ve held ourselves back from going for a promotion, or not going out of our comfort zone because we’re scared we might mess up. And it feels rubbish!

Recent research across a range of industries has shown that the top areas women lack confidence at work in are:

  • asking for a pay rise =43%
  • making a presentation or speech = 40%
  • networking =34%
  • being intimidated by a boss or other colleagues = 27%
  • competing with work colleagues = 20%
  • chairing a meeting =19%

These are all key areas to progressing and developing at work. Many you can’t avoid so finding strategies to boost your career confidence in these areas will be important for your career development

What’s going on?

Your fear and self doubt is kicking in, and you end up either:

  • Talking yourself out of taking action, talking to your boss, applying for a new job, etc. Your inner critic may kick in  and convince you you didn’t really want the opportunity anyway, or it’s the wrong thing to do or that you’re not good enough. The problem with this is how you feel afterwards – deflated, like you’ve let yourself down, taken the easy option or not pushed yourself.
  • Procrastinating – putting things on hold, putting them off, being indecisive, letting fate decide for you. You spend too much time thinking about all the things that could go wrong, whether you should do it or not, that the opportunity passes you by. You’re left feeling frustrated or stuck.
  • Avoiding opportunities – you know you could volunteer to present at the next team meeting, or lead the client feedback session, or act up while your boss is away but you ‘hide’ away, don’t let anyone know you’d like the chance and let someone else shine instead.
  • Not believing in yourself – letting your negative self talk erode your confidence and reminding yourself of times when things haven’t gone that well, rather than focusing on your successes.

It’s got to stop!

What can you do to increase your confidence?

Confidence is a skill that can be learnt so you can increase it.

  • Increase your self belief: start focusing on what you do well at work. Start an achievement journal to capture examples of things you are proud of, things that have been challenging, big and small successes, etc. This will also help with evidencing why you should get a pay rise or when you update your CV.
  • Rewrite your internal narrative: notice the story you tell yourself at times of stress or when faced with doing something new. Notice what you say about what you don’t like doing and what you’re not good at. Rewrite this as a more positive aspirational script of how you would like to be.

For example, if you say to yourself ” I hate networking- I’m no good at talking to new people” you could rewrite that as ” I know networking is valuable to me and my career development and I have the potential to engage with new people if I choose to.” Focus on this new script and repeat it to yourself to embed it – this is very important as it has to replace the negative script you have been repeating for years. Changing your mindset about how you approach something is very powerful and has  a direct impact on the outcome.

  • Get an accountability buddy: Having positive people around you can help you while you work on your confidence. Research tells us that positive and negative emotion are contagious so avoid the ‘moaning minnies’ at work and surround yourself with people who want to develop and have a positive approach to work. If there is someone you trust ask them to be your accountability partner to help you stay on track with the changes you want to make. If you set yourself goals, for example, I’m going to talk to my boss about taking on a new project or asking for a pay rise in one month’s time, it is much more likely you will do it if someone is holding you to account.

My MSc research focused on boosting career confidence so if you feel you need more in depth support on building your career confidence and fulfilling your potential, get in touch for a free clarity call.

Photo courtesy of Leio Mclaren at Unsplash.con

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