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How to Build your Career Confidence and Resilience in a Crisis (Part 2)

How has the lock down impacted your career confidence and your resilience?

In Part 1 of this series we looked at what was happening to us during the crisis and our responses to that. This time we’re focusing on 3 simple techniques to build your career confidence. This is important because right now with all the uncertainty your career confidence is probably taking a hit.

Often people think we are born either confident or not but it’s about 50/50. 50% nature and 50% nurture, which means there is lots of scope for development. But you do have to keep working at it, especially now. Presently you’re probably finding it hard to focus on just you and your career. Even if you can find 10-15mins per day then you can focus on one of the techniques I’m going to share.

What is your biggest career confidence issue right now?

It’s probably one of these! Career confidence can plummet if we experience any of the following:

Redundancy – we often feel it’s personal – ‘why me?’ and you may think it’s somehow linked to your performance.

Furloughing – when you have time away from your role, and you’re not actively using your skills or connecting with your colleagues you can begin to experience self doubt and question your abilities.

Working from home – being separate from your boss, colleagues and clients can mean it feels harder to connect, to get recognition or feedback. You may miss the stimulation and support from others and this cna impact your productivity.

Lack of opportunities – feeling that your career is on hold or that your stuck can impact your confidence. You feel you can’t progress, you can’t leave and you can’t change career or job.

3 Easy Career Confidence Techniques to Give you a Boost

Here are 3 simple techniques, rooted in positive psychology, that you can try out to give your career confidence a boost:

Keep an Achievement Journal

This will build your confidence and provide evidence that you can use to remind yourself of why you are in the job you are in. When the doubts creep in you can instantly access lots of examples of when you have performed well. This is also a way to begin the process of internal validation –recognising that you do have what it takes to do the job.

Grab yourself a new beautiful notebook and spend 5-10 mins everyday capturing at least one achievement in your notebook. An achievement is simply something you have done with a good outcome. It could be a deliverable, a conversation, taking an action or… It could also be a piece of feedback from someone else.

Record it and reflect on it – notice what skills you used to make this happen successfully. Gradually increase the number of achievements you record each day. Enjoy re-reading them.

Replace Negative Thoughts with a Positive Statement

We’re not our thoughts but sometimes our brain works damn hard to convince us we are. If you give negative thoughts such as ‘I’m not as good as they think I am’ or ‘I can’t do this, I’m not good enough’ airtime then they will constantly erode your confidence and perpetuate feelings of doubt.

You need to rewrite the script. Choose a positive statement to replace the negative thoughts with. It could be something as simple as “I am skilled and experienced, and good at my job.”

Neuroscience then tells us we must create a new neural pathway to embed the positive thought. What do I mean by neural pathways – well in the brain we have ‘well-trodden’ thought patterns.

It’s useful to think of these are a field of grass. Imagine you come to the field and on the first day you walk across the field you leave a slight indentation, the next day you return to the field and walk the same route, and the pathway becomes more noticeable. By the end of the week the path is very visible and so you walk that route every time you come to the field because it is routine.

So, it is with our thoughts we’ve created pathways that mean when we’re presented with a challenging situation we immediately think ‘I can’t do this’. With our new positive statement, we must create a new pathway across the field and let the grass grow up around the old one.

This will take conscious effort and hard work. You will have to be conscious of your negative thoughts and work hard to replace them. It’s tempting to go onto autopilot and follow them down a familiar route so resist the urge and create a new response.

Focus on what you have done, not what you haven’t

In the lock down you probably have learnt new tech, home-schooled your kids, hosted a zoom get together, developed new ways of connecting with others, and lots more. Congratulate yourself for what you have managed to achieve in these strange times even if they feel like a small achievement.

Then identify 3 new actions you could take to boost your career. For example, identify a new project to get involved with; raise your profile in your company; update your CV; reach out to your network or something else. Taking a proactive and conscious approach to your career now will give you a sense of agency and control.

Think of career confidence as a muscle that you must keep working on in order to support you. While you might need 45 mins at the gym to keep your actual muscles healthy, you can probably spend a quarter of that time focusing on your career confidence using just one of these techniques.

In Part 3 we’ll be looking at how to develop resilient thinking to support your career confidence. You can watch my webinar Build your Career Confidence & Resilience in a Crisis here.

For more ideas on boosting your career confidence read Be Brave: 3 tips to boost your confidence or sign up for my FREE career confidence booster or book a call to discuss how coaching can make a difference.

Photo courtesy of Prateek [email protected]

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