How confident and credible are you at work? Are you one of those self-assured people that others naturally trust and support?
Or do you find yourself ignored or overlooked at work? Are you worried about failing, because others don’t give you the support you need? Do you find yourself shying away from others, because you are concerned about what they may think of you? Do you take care not to step on other people’s toes? Do you need other people to believe in you in order to feel powerful? Are you secretly concerned that you may not be ‘good enough?’ Are you feeling trapped and frustrated because of your lack of self-confidence?
Why it is important to be confident.
“If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you can’t expect others to have confidence in you.” – Ruth Tearle.
A lack of self-confidence affects your credibility, and your credibility affects your career.
Dictionary.com defines “credibility as the quality of being believable and worthy of trust.”
If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to believe in you. If you don’t trust yourself, other people won’t trust you either.
How do you become confident and gain credibility are work? Work through the 6 steps to becoming confident below to build your confidence, your credibility and ultimately your career.
How to be confident and gain credibility at work.
Step 1. Know yourself
The first step to feeling confident about yourself, is to know and accept yourself. To get to know yourself, answer these questions:
- When do you feel confident and powerful?
- When do you feel insecure, not good enough, or trapped?
- What is preventing you from feeling confident, secure or powerful?
- Where do you feel you are ‘not good enough?’ What don’t you know? What skills do you not have? What information do you lack? What qualifications do you need to get? What feedback are you getting from others? What do you tell yourself?
- Who do you know in your field that is confident? What can you learn from him/her?
- What actions do you need to take stop feeling ‘not good enough?’
- What makes you feel happy and fulfilled?
- What is your dream? What goals do you have? Where are you going in your career?
Step 2. Be yourself. Never pretend.
People don’t trust people who pretend. They want you to be yourself. How authentic do you allow yourself to be?
- What type of people do you feel that you can be yourself around?
- When and with who do you find yourself pretending to be something or someone you are not?
- How do you feel about yourself when you pretend?
- If you had to follow the rule “Never pretend”, what would you stop doing?
- What would you start doing?
Give yourself a new motto: “Never pretend”.
Step 3. Trust yourself
We can’t expect others to trust us, if we don’t trust ourselves. If we believe we are not good enough, then others will believe it too.
People with high confidence, don’t let the fact that they are not good enough yet, to hold them back from becoming good enough. They know that whenever they want to learn something new, there is always a book, an article, a website or a blog written by someone who has done it before, or a mentor who can guide them. They know that if they commit time and energy to acquiring the new skills or knowledge they need, they will develop the skills they need.
To identify what you need to do, to be able to trust yourself, answer these questions.
- What areas in your work do you feel you need to learn more about? E.g. the organization’s strategy, the business, how finance works, or how other areas of the organization work.
- What skills do you need to develop to feel confident in your job? E.g. job related skills, networking skills, or marketing skills.
- How best can you learn what you need to learn? From a book, a course, an article, reading company documents, a mentor, or by gaining a qualification.
- What is the first small step you need to take to get you going?
Step 4. Practice small acts of courage.
“Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.” Wikipedia.
Often we don’t take the steps we need to take to be able to trust ourselves because we are afraid of something. Perhaps we are afraid of failure or of what others may say about us. So we put off signing up for a course, or asking a mentor to help us.
Without courage and action, our confidence wanes further.
Yet, by confronting our fears, taking action, and experiencing something new, we build our confidence.
A friend of mine became a pilot, even though she was terrified of flying. When I asked her how she managed this, she told me that a few years back she developed a list of 50 of her biggest fears. Then systematically, from the easiest to the most difficult, she set about conquering each fear. Today she is one of the most confident, yet humble people that I know.
Every time we do something to conquer a fear, we become more confident and powerful.
- What fears do you have that are holding you back? List them from small to big.
- What excuses do you use, for not confronting your fear?
- How do these excuses make you feel?
- Now tackle the smallest fear.
- How do you feel after confronting your fear?
Step 5. Build your own confidence.
Being confident is like being fit. You have to keep working at it.
- Don’t waste time seeking the approval of others. Or waiting for others to discover you, or believe in you. Rather take control of building your own courage and confidence.
- Each year, identify areas you want to develop. New skills. New relationships. New knowledge.
- Set some goals. Then identify the first small practical step you can take to begin moving towards your goal.
- Take action. Complete the first step. Sign up for a course. Read a book. Invest time in reading documents or articles. Befriend someone who is interested in the field you are interested in.
- Identify the next practical step and take action towards it.
- Then repeat the process. Do something small every day, until you have achieved your goal.
- Stop pretending. You harm yourself when you pretend to be something you’re not.
- Stop making excuses. Excuses waste your time, and make you feel bad about yourself. They also destroy your credibility with others.
Remember you can’t expect others to make you feel confident. Self-confidence comes from yourself. It comes from experience. The more small steps you achieve, and the more fears you overcome the more confident you will be.
Step 6. Reach out. Help others.
Once you know yourself, act yourself and trust yourself, you will be authentic. Others will trust you.
The more you use courage to tackle your fears, and take action to achieve what you want, the more you will build confidence in yourself.
Helping others builds trust and confidence in you.
Once you feel confident, recognize that there are other people out there who may need your help in achieving their goals.
Reach out to them in a spirit of “How can I help you?” As you help others to achieve what they want and need, you will get credibility. And your confidence will grow even further.
This is a guest post by Ruth Tearle, an international strategy and change management consultant and author. Visit the Change Designs website on www.changedesigns.net for more articles, practical tools and inspiration.