How to Build Confidence at Work – 6 Steps You Haven’t Tried
We spend the majority of our adult lives at work – in fact, the average British employee will spend 84,365 hours working over the course of their lifetime. With so much time attached to our jobs, most would prefer to spend it in as comfortable, productive and fulfilling a manner as possible.
Sadly, many people's days are instead filled with the fear, stress, and self-doubt that come from lost confidence at work. We all face circumstances that cause us to doubt ourselves from time to time, but if this lasts for a while, it can create a vicious cycle of negativity that limits your potential at work and throughout life in general.
Do I Have Low Confidence at Work?
"This presentation is going to go terribly"
"I messed up something on that project, I'm sure of it"
"If I ask for help my boss will think I'm an idiot"
"I'm not cut out for this job"
Do these thoughts ever cross your mind when you're hard at work? Then it is likely that you are lacking in self-confidence, which in turn could heighten feelings of anxiety at work.
This lack of confidence at work could be an ongoing struggle you've been handling since you started, or it could have been triggered by a recent event, like a change of responsibilities or a mistake that you made. Whatever the reason, having no confidence at work can create a spiral of low self-esteem that limits your potential to grow and your overall job satisfaction.
If you'd like to learn how to be confident at work and take back control of your future success, these six techniques can have a significant impact on your approach to your work and give you a more positive perspective in your professional and personal lives.
How to be More Confident at Work – Our 6 Suggestions
Change the language you use
Our confidence and self-esteem are often tied to the language we use day-to-day. For instance, if you find yourself using words like 'can't', 'impossible' or 'but' a lot as part of your workplace vocabulary, then you're placing limitations on your ability and creating excuses rather than solutions.
A subtle but definitive change in what you say can be a real boost to your confidence at work. For instance, instead of saying "I can't", change this to "How can I?" With just a small tweak in your phrasing, you've set yourself a challenge rather than an obstacle, encouraging you to work out a solution. Over time this positive framing will improve confidence at work and build belief in your abilities.
There's no such thing as a stupid question. A significant amount of stress at work can be avoided by simply asking a question when you don't understand something. Many people worry that asking questions is a sign of weakness to their superiors, but you should never be afraid to ask for support. It's far preferable to do this than completing the work incorrectly, which could drop your confidence at work even further.
It can be tough to build up the courage to ask questions, so start small with a colleague or friend to start with. Then, the next time you're assigned a task, ask the person who gave you the job for more clarity, even if you've understood everything perfectly. This will develop a good habit and reinforce that asking questions is not admitting weakness - in fact, it shows the person you're asking that you're keen to do this job the right way.
Keep your successes close
Feelings of low confidence at work often cause people to focus on the mistakes they've made and forget about the success they've enjoyed along the way. Everyone makes mistakes and experiences peaks and troughs across their career, but giving more attention to the rough times can leave confidence on the floor and leave you too focused on the consequences of making a mistake again.
When you have an opportunity at lunch or at home, take 10-15 minutes to list some of your accomplishments at work. Remember that deadline you made without breaking a sweat, or that idea you suggested in yesterday's meeting that everyone liked? You'd be surprised at the number of great things you've done in your career, and keeping these close to your heart will help raise your self-worth and ensure you build confidence at work.
Knowledge is power
When we perform better, confidence naturally goes up. So, if feel there are gaps in your knowledge that are causing you to struggle with self-confidence at work, then plug those by learning new skills and staying informed about the latest goings-on in your industry.
It could be soft skills like improving how you communicate or organising your workspace, or more specific skills related to your job role. By picking up new tricks that improve your ability to work, you'll feel more assured day-to-day, less anxious about upcoming tasks and increasingly confident about your future success.
Dress to impress
What you wear can have a decisive impact on your behaviour and confidence in the workplace. Many people form emotional connections to their clothes and wearing them can help generate positive feelings. For instance, maybe you have a suit that you feel makes you look intelligent, or a blouse you consider lucky because you passed a test in it.
Focus on wearing clothing that fits you well, suits your working environment and expresses your personal style. Dressing this way will make you feel more comfortable in your setting and impact other people’s impressions of you. Just spending a couple extra minutes in the morning deciding on an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself can be a simple step in building confidence at work.
Don’t beat yourself up
Finally, it’s important to be kind to yourself. We tend to be our own worst critic, and amplify our mistakes internally. However, this cycle of negative thoughts make it difficult to progress and find success, leading to lost confidence at work. So challenge these beliefs with the knowledge you have, the lessons you’ve learned and the milestones you’ve reached.
A vital step in a more positive self-reflection is taking a healthier attitude towards mistakes. They help us learn and improve, helping us grow as people the next time we’re faced in that situation. Nobody is perfect, and it’s important you don’t feel you need to be. Instead of letting your mistakes eat away at your self-confidence at work, analyse them, figure out what went wrong and move forward with the experience and knowledge you’ve gained.
Are you struggling with confidence in the workplace?
Improving confidence in the workplace is key to making the most of your potential and striving towards success, as well as feeling happier and more satisfied in your professional and personal life. Your work-life balance is a delicate thing, and when one side suffers as a result of negative feelings, the other side will feel the effects as well.
If your loss of confidence at work has been a persistent problem, or you struggle with self-esteem in a variety of situations, talking about the issue with someone can be the first step in feeling better.
At Therapy for You we can help you overcome a lack of confidence at work and in life generally through our range of talking therapies and psychoeducational courses. Our treatments get to the root of your low self-esteem and introduce coping mechanisms and helpful thought patterns to challenge this negative perspective and boost your confidence.
For more information on how to build confidence at work and our available courses, speak to a member of our clinical assistance team on 01268 739 128.