If you feel underconfident, you are not alone. LinkedIn recently published research, based on interviews with nearly 12,000 people across 19 countries worldwide which, showed that Irish women lack career confidence when compared with our international counterparts. This lack of self-belief, without a doubt, impacts career progression. So how do you move from a place of low confidence to one of success?
Not an easy question, but there are some simple things you can do to start building career confidence:
Stop comparing yourself to others
We all ruminate about how somebody else is better looking, thinner, taller, earns more, is more successful or a better networker. Not alone is this thought process time-consuming and ineffective, worse still it decreases motivation and depletes your confidence. In fact, you become so obsessed with others you forget who you are. Instead, get yourself a journal, choose the same time every day, set a reminder on your phone or PC and for 21 days record something you have done well, a compliment or jot down an accomplishment. This simple exercise focuses the lens inwardly concentrating on what you are currently doing well, what you have achieved in the past, and helps identify areas you want to develop. Not alone does this exercise build self-confidence, it simultaneously increases your motivation and self-belief.
Embrace failure as your friend
All too often, we are our worst critics and also our worst enemies. If something doesn’t work out, or we feel that we have done a less than a perfect job we berate ourselves, often repeatedly. Sometimes we are not happy even when we’ve done a good job. Instead, we think we should have done better. STOP. Everyone, yes everyone, makes mistakes, misses a deadline, messes up or isn’t happy with an outcome. Rather than wasting time giving out to yourself, put a plan in place to learn from the experience. Sit with your mentor, a colleague, a friend or a team member and put a plan in place to do better the next time. Dissect, understand and learn. Not the nicest of feelings but the best learning curve is to improve based on failure. Put a performance plan in place, set goals with deadlines and follow through and bring about real significant improvement. By doing this, not alone do you build your confidence, but others see you as resilient and hardworking.
Remember, confidence is a skill
We always hear successful people have an innate belief in their ability to succeed coupled with a strong faith in their capacity to overcome challenges. In a word, successful people are confident. But what we often forget is that self-confidence often replaces what were once feelings of fear and self-doubt. Why? Because confidence is a skill and just like any other skill, it improves with practice and patience. So, for the next three weeks take one small extra skill every day you want to improve and prioritise it. Set aside 15, productive uninterrupted, minutes every day and diligently dedicate it to that task. As you begin to practice, the skill of networking, become more productive or upskill, you build confidence. As you master one skill, add another and keep going. With each new skill, you build your confidence will soar.