If you have low self-esteem or your confidence has been threatened in some way, here’s what the experts say you can do to strengthen your backbone and boost morale.
Stay focused on you
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, says you should do the best you can to stay on-task and focused, regardless of politics, rumor mills or non-productive maneuvers that are as common as the office water cooler. “Confidence emerges from time-honored good work combined with a great attitude,” she adds.
Identify your strengths and capitalize on them
“One of the best ways to build confidence is to get clear on your strengths and find ways to integrate those strengths into what you do every day,” says William Arruda, a personal branding expert and author of Ditch. Dare. Do! When you lead from your strengths, you’re engaged and energized. You’re self-assured.
Identify weaknesses, and work on them
If there are weaknesses that are affecting your confidence, make a plan to reduce or eliminate them, Arruda suggests. You shouldn’t obsess these things—but know that addressing your weaknesses and making a diligent effort to overcome them can help boost confidence.
Believe in yourself
It may be easier said than done, but try to tell yourself “I can do this,” and believe it. Arruda suggests saying three affirmations to yourself each night before going to bed–telling yourself three things that you like about yourself or three things that went well that day.
Closely monitor your successes
Keep track of your daily accomplishments, Taylor says. Make a “to-do” list. This way, when you cross tasks off your list, you’re more aware of your constant achievements.
She also suggests keeping a digital “kudos file” to record your successes. This is where you can store congratulatory e-mails, milestones reached, kudos from bosses or peers, notes to yourself on challenges overcome, thank you letters, and recognition and praise from inside and outside the company. “Refer to the file regularly for a reality check of your talents and a personal pat on the back. It’ll also come in handy when you launch a future job search.”
Seek encouragement from others
Ask people you respect what they think are your three greatest strengths, Arruda says. “Then find ways to use those strengths.” Dr. Katharine Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career, says, “Get feedback from colleagues, friends or even your supervisor about how you are doing. Ask them to identify your strengths and places where they’d like to see you do more. Sometimes other people see more talent in us than we recognize in ourselves.”
Accomplishing things that you didn’t think possible can be a great way to boost your confidence. Find projects and assignments that give you an opportunity to use your strengths and take on projects that stretch you, says Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach and president of SurpassYourDreams.com.“Try something new, even if you’re unsure or afraid,” Brooks adds. “Take baby steps if needed, but begin to immerse yourself in the new project or activity and see how it goes. Try to refrain from judging your performance too early in the process, or comparing your performance to someone who has been doing that activity for a much longer period of time.”
Be a role model of positive attitude
Develop a positive attitude, Brooks says. Positive doesn’t always mean “happy”– it can also mean resilient. “Focus on how you can provide solutions rather than spend a lot of time discussing the problem.” Taylor adds, “Workers are drawn to those with an upbeat attitude, especially when challenges emerge, and it can start with you. It’s contagious, even with your boss, and it will project confidence as you make this part of your ‘personal brand.’”
Carefully consider how you react to your boss’s and colleagues’ actions
“One of the most effective ways to gain confidence is elevating your emotional radar in the workplace,” Taylor says. “Read through the actions of your boss and co-workers, especially when they affect your self-confidence. Understand that they may be acting out in ways that we are all capable of, like children or even toddlers, when under stress or frustrated. “Once you use this “levity lens” and see human beings protecting their turf or ego, or wanting praise like children, you will respond more appropriately, versus suffering in silence or blaming yourself. “Try parenting up without patronizing under these circumstances. This will empower you and engender confidence, which others will want to emulate.”
Category: Career Central