Have you ever looked up to someone and wondered how they became so confident? I do this all the time. There is something fascinating about the person who can stand up to their peers and tell them how it is without flinching a muscle or someone who give a sales pitch to 10 top executives without breaking a sweat. Every time I find myself mesmerized by these types of people I wonder how and when they became so confident. Was it after they landed a big deal? Was it something they have always had? Was it something that came over time?
We all know that confidence is a must for success in business and life in general. Having confidence makes it easier for you to connect with people and makes other people trust and respect you. While confidence is the key to success, it is not often easily obtained. I find myself struggling with having confidence every day. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you build your confidence that have worked for me:
1. Put Yourself Out There.
Sure, speaking up at a meet may be intimidating, but if you have something to contribute, then contribute. When you push yourself outside of your comfort zone you will find that confidence will follow. Just think, if you speak up in a meeting and your comment goes over well, wouldn’t that make you feel good about yourself? Of course! The more you put yourself out there and let your voice be heard the more confidence you will have. Don’t be a wallflower, be noticeable!
A lot of times I feel too nervous or shy to speak up, but I find that when I do my anxiety goes away. We all have situations or circumstances that intimidate us, but if we push ourselves through those situations or circumstances you will find that confidence will follow.
2. Don’t Always Assume That Other People Are Smarter Than You.
When I was in law school I always beat myself up assuming that others were smarter or better than me. I found that when a professor asked a question I didn’t know the answer to and a classmate answered correctly, I felt stupid and inferior. I remember one day being completely confused by the topic of damages in my Contracts class and crying myself to sleep after a girl in class got an answer I hadn’t even considered. While this sounds absolutely crazy, people think other people are better than them all of the time.
Think about it, have you ever looked at a colleague and assumed that everything they said was better or smarter than you? When you do this you are cutting yourself short and instantly shooting down your own confidence. Rather than assuming that Suzy Q is smarter than you, focus on yourself and your own growth. If Suzy Q does something amazing in a meeting, learn from it and try to make yourself better.
The more you realize how smart you are the more confidence you will have. Stop focusing on others and focus on yourself.
3. Have People You Can Turn To.
It is always important to have people you can go to when you are feeling down, have a “stupid” question, or just need some advice. These people need to encourage you and make you feel better about yourself. Try not to associate and rely on people who tend to be suck-ups or yes-men. These people will always tell you what you want to hear, and that is not what you need. What you need is a tight-knit group that will be honest with you and help you grow personally and professionally.
Being that I am so young and new to the work environment, I haven’t quite found my tight-knit group yet. When I find that I am upset, scared, or nervous I turn to my husband, my non-lawyer friends, or my mom. The people you turn to don’t need to be in your field, they just need to have your best interests in mind.
4. Help Someone Else.
If you find that you don’t have anything to do offer to help someone around the office, in your neighborhood, or at the local charity. The more people you help the better you will feel about yourself. This “help” doesn’t always have to be work related. Just helping out your local charity will give you the boost you need to be more confident in yourself. I find that helping people always makes me feel like I am contributing to society and valued by those around me, which in turn gives me more confidence.
5. Wake Up Every Morning And Say Something Positive.
We all wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. It is in those very moments that a positive thought will get you through the day and bring back your confidence. One of my good friends used to tape inspiring quotes all over her bathroom so that when she got ready in the morning she would see them. At first I thought this was a little strange, but when I found myself reading the quotes as I got ready in her bathroom it all made sense. The quotes make you happy about yourself.
When you are feeling down about your recent work performance, about your health, or about working that day, just telling yourself “Today is going to be a good day,” will make everything a little easier. Positive thoughts about yourself always lead to confidence.
6. Work In An Encouraging Work Environment.
A person could have all the confidence and positivity in the world, but if they work in an environment or for a person that always brings them down the confidence won’t last long. To be the best worker, the best person, and the most confident that you can be, you need to make sure that you are working in an environment that promotes growth and positivity. Who wants to deal with a boss that yells all the time or with coworkers that constantly put each other down? Not me.
7. The Sky Is The Limit.
We all have big dreams. A lot of times I find myself day dreaming about my career ten years from now. I dream about being a great attorney, a fictional writer, a renowned blogger, and a role model for young women. While some of these things may happen, others won’t and I know that. If I spend my time focusing on the fact that it is hard to get a fictional novel published then I won’t take the time to actually sit down and write one. If I focus on the fact that it takes a long time to build a blog fan base I may be discouraged. Rather than focusing on the “what if’s,” it is important to focus on the many possibilities. Dream, and dream big. It is those dreams and the hope for a great future that will give you the confidence you need to be great in business.