The office can be an intimidating place, and because of that you can have a lack of confidence at work. Whether you're just starting out in your career and working an entry level gig, just got a promotion and aren't quite comfortable with your skills, have brilliant, talented people working with you that make you feel intimidated, there's all kinds of reasons that will make you feel a lack of confidence. Sometimes we sit in an office meeting and feel completely non-plussed, are handed a project into our inbox and are certain we'll wreck it within minutes, or are asked to present an idea and feel like we're a third grader trying to pitch to an adult. It's uncomfortable and makes you want to reach around for a brown paper bag to rapidly breath into.
But the thing is, that feeling is usually all in our heads. Granted, none of us are pros coming into a new job, but things are almost never as dire as we project them to be. There's a reason why you were hired and hold the position you have, which means your boss and the company believes in your abilities. So you should to! Below are seven ways to gain confidence at work.
1. Get Out Of That Cozy Comfort Zone
Sticking close to what you know seems like common sense when it comes to not rocking the boat at work and looking like a fool when you fail, but getting outside of your comfort zone is actually what makes you more confident in your abilities.
Career writer Anka Wittenberg from Entrepenuer suggested, "Volunteer for a project that will help you build new skills. Apply for a job that feels like a stretch but matches your interests. Sign up to present or speak at an event and tackle your fear of public speaking head-on." By reaching for skills that are a little bit outside of your comfort zone, you prove to yourself that you can handle bigger, badder things.
2. Ping Pong Away Any Negative Self Talk
Mistakes happen, and we're all constantly in the middle of a learning experience. Because of that, you should take any mishaps at an easy pace, promising to learn from your errors rather than bullying yourself over making any. If negative self talk enters the picture, ping pong it away and replace it with a kinder, more understanding dialogue.
Lifestyle writer Beth Burgess from Lifehack offered, "Talk to yourself kindly, and encouragingly, rather than ragging on yourself for making mistakes. A positive mindset will help you learn more easily, which will boost confidence." Don't be the person that tears yourself down — be gentle!
3. Blast The Confetti Canons
You know what will make you feel more confident? Knowing that people in the office think you're a competent, hard worker that gets results. And in order for that to happen, you're going to have to toot your own horn sometimes and share the accomplishments and small wins you made for the company.
Business writer John Brandon at entrepreneur site Inc explained, "...you can build your own confidence by pointing out, in a matter-of-fact way, that you were the one who accomplished something for the company. It makes you more confident because you get into the habit of self-rewards and self-acknowledgement." Not only are your office mates aware that you can rock projects, but you yourself understand that you can handle high pressure, important moments like a boss.
4. Use Criticism To Your Advantage
Rather than letting criticism tear you down a couple of pegs, use it as a confidence builder by vowing to work on those weak points that were exposed.
Brandon advised, "If someone attacks you and says you need to speak up at meetings, accept the feedback. Speak more. The process of growing when you hear negative comments is what can build confidence." Knowing that you're working on becoming a stronger professional by accepting feedback only makes you feel more secure in your job.
5. Keep Learning
Not knowing how things work or how projects are supposed to be played out can make you feel on shaky ground. Because of that, if you're constantly polishing new skills, learning industry moves, and keeping up with news and tips, you'll feel well informed and better prepared, which makes you feel more confident.
Burgess pointed out, "A sure-fire way of being more certain of what you’re doing is to learn more. Read up on the latest research to enhance your knowledge. Knowing how and why certain practices and processes work can boost confidence in your ability to do them." Knowing the ins and outs of your processes will always make you feel more secure.
6. Speak Up
The words we use play a big part in what we believe we can and can't achieve. Because of that, make sure you're not using limiting vocabulary when describing your performance or abilities.
Burgess explained, "If you’re walking around all day saying 'I can’t…' you’ll find that you are closing your mind to solutions. Instead ask yourself, 'How could I…?' Finding effective solutions will boost confidence greatly." Taking the word "can't" out of your vocabulary will make sure you don't accidentally limit or cut yourself down.
7. Act Like You Already Have All The Confidence
We all know the phrase "Fake it till you make it." It's popular for a reason — it works! Often times we don't give ourselves enough credit and would rather believe we're average/ on the cusp of failure rather than over-sell ourselves. But that only ensures that we limit ourselves and act unsure over what we're capable of.
So in order to gain confidence, act like you already have it. Wittenberg explained, "You are more competent than you know. So act like you know it all!" Give yourself the credit where it's due, without "but"s and justifiers. Once you start faking confidence, you'll begin to adopt it.
Keep these tips handy, and when you come into work tomorrow, get off the elevator with your head held a little higher. You're a boss lady, and you can slay the job you have.