There are several simple ways in which we can improve our confidence and esteem at work and in other areas of our lives. The following six strategies are in addition to those found in a previous post. Are there any you can apply immediately? If so, practise it daily until it becomes a habit. Know that humble self-confidence and positive self-regard are critical to your over-all success.
Socialize with Positive People: One of the foundations of self-esteem is a sense of belonging which, in no small part, comes from our relationships with others. Toxic and negative relationships pull us down. The opposite is true as well, positive and affirmative relationships pull us up. I have witnessed many people who have improved their self-esteem and confidence when they turned away from negative and damaging relationships. People who approach life positively want to extend others a hand up, take it when it reaches out to you.
Smile: A smile does wonders, even when you don't feel like smiling. Try this exercise: Close your eyes. Think of something that angers or frustrates you. Then put a smile on your face. How does that make you feel about what angers you? It's hard to focus on the negative when you're smiling. Some people have suggested faking a smile. The saying goes "fake it until you make it." Faking a smile sometimes has a positive effect, but if you fake it make sure it isn't plastic as people will detect that your smile is indeed fake. A better course of action is to make your smile genuine. When you feel genuine on the inside your smile will be genuine on the outside. Your eyes will sparkle as well. In most instances others will respond in kind or at least go away with a good feeling about what they just saw and this in turn will enhance your own self-esteem and confidence.
Take Small Steps: Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of a project - it seems so big we have difficulty in wrapping our head around it, so we put it off. What to do? Break down the project into sizable bites. Don't put the project on your to do list as a project, e.g. Work on Project XYZ." It's much better to identify the specific activity you can achieve today that will bring you one step closer to completing the project, for example: "clarify the objectives of XYZ project," or "complete the specific task (name it) of XYZ project." That way at the end of the day you can check off one more task towards completion. This will give you confidence going forward.
Strengthen Skills: Sometimes our confidence is shaken when we find that we lack a skill or we don't have the knowledge to do a piece of work. This may seem like a no "brainer" but take the time to learn and don't let a mistake tear you down. A mistake is a just another learning opportunity. Learn by: practising a new skill outside the workplace; taking a course or workshop; or asking for help from your manager, colleague or friend. All great leaders and high achievers continually hone their skills. Hone yours and build confidence in the process.
Know Products and Services: Take the time to understand the products and services for which you are responsible. Our self-confidence may be weakened when someone asks "how does this work?' and our response is "I don't know." We are expected to know everything about the products and services we deliver, that is why we need to continually update ourselves about them. If we don't know how something works then ask someone who does and learn from it. Do some homework around the products or services and become a professional expert on the matter. The more we know about something the more confidently we can explain it to others.
Confront Fear: Fear is the big elephant in the room when it comes to a lack of self-confidence. Fear comes in many forms: fear of failure, fear of what people might say, fear of hurting someone, fear of dealing with anger, fear of making a sale, fear of ________ (you fill in the blank). The best way to deal with fear is to understand where it comes from and why it makes you fearful. The great thing about fear is that we can do something about it. Remove the elephant by first affirming that fear by itself won't harm you and then take small steps to overcome it. Gradually fear will disappear and be replaced with a greater sense of self confidence.
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Marie Curie
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC -- Up-dated from the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.
Image from Microsoft Clip Art