Psychologists tell us that the way we feel is based on the way we think.
And the way we think – especially about ourselves – stems from several areas of our lives, from our upbringing to our self-talk. Undoubtedly, our level of self-confidence is a good predictor of our success in the workplace.
But what about those of us who may not have the confidence in ourselves or our abilities that we really ought to? Or those of us who just need – well – more confidence?
If this sounds like you, then you may have experienced one or more of these challenges:
- A stagnant career or being overlooked for promotion
- Having someone else take credit for your ideas or hard work
- Being bullied or harassed in the workplace
- Trapped in a role in which you are overqualified and underpaid
You’re not alone; I’ve met many people who are worth so much more than they’re earning, or could be really winning at life, only they lack the self-confidence to take the first step.
Why Do I Lack Self-Confidence at Work?
Understanding the root of the problem is a great place to start. While I don’t purport to be a psychologist, there are some basics that we can explore together, some of which may resonate with you.
Could it be that the problem lies less with you and more within the office culture?
At some point in our career, there is every chance that we will work for a boss who is negative, critical and impossible to please. This is a sure-fire way to erode the confidence of the individuals in a team. When it seems that you can do nothing right, your self-worth is likely to plummet.
There is also what has been termed the ‘pack mentality’ of an office. Peer pressure, people-pleasing and underlying job insecurities have been known to cultivate a spirit of unhealthy competition where employees are intentionally undermined by their colleagues.
Do you feel that you are underqualified for your role, or that you lack the skills needed to really perform at your peak?
Is technology moving too fast for you, or are you simply too busy to upskill?
Do you envy those people at work who can tackle complex tasks, stand up for themselves and speak out comfortably in a meeting?
You, on the other hand, may have been knocked down a few times and simply won’t put yourself out there. Maybe you’ve made mistakes on the job, you’ve been criticised or struggled with a task or a project. Some battle to stay focused and productive because of the constant niggle of self-doubt.
How Can I Improve My Confidence?
Considering the above reasons for floundering confidence, let’s look at a few ways to kick our self-worth up a notch.
A Toxic Office
Ask yourself honestly, can I do anything to change the perspective, attitudes or actions of my boss or colleagues? If the answer is no, then it may be time to move on. Constant negativity and a poisonous working environment will harm more than your confidence!
Time to Upskill?
These days the only constant is change, so it’s important to examine your current skill levels and look for ways to improve. There may well be an area that you can specialise in and become the go-to person in the office.
Most good companies will encourage ongoing learning and training, but outside of that there are dozens of websites which allow you to learn in your own time. For example, Udemy, Alison, MIT and so many more have a range of courses (including soft skills) – many of which are free!
The human mind is an incredibly powerful thing, and once you’ve learned to tap into how it can affect you – for good or bad – then you are on your way to controlling it.
How I Can Help You
There is no quick fix for building confidence. However, if you are stuck in a dead-end job and looking at a career change, or you would like to get ahead in your current role but cannot self-promote then I can certainly assist you.
We will work together on some of the following:
- Building self-awareness
- Eliminating negative self-talk
- Knowing and understanding your innate strengths
- Knowing your weaknesses and working on them
- How to build self-belief by monitoring your small wins
- Making use of your social support structure
- Building up your emotional radar to understand and empathise with others