Written by: Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Being confident at work doesn’t come naturally to everybody. Thanks, negativity bias! We obsess over our perceived failures, beat ourselves up, and act as though our challenges are permanent and fixed.
But if you relate to that, then luckily there are actionable steps you can take to help you improve your confidence at work, as well as your happiness, positivity, and overall emotional wellbeing.
1. Eliminate negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk can become so habitual and ingrained in us that we don’t see the full impact that it has on our confidence, performance, and overall emotional wellbeing.
Learning to recognise negative self-talk so that you can acknowledge it, counter or re-frame it, and ultimately reduce it is a vital skill for confidence-building. It’s okay to have areas for development, gaps in your knowledge, and skills you want to improve on, and actively making the effort towards doing that should be regarded positively.
Your abilities are not fixed, therefore your difficulty in one area does not need to be incorporated into your identity or sense of self. Practice makes progress!
2. Be proactive in learning.
Linking with the point above, commitment to learning is something to be regarded positively.
Actively looking to learn new skills, take opportunities when they arise, expand on your knowledge and gain more experience is a desirable trait to the majority of employers, and hugely rewarding for employees. It shows initiative, drive, and dedication, which is a strength in and of itself.
If you struggle when you first start learning something new, that’s okay. Nobody can reasonably expect you to be perfect, or even good, from the get-go. Trying and learning is more than enough.
Try setting yourself SMART goals for your professional development in order to foster, measure and track your progress.
3. Ask for clarification.
Asking questions and getting clarification on a task or brief is something that many employees struggle with due to having that ingrained perfectionist mindset or a fear of looking incompetent.
However, asking for clarification on what you’re expected to do is totally reasonable, and preferable to struggling and doing the wrong thing out of uncertainty.
When you have a good idea of exactly what is expected of you, you will naturally feel more confident and assured when you come to doing it. Plus, it is then easier to identify any gaps in your knowledge or experience that are hindering you, which you can then pro-actively build on.
4. Reflect on your successes.
Reflecting on your successes is just as important as reflecting on and identifying your areas for improvement.
Employee recognition is an important part of any healthy workplace, as feeling valued and appreciated for the work we do is incredibly motivating and conducive to confidence and happiness at work. So it’s important to recognise ourselves personally for the work we do and the things we achieve.
Minimisation is a cognitive bias that means we as humans have a tendency to gloss over our successes, achievements, positive traits or praise in order to contort to the narrative that we are incapable or unworthy. It can have a big impact on our confidence and how we feel about our work performance.
At the end of each workday, write down at least one ‘win’ from that day – no matter how big or small – as an antidote to habitual dissatisfaction.
5. Stop defining your self-worth through your work performance.
There is more to you as a human being than your performance at work.
While there is nothing wrong with striving to do well, building on your skills, and wanting to progress in your career, positioning your work performance as the be-all-and-end-all of your value brings unnecessary extra stress and bulldozes over the nuance of you as a person.
It can contribute to very black-and-white, perfectionist ways of thinking that damage your emotional wellbeing and hinder both your productivity and self-development. Work on adopting a more holistic view; a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.
Think about other areas of your life – your values, your passions, your relationships, your personal goals, your self-care. How do these inform your sense of self?
Bonus number 6: Hire a coach.
In order to give your confidence at work a boost, consider investing in yourself, your personal development, and your future by hiring a coach.
A coach is somebody whose main purpose and focus is to inspire confidence in you, to help you to clarify your goals, tap into your potential and become the best version of yourself.
You also get the benefit of additional support and a dedicated space to explore your feelings, goals, and limiting beliefs so you can begin to unpack them and form a healthier worldview and self-image.
Struggling with your confidence, purpose, or happiness at work can be challenging and isolating, so having somebody there to talk to can alleviate some of that stress and empower you to make any necessary changes.
Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Claire Elmes is the founder of Inspire You and is passionate about work-life balance. Having experienced burnout, Claire is dedicated to empowering people to work through stress and anxiety, traumatic life events, shift mindset, regulate emotions, gain clarity, and develop a stable routine. Through coaching and therapeutic techniques, Claire helps people tap into their potential and transform their lives for the better. Since Covid 19, Claire has recognized many companies are changing how they work and is supporting them to develop innovative well-being strategies to prevent staff burnout and help teams thrive, not survive. Claire provides companies with regular well-being support on a wide variety of topics such as: "How to avoid burnout", "How to make time in your week for what matters", "How to stop overthinking", "How to improve sleep", " How to manage imposter syndrome," "How to be the best version of you", to name just a few. Claire's mission is to empower the emotional well-being of staff and bring the fun back into work life.