It’s normal to feel anxious when starting a new job. Most people naturally worry about whether they’re good enough, question whether they’ll fit in, and struggle with everything feeling uncertain. To ease your fears and anxiety so you can make the impact you were hired for, what you need is to quickly build your self-confidence. Here are 5 helpful ways to feel more self-confident and less anxious in your new role.
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Ways to Feel More Self-Confident By Adopting 3 Key Mentalities
Self-confidence isn’t something that miraculously comes to you once you’ve achieved something. It’s created from within as you journey throughout life. And honestly, it’s built out of failure more than success (more on that in a minute). That’s why your mindset matters (and why my first three recommendations deal with strengthening your mentality).
#1: Build a Strong Mind Through Growth, Learning, and Mental Resilience
Out of all the ways to feel more self-confident in a new job, this is the most important one. Building a strong mind is about doing what’s necessary to cultivate a growth-oriented and mentally resilient mindset. One that enables you to:
- get comfortable with not knowing (and normalize “new”);
- be mentally resilient when things don’t go as planned; and
- better manage and prevent stress (helping you to get back on track more quickly).
Why Growth and Learning?
Although you were hired for a purpose, the simple fact is that you don’t know much about:
- the new company culture and how to navigate it appropriately;
- the people and how to best manage, lead, teach, and learn from them; or
- exactly what’s expected of you.
What you need is to learn (and to do so relatively quickly). The best way to do that is by proactively adopting a growth-oriented mentality. This mindset helps to increase self-awareness and makes you more willing to ask questions (including asking for help).
Not only that, but this mentality will enable you to take some calculated risks so that you don’t get paralyzed by fear of failure or what others will think of you. And it will also help you to learn the most you can from any failures (which are certain to occur along the way).
How Failure Leads to Increased Self-Confidence [and More Success]
One of the best ways to feel more self-confident is by failing… and then getting back up and moving forward. When you fail and then keep going, your self-confidence increases because you know that you can get through just about anything (and that failing isn’t the end of the world).
Part of this is about being willing to fail in the first place. The rest is about being willing to speak up and try new things. Doing this often leads to some level of failure. But that’s how you learn, isn’t it?
For more about this growth-oriented, fail-forward mentality and how to cultivate it properly, read How To Begin Feeling More Self-Confident After You’ve Failed.
Why Mental Resilience Is Important
Mental resilience is about how you deal with stress and adversity. The more resilient you are, the better you are at dealing with and bouncing back from stressful and/or difficult circumstances such as a divorce or illness (and even a new job!).
Mentally resilient people:
- don’t get stuck in negative thinking when things aren’t going well;
- bounce back from adverse events more quickly than others; and
- manage to be more positive in the face of difficult situations.
The reason for this is that they proactively adopt strategies and exercises to increase self-awareness, manage (and even prevent) stress, and change how they relate to their thoughts (which is the most important part).
How you think – and how you relate to the thoughts you have – determines your behavior and how other people perceive you, which means that your thoughts influence your outcome.
How to Develop Mental Resilience
One of the ways to feel more self-confident by increasing your mental resilience is through mindfulness. There are many ways to do this, such as through a regular gratitude practice, regular meditation, and even through journaling. The key is to figure out what you enjoy doing so that you’ll be consistent (because these practices only work if done regularly over a period of time).
Not only do these practices help to drastically reduce stress, but they also work to change how you relate to your thoughts so that you can be more mentally resilient.
For a step-by-step guide on how to start implementing mindfulness strategies into your life for increased mental resilience, download my valuable guide below. You’ll get 8 proven strategies to help you transform inner chaos into calm self-confidence (and feel more in control of your life):
#2: Cultivate a Mindset of Service Through Curiosity
You know the saying “curiosity killed the cat?” Well, it’s not really true. One of the most under-valued skills is curiosity (and yes, it’s a skill that can be cultivated and strengthened).
Admittedly, you don’t know much about your new environment, the people in it, or how to best navigate within it. It’s time to get curious about EVERYTHING.
Adopting a growth-oriented mindset will get you started (after all, you can’t truly learn if you’re not curious about what you need to learn). But I want you to go ever further.
Curiosity isn’t just about asking questions. It’s also about listening deeply and intently without any preconceived ideas on how you can best help (i.e., you need to also shut up and listen). This is what will help you gain understanding about how you can best be utilized, as well as setting you up for optimal long-term success.
So, how do you get truly curious and listen (without getting caught up in trying to prove yourself)? Become a servant leader.
Servant Leadership 101
Servant leadership was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf, and is defined as someone who first and foremost wants to serve (and aspires to lead through service).
You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you in a new job. After all, you’re new and want to get your bearings before “leading”. And perhaps you’re not in a true leadership position.
What you need to know is that:
- leadership has nothing to do with your title; and
- you can be a leader without knowing everything.
True leadership is about how you behave. And you can behave as a leader from the get-go, especially if you strive to be a servant leader. Servant leaders are good at boosting engagement, building relationships, and increasing trust among team members. And that’s something you want (and can do before you know much about the company or it’s people).
How to Increase Curiosity, Be a Servant Leader, and Ask the Right Questions
It’s time to get curious about the people you work with and the company mission. Start asking questions about the skills and strengths each person brings to the table. Observe them intently. Find out where they most need help. Ask about the company mission. Gain understanding around short and long-term goals of your team and company.
All of this is intelligence you can use to better serve your employer, its employees, and its customers. And better yet: it will show you how to leverage your skills for the biggest positive impact. By taking action based on solid information (with the goal of serving others), you’ll quickly feel more confident about how you fit in and how best to do your new job.
[Take It Further: Read Become More Self-Confident at Work To Improve Your Leadership: 5 Surprising Tips].
#3: Talk to Yourself [Differently]
Self-confidence is really about your thoughts… what you believe about yourself and your abilities. How you speak to yourself has an impact on how you think.
We all have an inner critic – a voice that loves to chime in (usually in the most inconvenient moments) and say things such as:
- you’re too old;
- you don’t know enough to try that;
- people will make fun of you; and
- it’s better to play it safe than try something new.
Although this inner critic is a safety mechanism, meant to help you stay out of harm’s way, it’s also holding you back. This voice is often based on distorted thoughts that aren’t based in reality. It’s time to go head-to-head with this voice and challenge the thoughts and fears behind it.
Challenging Your Inner Critic, Fears, and Doubts
When it comes to challenging your fears and doubts (and the thoughts behind them), you need to know that:
- There’s no such thing as being completely fearless. Fear will always be there – and is sometimes warranted (so you don’t really want to be free of all fear). The trick is identifying those things you should be fearful of (versus unrealistic fears) and then learning to move beyond them so that they don’t keep you stuck.
- You can change how you relate to your fears and the thoughts that are generated by them. This is key to building self-confidence and acting with courage (despite still having fears).
- Although some fears will never go away, you can greatly diminish most of them by facing them head-on.
The problem most people have is that they try to ignore their fears (and pretend they don’t really exist, even though they do) or they push them deep down. Most people don’t like the vulnerable feeling fear gives them.
But here’s what you need to know: not facing your fears gives power to your inner critic. It’s how fear takes control of you. The key to diminishing (and even vanquishing) any fear is to face it head-on and challenge it.
I previously wrote an in-depth article on facing, challenging, and moving past your fears so that you can act with confidence and courage (instead of allowing yourself to continue to be held back by them). Here’s where to find it:
Change Your Inner Dialogue
Instead of allowing your inner critic to take control, treat it as you would a friend (or family member) who’s always pointing out the negatives. And remind yourself that this friend is often overly dramatic.
Here’s how to face your inner critic and change your internal dialogue:
- Acknowledge your inner critic. Tell it that you understand it’s trying to protect you yet likely going overboard.
- Separate your inner critic from you. Remind yourself that you aren’t this voice (consider giving it a name).
- Identify and challenge what it’s telling you. List all the reasons why it’s wrong, distorting the truth, missing the potential positives, and/or leaving something out.
- Finally tell your inner critic that it can go away (because it’s done the job it set out to do).
Remember, much of what’s causing you to feel less confident is self-doubt and fear created by the negative dialogue going on in your head. Changing how you relate to these thoughts and feelings is one of the most powerful ways to feel more self-confident and in control.
Ways to Feel More Self-Confident Through Simple Self-Care
#4: Redefine What Self-Care Is
Being in a new job, with new people, while trying to figure out how you best fit in is stressful. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize self-care.
Yet that’s hard, isn’t it? When starting a new job, it’s easy to push self-care to the bottom of your to-do list so that you can spend as much time as possible focusing on getting adjusted in your new position. But that’s the LAST thing you want to do.
Self-care is vital to your health and happiness. And it’s necessary if you want to show up as your best self. Ask yourself how you show up in the world when you’re not taking care of yourself (spoiler alert: not well).
How to Re-Think What Self-Care Is
Most people think of self-care as:
- something they *should* do;
- taking a lot of time and energy (they often don’t have); and
- being selfish if put before serving others.
I know I talked about being a servant leader (and I stand by that). But here’s the thing: you’ll never serve others well if you don’t care for and respect yourself first.
Taking care of yourself is about your own mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Self-care is about respecting yourself, which is why it’s directly linked to self-confidence. By not taking good care of yourself you’re creating a confidence gap.
Still having trouble prioritizing self-care? Read 5 Reasons You Feel Guilty About Taking Care of Yourself (and What to Do About It).
Self-care doesn’t have to be super time-consuming. Do you need regular exercise and to eat regular healthy meals? Of course. But truthfully, neither of these needs to take a bunch of time. There are plenty of quick and effective workouts and healthy meals are some of the simplest (and therefore least time-consuming) to prepare.
When thinking about how to take better care of yourself, don’t forget to include activities aimed at your spiritual and mental/emotional well-being. There are plenty of ways to do this creatively while having fun (and while spending time with loved ones).
Think about what you need mentally/emotionally, physically, and spiritually to feel and be your best (so that you can serve others to the best of your ability). And consider how you can combine self-care categories in one activity.
For example, you might meditate while on a walk (or running, biking, or swimming). Think outside the box and get creative!
#5: Surround Yourself With (the Right) Support
Starting a new job is lonely. That’s why you need to surround yourself with supportive people who will:
- help relieve your stress;
- be a sounding board for new ideas and help you through situational problems; and
- support you in an open, honest, and loving way.
Sometimes you might need to vent (with no feedback at all). And other times you may need to get a different perspective – or advice. Given the various roles you need filled, it’s important that you include a variety of people in your support group from both your personal and professional life.
You might even consider hiring a coach. A good coach will act as a sounding board, assist you in leveraging your strengths, and help you identify and plan around weaknesses.
No matter who goes into this group, be sure it includes only people whom you trust, who you can be open and vulnerable with, and who will be honest with you (in a kind, non-threatening way).
Ways to Feel More Self-Confident
Now that you have 5 powerful ways to feel more self-confident in your new job, it’s time to put them into action. Here’s how I recommend getting started:
- Put a personal development plan of action together that prioritizes self-care and incorporates mindfulness exercises geared toward increasing mental resilience.
- Identify the questions you need to ask so that you can gain more knowledge about your employer and the people you work with. When doing this, remind yourself that the goal is to SERVE them (as opposed to worrying about your lack of knowledge or trying to prove yourself). By adopting this mindset, you’ll learn more (and get the best information possible).
- Develop a plan of action for how and when to best gather the information you need.
- Put a support group together to help you with your transition.
And don’t forget to download 8 proven strategies to better manage (and prevent) stress, increase mental resilience, and change how you relate to your thoughts. These simple yet powerful exercises will help you to quickly take control and transform inner chaos (and anxiety) into calm self-confidence. They’re a great way to better take care of your mental and spiritual well-being too!
Download your free guide here: