If you want career success, then it’s important to understand how to be more self-confident at work.
Not only is a healthy dose of self-confidence needed to keep you going when facing big challenges, tackling something new, and persevering through criticism, but it’s a necessary component to being both a good leader and an effective communicator. And it also helps to increase your productivity levels and your performance.
So the question is: what can you do to increase your confidence levels at work?
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How to Be More Self-Confident At Work Through a Growth-Oriented Mentality
Unfortunately, confidence isn’t something most people are born with. And it doesn’t magically appear. Confidence is built from within and is all about your mindset.
The Interrelationship Between Self-Confidence and Success
It’s impossible to achieve significant success without being self-confident.
(To learn more about the interrelationship between self-confidence and success, plus how to keep building self-confidence as a high-achieving professional, click here).
But which comes first, confidence or success? Many people would tell you that success comes first because once you succeed at something you get a big boost of confidence.
Although it’s true that success breeds new confidence, you’ll never achieve substantial success without first developing some level of self-confidence. To succeed at something, you must be willing to go out on a limb and potentially fail, which obviously requires confidence.
What does this mean? If you want career success, you must learn how to develop self-confidence from within and maintain it – in all areas of your life. Because you’ll never find the success you want without it.
Why Your Mindset is Key to Your Success and Self-Confidence Levels
Your confidence levels are dependent on how you react to criticism, setbacks, and new challenges and your willingness to fail. And that’s all about your mindset. Specifically, a mentally resilient and growth-oriented mindset.
When you cultivate a mentally resilient, growth-oriented mindset, you’ll be:
- more willing to stay the course when things get difficult;
- aware when you need to change course (and open to doing so);
- willing to jump out in front of the pack to lead;
- honest about your weaknesses and failures (and open to strengthening your weaknesses and learning from your failures); and
- less likely to wither under pressure.
Not only will this mindset help you be more confident, but it will assist in keeping your confidence levels healthy and not getting overly confident. It’s difficult to be too confident when you’re aware of your weaknesses and willing to acknowledge that you can fail.
How a Mentally Resilient, Growth-Oriented Mindset Cultivates Self-Confidence
Most high-achievers understand the basics of what it means to have a growth-oriented mindset. A mindset rooted in growth is about believing that your abilities can be improved through effort. It’s the opposite of a fixed mentality, which is when you believe that your intelligence and abilities are fixed traits that can’t be further developed or improved upon.
Yet there’s more to it than that. Because it also involves grit – the ability to persevere when things get tough and to be mentally resilient so that you can more easily bounce back from the difficulties that come up throughout your life and career.
The following confidence-inducing characteristics are common among those with a strong growth-oriented and mentally resilient mindset:
- they accept and aren’t threatened by criticism because it’s a chance to learn and grow;
- a belief that they can learn and grow from difficulties, which induces hope and keeps them going; and
- a belief that failure isn’t permanent (because something can be learned from the experience).
All of these characteristics help to create hope, self-trust, and self-confidence.
5 Strategies to Help You Be More Self-Confident at Work
So, how can you cultivate a growth-oriented and mentally resilient mindset for yourself that will help you with how to be more self-confident at work? The following five strategies (or mental shifts) will both help you cultivate this mentality and increase your self-confidence levels at work:
Strategy #1: Be Curious
Staying curious is key to a growth-oriented mindset that’s open and willing to learn. Having a curious mindset will keep you looking for the right answer without getting attached to any one. And it will keep you focused on getting the work done and being as productive as possible because you’ll want to see what happens.
A curious mindset is open to many solutions and ways of doing things. Because you’re curious about what might work best, you’re willing to try out many options and don’t take things personally if your ideas get shot down.
Moreover, when you adopt a curious mindset you’ll be open to asking questions when uncertain or (gasp!) you don’t know something. Being willing to ask questions will set you apart and open you up for more success.
Instead of moving stubbornly forward incorrectly without full knowledge, you’ll be going down the right path. All because you weren’t afraid to ask questions. Plus, people will respect you for it (and that will build up your self-confidence levels too).
Strategy #2: Focus on What You’re Learning
By focusing on what you’re learning, you’re less likely to see mistakes and missteps as failures. Instead of having “failed”, you’ll focus on what you’ve learned and how to leverage it going forward.
Please note, I’m not talking about being unnaturally positive or trying to find a silver lining when one doesn’t exist. And I’m not saying that you should pretend something wasn’t a failure when it clearly was.
However, every mistake, fall, and misstep has a lesson. This is about acknowledging that and being open to learn all you can.
By doing this, you’ll be more confident about your abilities moving forward. You’ll know what you’ve learned and how to move forward with new knowledge.
Strategy #3: Practice Self-Compassion
Conventional wisdom says to continually build your self-esteem so that you can be more confident. But guess what? Conventional wisdom is wrong about this.
Building your self-esteem doesn’t make you more confident (although it apparently does increase narcissism). What matters is your self-compassion.
So, what does it mean to be compassionate to yourself? Self-compassion is about:
- accepting when you’ve made a mistake (no hiding or pretending allowed); and
- forgiving yourself.
Practicing self-compassion will help you gain the knowledge you need from any negative experience and then to move on. It’ll keep you from dwelling on your mistakes.
Strategy #4: Use Positive Self-Talk
Your inner voice can be your best ally. Positive self-talk increases self-confidence and performance levels. Here are the rules for it to work:
- be real (no false silver-linings or lies);
- talk to yourself in the second-person (“you can do it” instead of “I can do it”); and
- talk out loud.
Talking to yourself in the second-person (using “you” instead of “I), increases your willingness to perform and your actual performance. And saying it out loud makes you more likely to retain information, increases test scores, and helps you learn a new skill.
All of this boosts your performance and thereby will help to increase your confidence levels.
Crazy as it may sound, research backs this all up. So, if you love to talk to yourself out loud (especially in the second-person), you’re not crazy after all. You’re smart!
Strategy #5: Focus on Your Successes
As you move up the ranks in your career, it can feel a bit lonely. You’ll be challenged and tested like never before – and might feel as though you have no real support.
When this happens, focus on your successes. And don’t think too narrowly. Success doesn’t only occur when you’ve had the perfect outcome.
You’ve also achieved personal success when you learn something from a difficult situation or challenge. Growth and personal development is success in itself. So, even when the outcome isn’t what you wanted there is often something that can be celebrated.
How will this help? Reminding yourself of all that you’ve already learned and the growth you’ve had along the way will help you feel like your new task or challenge isn’t so daunting.
Since you’ve pushed yourself and been challenged before, learned from it, and kept going, you can do it again.
What Might Trip You Up
Once you start working to incorporate the above mindset shifts into your life, you’ll start to see an overall shift in how you perceive yourself and the world around you. Not only will you be mentally stronger, but you’ll start to have more confidence in your abilities and more hope around your future.
And this new-found hope and confidence will make you more willing to take on bigger challenges – even some that at one time seemed impossible. And that’s when you need to watch out. You’ll be in new territory and any new criticism or challenge (especially if unexpected) can make you question what you were thinking and quickly deflate your new-found confidence.
What should you do? Keep working on your mindset. Cultivating the right mindset isn’t something you do for a while and then stop. You must continually work to maintain it – and even develop it further.
Until next time…
P.S. If you want to be as confident as you can, then you MUST understand who you are at a deep level. And that starts with understanding your core values. Grab your free copy of the Inner Compass Values Assessment workbook to uncover your core values so that you can never again feel stuck and instead ensure you’re on the right path for you.