In the nearly ten years since Sheryl Sandberg released Lean In, there’s been a lot of conversations about how to be more confident in the workplace. However, many employees still struggle with negative self-talk, imposter syndrome, and nagging fears of rejection.
Faith in oneself comes from an inner strength developed through positive reinforcement, discipline, and practice. Unfortunately, no one is born with a golden bag of confidence. So, if you’re struggling, lean in–here are 21 ways to boost your confidence at the office.
(In case you’re interested, here is the book, Lean In mentioned above! Read at your leisure)
How To Be More Confident
Confidence is a behavior that drives how we interact with the world, our co-workers, our friends, and our family. It’s a tool that influences others to follow and believe in you.
Ever heard the phrase “fake it til you make it?” Well, there’s some truth to it. While perfection isn’t the goal, practice does lead to high levels of confidence, skill, and ability.
You can speak up, engage with supportive people, and become more confident in safe environments. Try dressing the part, standing tall, smiling, being friendly, and communicating well. Over time you’ll change how you feel about yourself and how others view you.
2. Identify Your Confidence Triggers
Successful, confident people have learned what works for them and what doesn’t. Take a moment to identify your confidence triggers. What makes you feel fabulous? What do you do well?
Surround yourself with the people, activities, and things that make you feel good. Then, focus on what you can control and forget the rest. Confidence-busters serve as distractions and aren’t helpful.
3. Accept That You’ll Never Be 100% Confident
Nothing’s perfect, and you’ll never be 100% confident, but you don’t have to stress it. High-performing employees set unrealistic standards and expectations that lead to discouragement. Get rid of the negative chatter in your mind.
You can take control of your actions. Take a moment to recognize that you’ll have good and bad days. Then set reasonable expectations with attainable goals. Once you accept that you’ll never be 100% perfect, you can move on from things that take your confidence and focus on what works for you. It will help you feel free to take risks and new challenges.
4. Be Specific About Your Limitations
Go ahead and recognize where you’re not confident. Be specific. Why aren’t you confident in those situations? What can you do differently? Now stop obsessing over these things. Instead, identify your weaknesses and make an effort to overcome them. You’re sure to gain confidence as you minimize your limitations and focus on the good in your life.
5. Uncover What Does Give You Confidence
Become obsessed with things that give you confidence. Then, capitalize on them and find ways to integrate these boosts in your faith into what you do regularly. Lead from your strengths. Stay engaged and energized because you are amazing.
6. Reflect On Confident Moments
Back to the power of your mindset. Focus on how you felt on your most confident days. What did you do differently? What drove you to perform? Look back on those feelings when you’re feeling less confident. Instead, choose to believe in yourself and your abilities.
7. Work On Public Speaking Skills
Now is the perfect time to work on your speaking skills. Practice is vital–the more you use your speaking muscles, the more comfortable you’ll get. Aside from you, no one cares that much about your presentation. So, get rid of filler words like “um,” “like,” and “so,” and remember to have fun. You’re the expert.
8. Encourage Yourself
You’re doing fantastic work. That’s why you have the job. Now grow in it. Confidence is created, not given. You have to earn it. Give yourself time to grow. Then, feel free to get excited about your work and share it with others.
9. Engage In Daily Affirmations
Self-affirmations boost confidence and help you achieve your goals through your mindset. Our brain is powerful and can adapt to different circumstances. As a result, you have the power to do more than you’ve ever dreamed.
Start by creating a mental image of what you want to do–like public speaking. Then, think about how you’ll feel while doing it, and replace the negative thoughts with positive affirmations. This activity will help you relax and avoid self-sabotaging thoughts or behaviors.
10. Never Stop Learning
Pick up some new skills and never stop learning. Knowledge naturally makes you more confident. You can express ideas and thoughts with greater conviction and planning. Check out some books for motivation to inspire you to reach new levels and try something new. While you’re at it, you may pick up a trick or two on how to improve your confidence.
11. Remember Your Strengths
As you work to build self-confidence, focus on your strengths. Look at all the places you’ve made an impact. When have you made a meaningful contribution? What was your last win? Take a moment to list your accomplishments. This activity will make you stronger and more confident. You deserve to be at that leadership table. Put your successes on paper-write them down.
12. Learn To Love
The business world isn’t filled with sunshine and roses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel good and be kind to yourself and others.
Promote a positive self-image. Remove negativity and quiet your inner critic and doubts. Learn to love yourself no matter what the outcomes and offer compliments freely. You are good enough. Be patient and recognize that kindness can spread through an organization.
13. Don’t Listen To Self-limiting Beliefs
Replace negative qualifiers like “I’m sorry,” “I don’t know if this is correct,” or “I don’t know if this makes sense” with “I would like to try” or “I’ve been thinking we should.” Give yourself credit to make a decision and stand behind it. Don’t minimize your thoughts or actions.
14. Counter Negative Thoughts With Positivity
Develop a positive attitude. Your team will appreciate your honesty and optimism. People want to be around people with an uplifting mood. When they begin to seek you out, your confidence will skyrocket. Remember, things can always be worse. No matter what, let positivity be part of your brand. Let it project from your persona. Let it be contagious.
15. Gain Control By Facing Your Fears
It’s time to embrace failure. Face it head-on. Most of the time, no one notices your mistakes as you do, so don’t let fear stop you from trying something new. It’s not a failure if you learn something along the way.
16. Ask For Feedback
Seek encouragement but learn to accept criticism from others. These things are neither right nor wrong. They’re opinions. Ask others–friends, co-workers, family– to provide feedback. Find out what they consider your strengths and places they’d like to see your work differently. Accept compliments when given because you deserve them. Accept constructive criticism as this builds resilience and makes you better.
17. Overcome Impostor Syndrome
It’s common for professionals to compare themselves to others. However, the sooner you learn that you do belong, the better. Refrain from judging yourself as inadequate or weak. You’re talented and ready to take on any challenge. Everyone has to start somewhere. Here is your start today. Stay focused on yourself and block out the noise.
18. Stay Organized
A decluttered desk equals a decluttered mind. Boost your confidence and productivity with an organized workstation that allows you to be efficient in your work. You’ll find that you are motivated to take on new tasks more confidently when you can keep it all straight on your desk.
19. Be Curious & Challenge Yourself
Boost your confidence with knowledge and a good challenge. Find a new project or assignment that will allow you to grow. Try something new that you’re unsure about doing. Don’t be scared that you don’t know something. Instead, lean into it and learn more. Knowledge is power.The more you learn, the more strength you’ll have to perform better. So, immerse yourself in new tasks and see how it goes. You will be surprised to know that you can do more than you thought.
20. Track Your Success
Keep a list of your accomplishments and reflect on them. This simple act helps you remember all of your contributions. Try to find one success every day. Perhaps you could start a journal. You didn’t fall into this moment by chance or luck. You’ve done some fantastic things. Over time, you’ll reshape how you see yourself and interact with others. You’re in control of your future.
21. Be Patient
Lastly, be patient with yourself because all good things take time. You may find that nervous butterflies in your stomach before every presentation. That’s ok. You’re building self-confidence a little more every day. Keep practicing, and you’ll get there.
Why Is Confidence Important?
Research has shown that many people struggle to develop self-confidence at work. Low confidence can result from a lack of experience, being new, or your personality. However, it doesn’t define you. Believe you can do it, and you can.
Confident people struggle with self-doubt too. However, they employ a sense of security and belief in themselves to continue. As a result, they have the trust to push through challenges at work, in relationships, and in self-development. Confidence is central to strong leadership, success, and career advancement. Confident people will take risks, look for opportunities, and learn from their mistakes. As a result, they’ll grow to their full potential.
Confidence isn’t about being loud, harsh, or demanding. It’s about knowing your self-worth and asserting yourself positively. A boost of confidence can conquer any challenge or insecurity.
Feel confident knowing you will never be the smartest nor the most talented. There’s always someone else. You can be the best that you can be and carry that feeling with you everywhere. It may seem awkward, but confidence is a skill to practice.