Achieving goals and dreams is one thing that many women strive for as they travel their career path. Unfortunately, however, many don’t ever experience fulfillment in this area. One of the main reasons is the lack of professional confidence. Ironically, the inability to be seen, heard, and appear confident is present in some of the most competent people on the planet. I’ve seen it so many times with clients and others around me. These women are literally getting passed over for promotions and raises because they do not seem like confident leaders. So how can you boost your professional confidence? Let’s take a look a few strategies I’ve gained over the years.
Know What You Want and Set Clear Goals
Whether it’s a personal goal to work through shyness or communication mishaps or you truly want a promotion at work, it’s important to know clearly what you want. Taking a haphazard approach to change might get you some results but likely won’t hit a bullseye.
I recommend focusing on the positive end results and emotions with your goal intention. In other words don’t write out, “I am a shy person who doesn’t get attention.” Instead, write, “I intend to learn communication skills that help me to feel confident and be noticed at work.” Also, rate your satisfaction with particular areas with a simple number scale like 1-5, with 5 being the most satisfied. This helps you to measure your progress over the coming weeks and months.
Use Self-Talk Daily
One habit that I have and recommend to all clients is starting the day with a pep talk in the mirror. Looking at yourself in the eye is important for this exercise because it brings another level of self-awareness and connection. Oftentimes, women don’t like something about themselves and it causes thoughts and feelings of lack and unworthiness. Looking for the good and beauty in yourself every day helps to turn this around.
Try saying things like “you are beautiful just the way you are” or “you are worthy of that promotion” or “people appreciate you because you are kind and competent” or “you have a great purpose in life”. Of course, customize this self-talk to your life, goals, and professional situation. And, don’t forget to smile at yourself.
Increase Self-Awareness and Triggers
Understanding ourselves and why we do what we do is one of the most important steps to positive change. After all, you have to know what’s not working to its potential if you want to be successful at anything. Consider a car that works but not well. It squeaks and doesn’t have the power to get to the speed you want. A mechanic has to analyze its inner working to find the problems before they can be fixed, right? We are much like that car. When things aren’t working right, we have to dig a little to understand what’s happening.
Though we’re talking about professional confidence, we still have to consider our deeper personal attributes. Obstacles to professional success could be of a personal nature. Self-confidence issues often begin in childhood or early in adulthood. Perhaps something at your current job triggered some old feelings. In order to succeed at developing the woman you want to be, you will need to peel some emotional layers back to reveal what lies beneath.
Work Though Fear
Notice I said, “work through fear” and not “avoid fear”. Fear of failure or a particular situation is normal and common in our personal and professional lives. However, it doesn’t have to paralyze us and create an impenetrable wall between us and success.
For example, perhaps you’ve been terrified to do certain work because it is more dangerous or is an area you hate. I remember a friend who worked in a warehouse that had large forklifts and machines. she hated being around the equipment most of the time.
One of her jobs was to inspect, tag and record the activity. Her fear overwhelmed her at times and she really didn’t understand it. Then she remembered an accident involving a piece of farm equipment from her childhood. Though she wasn’t hurt badly, it scared her, leaving a lasting impression.
Once she understood where the fear came from and worked through it, she became a more confident employee. She stands in the mirror in the morning and says, “I am a woman who can tag lifting equipment and run circles around others in my department”.
Of course, this is just one example of how working through our fears can help us succeed. No matter what your fears tell you, there is a solution to the problem. Think about what truly scares you and what could be causing it. Bad experiences like bullying, abuse, rejection, and lack of encouragement can be contributors to low self-confidence for anyone.
If we want to boost professional confidence, we must be willing to look at our personal mindset first. Transformational work isn’t always easy and it doesn’t usually happen overnight…though, there are exceptions. How fast things change depends on how ready we are to make it happen. That’s why I recommend focusing on what beautiful things you want to accomplish and how you will feel when you get them. Any self-work improves both professional and personal life simply by making us more aware and intentional. Just remember in your quest to boost professional confidence that you always be YOU!