Confidence. One word. Eleven Letters. An imperative if you want to get ahead and build a successful career.
You might be the most productive member of your team or the person that always comes up with creative, out-of-the-box solutions at the eleventh hour. But if you do not make your voice heard and put yourself out there, then it is unlikely that you will be top of mind when promotion decisions are made. And making your voice heard takes confidence.
There is good news though. Confidence isn’t fixed, it is something that you can create. You may say ‘I’m not a confident person’ but is that true? Confidence isn’t something that you are, it is something that you have.
You can develop the confidence that you need for the career progression that you want with these four simple strategies:
Taking action is one of, if not, the most powerful way that you can increase your confidence. Talking about something is not the same as doing it. Whether you want to get a promotion, take your career in a different direction, or even just speak up in meetings, you need to take that first step.
I call it the 1% nudge.
Small actions, repeated consistently will move you closer to your goal. They will also allow you to prove to yourself that you can do this and allow your confidence to grow. For example, if you want to explore working in a different industry, take that first step today. Do a little research, locate a networking group or industry specific online forum. Make that first connection. Get to know people. Understand what opportunities are available. Identify any skill gaps that you have. Know what you need to do to fill that skills gap. Take action. And then keep on taking action. As your momentum builds towards achieving your goals, so too will your confidence.
It all starts with that first step.
Start before you are ready
If you wait until you feel ready to take action then you will never start. When I started The Good Life Well Lived podcast I knew nothing about podcasting. Reflecting back, the first batch of episodes are not very good! Once I released the first few episodes of my podcast, I knew that the only way was up. The more action that I took, the better I got at interviewing and producing the show and my confidence grew. The result was that I felt more comfortable approaching higher profile guests. And as the production quality improved, I promoted the podcast more and was able to gain a bigger audience. If I had waited until I was ready then I would still be waiting to get started.
So, what can you start doing today? Pick one thing and start, even if you don’t feel ready.
Keep your eyes in your own lane
It often feels like everybody else has their act together and is doing a much better job than you. They don’t and they aren’t.
You have a full access, behind the scenes pass to your own life. Yet you only get a glimpse of the edited highlight reel of other people’s lives.
Does it seem that everybody, except you(!) is securing an exciting new job, invited to join high profile project teams, or bagging amazing opportunities to travel? Remember that you only see the bits that others want you to see.
What you do not see are the countless interviews and rejections before securing the new job. Or the sleepless Sunday nights anticipating the 5am taxi journey to the airport the next morning.
The easiest way to keep the faith in your own abilities is to keep you head down and block out the noise from round about you. Keep your eyes in your own lane. Focus on your own priorities, work towards your goals and as you slowly but surely see the results, feel your confidence grow every day.
Uncover your limiting beliefs
A limiting belief is a thought you have about yourself that you believe to be true but is holding you back. For example, if you have the belief “I am terrible at public speaking” then you will probably not go out of your way to find speaking opportunities and ultimately improve your public speaking skills. Or “I’m not clever enough to be promoted to Senior Manager” probably means that you will not put yourself forward should the opportunity arise.
As you start to identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back you can then start to catch yourself when the thoughts creep in that stop you from taking action. Once you realise that the limiting belief is just that, a belief, you can let that belief go and take the action required to help you achieve your goals.
And as we know action leads to momentum, momentum leads to achievement and achievement builds confidence.