Where do you want to go in life? What do you need to get there? There’s one common factor in career success: confidence. You’ve got to feel it on the inside before you can move up the corporate ladder.
1. Know thyself
How can you boost your confidence if you don’t know what you’re trying to boost? Do a full, rounded self-assessment of yourself. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses and make plans (key words here, make plans) to strengthen these weaknesses. Without setting goals and establishing a path to complete them, you’re likely to stay at the starting gate. We’ll talk more about small wins later. The bottom line here is that you cannot (repeat, cannot) ignore your weaknesses or stick them under the table where you’re hiding last week’s gum. You have to embrace them and overcome them one at a time.
Having a clear understanding of what makes you tick, how you work, how you think, grow, meet confrontations and conflict, communicate, socialize with others..are you actively listening to others?..have you developed a consciousness of your actions and reactions?..what about body language?..and the list goes on forever. What I’m talking about here is EQ. This buzzterm has been around since 1990 when Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the term “Emotional Intelligence” and defined it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”. Studies confirm that EQ could be equally, if not more, important as IQ when measuring leadership capabilities. Know thyself and focus your energy effectively.
2. Fix troubled relationships in the office
This one can get tricky. Before you can fix a troubled office relationship, you have to be aware that one exists. Is your coworker down the hall truly upset with you, or did you just steel the last cup of coffee and not make another pot? Look for long-term “consequences” in response to your actions. Time lapse to see where the relationship could have or did go astray. Before you can accurately confront the situation, you need to know what your best method of conflict resolution is and why. How do you best deal with tough conversations and hard situations?
Freebie: Is this person your boss? Look for cues in feedback. Is the criticism that he or she giving you constructive or just hard cristicism? If not, you may have a broken relationship.
3. Take a lesson from Lean
Small victories: small wins build momentum. You’ll need this momentum, especially early on, to feel the benefits of your actions. These early wins will allow you to reap the benefits of your hard work and build encouragement to continue. Challenge yourself to compete.
4. Get a Mentor or Coach
Find a mentor. A mentor is someone that can guide and help you along your career journey. A mentor does not have to be someone in your organization. In fact, it may be more beneficial to find someone outside of your company; this may allow for more clarity. A mentor is typically in a position you’d like to one day hold and has the know-how and connections to help you get to where you want to go. He or she will share stories about successes and failures and serve as an advisor and counselor for you. Be sure to express often that you value the relationship that you have with your mentor; time is a big investment.
5. Take care of yourself
Be healthy, eat well, take care of yourself. This one is kind of a no-brainer. When you feel good about yourself, you are more likely to exude positivity – positivity is a confidence builder. It will also build competency in social settings. I’m not talking about body image here, I’m talking about what makes you feel good.
Exercise. You don’t have to be a body builder or fitness model. Set a goal for yourself and exceed it. If that goal is taking a walk three days a week, that’s fantastic. Remember, it’s about what’s right for you. Bonus: exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Being happy builds confidence. Do it.
Take time for you. There’s never enough time in the day to get your tasks and responsibilities inside and outside of work completed, let’s face it. Life shouldn’t always be a rat race. Take some time for yourself. Breathe.
Confidence is defined as “a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances”. It’s not hope or a wish. Confidence is built firm and is endearing. You’ve got to know it on the inside so that you can prove it externally and get where you want to go.