Don’t Let Your Lack of Confidence Affect Your Work – Part Two

2021, Career Guidance

In the first part of this blog entry, we looked at some tried and tested tips on how to avoid a lack of confidence to affect your work. Here is some more practical guidance to assist in getting out of that negative mindset.

Confidence is about self-awareness, and self-awareness means knowing yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. A part of knowing yourself is to be aware of the impression that you make on the people that matter. Take a step back and think about how you act, speak and move. What effect is the way you present yourself having on your co-workers? Perhaps you could confide in a friend whose opinion you respect and trust. It’s a fact that others will often notice a lot about us that we are completely unaware of – positive and negative. They’ll be able to give you an idea of how others see you and what points you might want to work on. This could help in reverse too. Consider people around you who you consider to be confident and competent. What is it about them that shows their confidence? Emulate this behaviour. This is the basic principle of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which in short, tries to detect and modify unconscious biases or limitations of an individual’s map of the world. NLP is not hypnotherapy. Instead, it operates through the conscious use of language to bring about changes in someone’s thoughts and behaviour.

Emulating behaviour is a particularly useful technique if your role model’s confidence shows through their body language or voice. Standing tall, with your shoulders back and your tummy tucked in will work wonders (no, really). This posture not only improves your appearance but also improves breathing and circulation, helping you to look and feel composed and in control. Considering your tone of voice is significant too. While a large proportion of human communication comes from speech, only a tiny amount is based on the actual words, with the rest left up to the way you say them. Therefore, speak clearly, using inflection to punctuate your sentences. Also, pace your speech well – rushing will show nerves. Make sure to listen, smile and nod when appropriate, but in a natural manner that doesn’t seem false or patronising. Strong, positive body language and a great speaking voice will combine to show you to be a confident, authoritative individual. Whilst you may feel you’re kind of faking it, if you do this often enough, it will become part of your actual personality. 

how to avoid a lack of confidence at work

Sometimes, legitimate causal factors are leading to a lack of confidence at work. We live in a fast-changing world, and skills once thought precious can suddenly be superseded by a new way of thinking or doing things. Feeling like you’re being left behind by progress affects many people, particularly older workers. If you feel your skills are becoming outdated, do a thorough assessment of your strengths and, more importantly, identify which of these skills are not based on a particular industry or process. These are your soft skills, which we discussed in the previous blog. Another option is to develop some new skills. The worst option is to remain stuck where you are, just hoping that you can get by without being noticed. Your confidence will still suffer because you won’t be able to rid yourself of the feeling of being left behind. Beware of taking a blame-oriented approach, criticising changes that you resent because they leave you behind. This will only call attention to your obsolescence. 

Finally, here are 10 reasons why self-confidence can lead to success:

  1. Learn to Say ‘No’ – Confident people have the ability to say ‘no’ where appropriate. 
  2. Learn to Say ‘Yes’ – At the same time, confident individuals say ‘yes’ to opportunity. They do not miss new options because they are shy. 
  3. Set the Bar High – Confident individuals set the bar high and aim high. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals.
  4. Confidence Trumps Fear – Lack of confidence can lead to paralysis from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others think. Fear of the unknown. 
  5. Confidence Asks Questions – Confidence allows you to ask questions, even when others are silent. 
  6. Believe in Winning – Confident people believe in success. 
  7. The Drive to Start Things – Confident people start things. They are not shy about exploring a new idea.
  8. Stand Up for Yourself – Confidence allows you to stand up for yourself fairly and consistently. 
  9. Believe In Yourself – Self-confidence means believing in yourself. 
  10. Stretch Your Limits – Confidence lets you know your limits and test them.
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Don’t Let Your Lack of Confidence Affect Your Work – Part One
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