Do you want more confidence at work and in other social situations? Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, there is a certain amount of confidence that can help you in your day. People are naturally attracted to confident individuals, so this makes it an essential skill to develop.
Where does confidence come from? Are you born with it or can you develop it over time?
Building confidence requires work from the inside out:
Confidence begins within by knowing who you are, and this learning can be a continuous lifetime endeavor. Within knowing yourself, it’s important to start with strong self-esteem. Confidence is related to how well you think of yourself. A strong foundation of self-awareness can help you determine your self-esteem. Do you have trust in yourself? If not, others won’t either.
Know your beliefs and core values. This is where it can be useful to take assessments such as the Myers Briggs, DISC, Positive Psychology VIA Strengths, or Strengthfinders. These are all available online or in books. Understand your “go-to” style through your natural strengths and focus on these as you build confidence.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Asking for feedback can be very helpful in this regard, as can 360-degree evaluations. You want to understand how you are perceived…it may be very different from what you think. Now, this one may pose challenges for you as it did for me. I always felt that feedback increased my vulnerability, and that was very uncomfortable. In retrospect, I now see appropriate feedback as the gift that it is and how it could have helped me grow even further in my leadership.
Be willing to admit mistakes. This allows you to take on a more approachable tone with others which is also a sign of confidence.
Understand the difference between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is usually born out of tremendous self-doubt. It has no relationship to confidence in yourself.
Consider yourself the expert and assume this role without arrogance or excessive hubris. Sometimes you may need to do your research upfront to demonstrate competence as an expert. Once you do your homework, come across as the expert.
Remember the P’s: Presence, Posture, Poise, aPParel. All of these speak to your confidence factor. Develop a strong presence, executive presence if you are in leadership. Ensure you are always exhibiting good posture in sitting and walking. Poise is a gracious self-possessed way of being. Finally, apparel speaks to what you wear. The right clothing can give you a definite air of confidence.
Take a risk. Speak up in that meeting. If you feel the need to disagree, have something else to offer. Confidence builds from risk. If you don’t risk, you don’t strengthen that confidence muscle. You can practice and you can learn and you can study and you can think about it all day, but for the “rubber to meet the road” you have to take a risk. Notice that it is risky and not achievement per se, that builds confidence. What risk are you hesitating to make right now? Will taking that risk to build your confidence?
Be gentle with yourself. Just as when you’re working out to get fit, continue to find ways to work that confidence muscle into greater strength. Consider working with a Career Coach to strengthen your overall confidence in the situations you encounter.
Confidence can help you to avoid stress, work more effectively, positively influence others, and give you a greater sense of self-achievement and efficacy at the end of the day.
Is it time to put your confidence exercise program into place?
Think about a risk you can take. Start small. How can you experiment with risking and learning to build more confidence? Also, if you haven’t taken any of the assessments recommended above, this is a great time to start! Ask for feedback and truly listen to what is said.
Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.
For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com