5 Tips for Increasing Your Confidence at Work
Many thanks to Patricia Thomas, an online writer for this guest contribution. She’s a new writer and contributor at contentcampfire.com. She writes about career development for women.
Confidence and job success often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many women don’t feel confident at work. If your on-the-job confidence could use a boost, it makes sense to cultivate a confident attitude–even if you have to fake it.
Self-confident workers feel assured their work is good quality. They also feel comfortable participating in meetings and discussions. Confident people don’t overthink or second-guess themselves.
So, what’s holding you back from feeling confident? Low self-esteem is often the culprit. Confidence and self-esteem go hand in hand. Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself, while confidence is trusting your own abilities. Building up your confidence at work can help to increase your self-esteem. Here are five tactics to help you feel more confident at work.
- Dress for Confidence
You know that what you wear influences what other people think about you. But did you know your clothing also influences what you think about yourself? A post on What to Wear on a Job Interview tells about why wearing the right clothes on an interview matters. It is the same as dressing at work to gain confidence.
A recent study from Northwestern University found that people who wore a lab coat they were told belonged to a doctor were able to pay attention better than those who did not. Researchers think the lab coats made study participants more confident in their abilities.
How can knowing this information help your self-confidence at work? When you’re choosing work clothes, pick clothes you know you look good in. Consider factors such as fit, color, and style. Work clothes don’t have to be expensive. Consider a capsule wardrobe of simple, classic styles. You’ll feel better about yourself when you know you look your best.
- Make Lists of Achievable Goals
Setting goals, and then meeting those goals, can help increase your confidence and self-esteem. Think of your to-do list as a plan. The simple act of making a plan to achieve your goals can help to decrease your anxiety about those goals. It can also lead to feelings of accomplishment when you check items off your list. Make a habit of creating a to-do list each day when you arrive at work, or make the next day’s list before you leave for the day. Break your goals into manageable parts, and resist the urge to add too much to your list.
- Practice Positive Body Language
Good posture influences how others feel about you and how you feel about yourself. A study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that adopting an upright posture leads to more positive feelings and less fatigue in study participants. When sitting at work, keep your feet on the floor and your shoulders back. When standing, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your spine straight. When talking to your boss or colleagues, maintain eye contact. When appropriate, smile. Using positive body language helps other people to see you as intelligent and powerful, increasing your own feelings of self-worth.
- Gain Knowledge
Becoming more knowledgeable in your job can help you feel more confident at work. Go out of your way to learn more about a certain aspect of your job. You can accomplish this through college courses, books, websites, or by asking someone in your company to mentor you. Increasing your knowledge can help you feel more comfortable participating in discussions about your chosen topic. Eventually, you may even become an expert in your field.
- Be Kind to Yourself
All too often, that little nagging voice in your head can take away your confidence. One mistake can send you back to feelings of inadequacy. Accept that everyone makes mistakes at work from time to time. When (not if) this happens to you, have the strength to forgive yourself and move on. Ask yourself if you’d be so harsh with a colleague who made the same mistake. Show yourself that same compassion.
Building confidence isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep these tips in mind at work, and your confidence and self-esteem will eventually increase.