The thought of leading a project makes your stomach sink. You dread having to speak in front of your colleagues. And you regularly second-guess yourself when it comes to the quality of your work.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you suffer from a lack of confidence. And that’s unfortunate, because you might be a talented, dedicated worker, but if you’re not confident, you could be missing out on opportunities to advance your career. For example, you might not apply for a job you want, even though you’re qualified. Or your boss might pass you over for a promotion because you don’t possess the required leadership skills.
Fortunately, you can teach yourself to be confident. Here’s how:
- Use confident body language. According to Andi Concha and Ed Prosser in their BBC Capital video “How to fake confidence,” you should hold your head up high and keep your shoulders back. When speaking, make eye contact with the other person and use big gestures. This will make others perceive you as a leader. And the most interesting thing is that the more you do this, the more your brain will believe that you’re confident, too.
- Be knowledgeable. In her article titled “How can I boost my confidence at work?” for The Guardian, Sharmadean Reid reminds us how important it to know your area of expertise. Being sure about your own abilities goes a long way to reducing self-doubt.
- Keep a running list of your achievements. To combat that niggling voice in your head that keeps telling you you’re not capable of something, make a list of your accomplishments. Whether you’ve handled a challenging project on your own, given a successful presentation, or learned a new language you can use for business purposes, regularly remind yourself of all of the things you’ve done well in the past. This will help you realize you’re capable of more than you think.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. As Kenny Kline points out in his Inc. article “4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence on the Job,” eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help you feel good, which in turn can help you feel more confident. This is because reaching athletic goals affirms your ability to achieve objectives, healthy nutrition can boost your performance at work, and getting high-quality sleep is linked to enhanced self-esteem.
If you’ve gone through life feeling less than confident, cultivating these new habits might make you uncomfortable at first. But if you stick with it, you’ll soon notice that your confidence will grow — and you’ll be able to focus on your career without your self-doubt holding you back.