How to find your confidence again
We have been through (and are still going through) some challenging times. You may find you are feeling a little bruised and unsure of where to start. Do you feel like your career has stalled or perhaps you are starting again? Or maybe you are bored at work? Whatever it is, your resilience to keep going and make changes will be improved if you feel and are confident.
People with low confidence may find making decisions hard or take more time than they would like and can find themselves unsure of what to say and who to say it to. You may spend time worrying about what may or may not happen or worrying about if you should or shouldn’t say something. It can be overwhelming. Perhaps you have the opportunity for a promotion, a chance to work on a new project or you have to talk to your boss about what’s next for you.
If you find yourself saying to yourself ‘what if?’ ‘I can’t’ or ‘I never’, then here are three ideas to consider to get your confidence back on track.
1. Be assertive
Many of us avoid conversations that might get a bit tricky and the thoughts about what may or may not be said end up disturbing our sleep and eating habits. Let your thoughts just be thoughts in your mind. You might choose to write them down in a journal, share them with a trusted friend or meditate.
However, when it comes to getting those thoughts in order so that you can have that tricky conversation, take some time to practice what you are going to say and bring some order to those thoughts. This little conversation formula can help you articulate those worries in a positive and solution-focused way and can be helpful beyond the board room.
“When you do/say …”
“it makes me feel/worry/consider …”
“I’d prefer it if… (solution)”
Remember to stick to the action or words that the individual has used and not to comment on their character or appearance. These sentences can help you feel confident and the other person realise your potential value as you offer solutions to some of the trickiest problems.
2. Remember we are all human
We can find ourselves spending far too much time worrying what someone else might think, say or do and this can be a massive drain on our energy and our confidence. This can lead us to be passive in situations that require our expertise and reluctant to come forward with ideas or solutions, minimising our chance to shine or take advantage of new opportunities.
Try saying “What would my best friend say to me in this situation?”
They are likely to encourage you and be kind, reminding you that it’s ok to make mistakes and it’s ok to try something new.
In addition, it can help to take a step back and remember that the person you are worrying about also has worries, fears and get things wrong, they are human. You might imagine the conversation they had with their partner about feeding the cat, walking the dog or childcare arrangements that morning. Remembering that you are talking to another human being can help change your perspective and grow your confidence to talk to them about what has been bothering you.
3. Use power dynamics
Power is unseen and unnoticed much of the time. If we choose to pay attention to who holds the power in any relationship it can help us choose the right course of action in any given moment. To grow confidence, we need to pay attention when the boss says 'do this' and yet you know there is a better way to do this. If you challenge them in a meeting or send a curt email to the whole organisation, you may not have considered who holds the power in the relationship before acting.
Instead, you might consider how do I make this a win-win situation? You might get a better response if you notice the boss holds the power and privately ask whether you could discuss an idea you have as you value their opinion. Paying attention to what each individual can lose as well as win will help you to choose the right course of action and grow your confidence.
So, grow your confidence this week. Be assertive by getting those thoughts in order and sharing them in a solution-focused way. Remember we are all human, be kind as a friend would to you and consider the other person is human too and lastly use the power dynamics that are unseen to work out your best move so that it is a win, not only for the boss but for you too.