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Why Confidence is Important in the Workplace

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of confidence is a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. For most of us, this confidence can ebb and flow depending on what is happening in our lives, what people are telling us about our behaviour or worth and what we are telling ourselves.

If we show others that we are confident it gives them faith that we know what we are doing and are capable of achieving the job in hand. However, in my own experience the people who are most confident are not always the people who get things done and make things happen. Personally, I look for more than confidence when meet people to see if I think they can get the job done. I look for skills, I look for people who will do what they say they will. I look for people who have achieved before. I also look for people who have been through challenges and overcome them, because when the going gets tough it is the resilient people who will be able to tackle the most stressful situations, even if they don’t really want to.

However, other people do look at confidence to make a snap judgement on whether or not someone is capable. I was following a discussion on Linkedin recently about confidence and people were saying that if someone has confidence it is because they have tackled difficult situations and have faith in their own ability to achieve again in future situations.

I disagree because people’s confidence can be dented by so many outside influences, by gaslighting, bullying and distortion of what is true by people who feel insecure. If a person has this experience in their childhood they are more likely to repeat these patterns in their adult lives. Even when all the evidence is stacked up that they are capable and can achieve great things, if every single mistake is pointed out as a failure and they are told regularly that they are no good, they will believe it and they will tell themselves the same messages, reinforcing those negative thoughts. This then affects their behaviour and they will not try to achieve as much as someone who hasn’t been given these messages.

So thought patterns affect behaviour which affects the outcome.

What Can we Do About It?

So I wrote a previous blog about the power pose and how effective it can be for giving us confidence during interviews. I find it really works and used it myself a couple of years ago to help me perform well during a series of very stressful situations.

Another practical way of making ourselves happier and subsequently more confident is to focus on what makes us happy and feel good. For the past three years I have taken part in #100HappyDays which you may have seen if you follow me on Facebook. It genuinely made me feel happier and more confident because I made the effort to focus on what makes me happy and I was actively thinking about what my happy would be for that day. The first time I took part I found it really difficult and I enlisted other people to do it alongside me to make it easier. This did work, but other people said they couldn’t do it and made excuses. If I could do this whilst I was experiencing one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, then I have faith that anyone can do it if they really want to do it enough. The good thing about putting it on social media was that people noticed if I didn’t post. And of course there were the odd days where I didn’t post for one reason or another, but because I was doing it to make myself happier I let it go and didn’t beat myself up.

#100HappyDays was one thing I did. It helped but it didn’t flick a switch and make me super happy and confident. Happiness is something we have to work on. It’s a bit like personal hygiene – taking a shower won’t make us clean for the rest of our lives, it’s something we need to repeat over and over again to maintain the cleanliness.

So once #100HappyDays started to get easier I decided to try something else which is a gratitude challenge. So every day at the moment I am thinking about what I am grateful to have in my life. This was in some ways even more challenging than the happiness challenge because I struggled to use the word grateful. Grateful was a word that was thrown around at me a great deal when I was a child, with the SHOULD, MUST and with a bit of shame attached. You should be grateful because I have sacrificed this for you. However in letting this go and reframing the word and what it means for me I was able to embrace it. So these days I am grateful for my body because it has allowed me to start running (and today it hurts because I have used it!) and I am grateful for the love and support of my husband, sometimes I am grateful because I have met up with supportive people in business and other times I am grateful for the clients I am working with because I end up giving them what I need and working with them gives me so much personal development it is a privilege to be able to inspire people and help them to achieve their life goals.

I get feedback a great deal from people who think I have bags of confidence and sometimes the feedback I get surprises me. The most important tip is that if you don’t feel confident, pretend you do. It will fool most people! Eventually you will find that you’re no longer pretending and you can walk into any room in any situation. It is something I am still working on but I have come a long way. I didn’t used to be able to walk into a room and start talking to people I don’t know, but I can now. I never thought I would get on a plane on my own, but last year I stepped on a plane to Barcelona all by myself and navigated the airports and the transfers and it had been at least 10 years since I had been abroad anywhere.

Confidence is something we need to practice both at work and outside of work and one way I have found that helps me feel more confident at work is when I ask to take on projects that stretch and grow me as an individual but that also benefits the organisation I work for. Some of the extras I was involved in at work were setting up and managing a counselling service, expanding and managing a work club, and of course now I have set up and run a whole company which 10 years ago I would never have imagined being able to do let alone actually doing it.

If you want to do something enough, don’t make excuses – make it happen. If you don’t feel like you can do it alone, we are here to help so reach out and ask for help. It’s what I do best! You can contact us here.

Have you got any tips for feeling more confident? We’d love to hear them so tell us in the comments.

2 comments

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi! Great post! I think gratitude is important, I use affirmations daily to stay positive and confident. You can find them online just by googling ‘affirmations.’ They are positive statements which help you to believe that you already have what you want. You can record them to your iPhone and play them every morning to give you a boost before you go to work. x

  2. Family Makes says:

    I love the idea of ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ – it really works for confidence. Your advice here is excellent.

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