"Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings." -Samuel Johnson
There is one particular quality which makes everyone shine, one which shows through their work and even within their resume. Do you know what it is? It is having a well-established sense of self-confidence.
A person who is self-confident will approach their work with a measure of certainty; possessing self-awareness of the experience and knowledge or know-how needed to get the job done.
Even a resume will reflect that confidence through the word choice used and this will also come across through a person's tone during an interview. Being self-confident comes easily for some people, yet others struggle to try and sustain it. For most people this is a feeling that can fluctuate at times; however, there are steps you can take to become practiced in maintaining confidence in yourself and your abilities or capabilities.
What is Self-Confidence?
As a career coach one of the questions I'll ask is about being a self-confident person, especially on the job. When I hear an uncertain response, I know there is work to do. Self-confidence is not about having an ego, rather it is based upon a self-belief that you can perform the required job tasks, make decisions with ease, and you trust yourself to be able to handle most situations.
For someone that has too much self-confidence they may find they are setting themselves up for failure as they will likely find less cooperation from coworkers when it is needed. In other words, people with too much confidence may discover that this attitude has alienated their coworkers. Overall, self-confidence can be described as being self-assured, while using self-control to keep that belief in check. It also means that you approach your job with an attitude of being ready and prepared.
Confidence Can Fluctuate
Rarely have I met someone who was always confident in every aspect of their job or work as an employee. It is natural for confidence to fluctuate at times. For example, think about starting a new job. While you can feel confident in your ability to do the job you may be uncertain of the duties that are required. It can take time to begin to feel fully confident as you learn to meet the required expectations.
There is also a type of person whose confidence level is dependent upon the feedback they receive from others, especially their manager. They may need validation in order to feel self-assured and if so, this can be problematic if they have a manager who does not provide it. Some people have confidence as long as they are receiving positive feedback from external sources such as their coworkers and customers, and they quickly lose it with any form of negative feedback, whether actual or perceived.
How Confidence is Lost
If a person is unable to develop a sense of feeling confident in themselves, they will likely struggle with this on a continued basis. Getting to the heart of an issue like this may not be easy either. When I work with clients I try to have them approach it by starting backwards and consider a time when they were acutely aware of their confidence being absent. It is often most noticeably absent during a time when a decision needed to be made and they struggled with it.
I then have them consider their mindset at that time as a means of uncovering clues. What generally comes up is that negative self-talk was in play at that time. They either had doubts about their ability or it was an ongoing pattern. When asked about the worst possible outcome, should their doubt be correct, they usually come to realize that they did possess the know-how necessary to make a decision - even if the decision required asking others for assistance. While this is a vague description, the point is that having negative self-doubt and internal dialogue is usually the reason why someone will lose confidence in their abilities.
5 Steps to Renewed Self-Confidence
There are five steps that you can take now to improve your level of confidence and become practiced in overcoming negative self-talk.
#1. Control the Internal Dialogue: The first suggestion is to keep a journal as a means of charting your internal dialogue, especially during critical incidents. The purpose is to remember positive events and work through any negative incidents. The sooner you can recognize negative self-talk, the quicker you can learn to control it and replace it with supportive dialogue. You will likely find that within the self-talk is doubt and once you recognize it, you can address it.
#2. Develop a Positive Belief: It is possible that you can be confident in yourself at all times and develop a belief that supports it. I will add a follow up to this and state that you can be confident regardless of circumstances. In other words, how you feel about yourself does not need to be conditional upon any situation. You can develop and maintain a positive self-belief.
#3. Practice New Self-Talk: You can remind yourself of your capability to do your job and put in the best effort possible. If you don't know every aspect of your job or how to perform all of the required tasks, now is the time to find out how you can acquire the necessary knowledge or develop the required skills. You can develop a daily habit of practicing your self-belief as a positive affirmation that boosts your level of confidence.
#4. Continue to Learn: If you are new to a job or still in the process of learning the required skills, be confident in your ability to learn. Everyone has a capacity to learn. You will likely discover that the more you practice the development of your skills, and acquire the necessary knowledge, the more comfortable you will become in your job. Keep in mind that practice does generally make perfect, or at the very least, a practiced productive habit. The point is that everyone has a capacity to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.
#5. Establish a Positive, Supportive Pattern: It can be easy to use negative events or outcomes as proof of your inability to perform your job or establish a feeling of inadequacy. Learn to flip the script and look for evidence of the positive accomplishments you have made on the job. Find and use these instances as support of your success so you will believe in yourself and establish confidence, even when a negative incident has occurred.
If you are naturally confident then you probably require only minimal upkeep to maintain that disposition. But if you determine that your level of confidence is conditional, or subject to change based upon circumstances and events, you will need a new strategy and change your natural outlook. It all has to do with how you manage and maintain your self-belief. This is directly affected by your self-talk and whether or not you look for positive cues as evidence and confirmation of your ability to perform well on the job.
You can be confident in yourself right now, despite circumstances. Believe in your ability to get the job done to the best of capability now. If you have a decision to make and need help, don't be afraid to ask because that's how you learn. If you need to improve your performance, recognize that you are capable of learning. It is during times like this when you will be reminded that you can maintain self-confidence or that you need a mental tune-up. Being confident in yourself is not about being better than someone else and it does not mean you know it all or have all of the answers. But it does mean you are confident in your capabilities and can feel good about yourself. This will help to improve your level of self-esteem and even make your job more enjoyable.
About Dr. Johnson
Dr. Johnson has worked in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005. He specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, online teaching, career management, and career development. Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA. Presently Dr. J is a Core Faculty member for one of the premiere online universities, fulfilling his life's mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others.
As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has also published over 200 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and career development.
Dr. J offers the following transformative resources:
• Transform Online Teaching: Expert Strategies and Essential Resources Every Educator Needs
• Appreciative Andragogy: Taking the Distance Out of Distance Learning
• Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct Faculty Who Teach Business
• Brand New: Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck (The very best of Dr. J's Inspirational Quotes.)
• Brand New: Dr. J's First-Class Coffee Mug (What a way to start your day!!)
To learn more about these transformative professional development resources, please visit: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/resources-and-store
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