“My confidence is simply gone. I don’t know how to talk about myself. How do I express my accomplishments or my strengths?”
Do these words resonate with you? If so, take comfort in the knowledge that all is not lost. Many believe that self-confidence is an innate ability, but this simply isn’t true. Even those who always appear to be confident have moments of insecurity. But with practice, anyone can boost their confidence levels and command more attention and respect at the workplace.
1. List your competencies
Many of those who struggle with confidence and self-esteem are mostly individuals who shy away from networking, or those who have failed to build an impressive profile or personal brand.
As a result, they have been out of touch and out of sight in their industries. They are basically invisible to their former friends and colleagues.
It is time to change that. Take one weekend, perhaps this coming one, and write down all the jobs you have ever held since you turned 18. Identify what you loved, what you hated and never want to do again, and what you would love to reinvent in the next chapter of your life and work.
Describe in detail the values you have stood for throughout your working life, and the functions, roles, achievements, and contributions you made in your line of duty. List the ones you are most proud of and would like to leverage on as you progress to the next phase of your career.
After that, build your profile by highlighting your most desirable traits. Start talking about yourself in a positive way, even if your ego is still in the doldrums. Clearly articulate the things you have to offer, and state how those things could impact the world positively.
2. Step back and remember who you are
As human beings, we tend to see only what is at the tip of our noses. It could be an unsatisfying job, a terrible boss who is out to sabotage us, a career that devalues us or an abusive relationship. Once we limit our thinking to such negativity, we may lose sight of who we are. We end up forgetting that we are intelligent, dedicated, talented, gifted, team players who deserve respect. If you’ve had a bad experience, for instance, if you’ve recently been fired, take a step back and review the arch of your life. It might be difficult, but try to take stock of the things you are good at, and what you have accomplished. Take back the power, and rediscover yourself.
3. Take a reality check
As a writer, I know that people feel most sad and depressed when they feel powerless. When they believe that they have no control over what is happening to them, and if they view themselves as hapless victims of a harsh, cruel world. I have experienced that feeling too, but I see things differently now.
We all contribute and shape our fates and destinies. We are not hapless victims, but powerful co-creators of our jobs, relationships and experiences. We are firmly in control of the events taking place in our lives.
You need to reflect on your life and examine the role you played in creating a toxic environment at your workplace. Recognise your fault. Perhaps you failed to take a leadership position when it arose, and this led to the stagnation of your career as other more daring individuals got promoted.
This is not to say that you are to blame. The reality is that you have a bigger hand in the circumstances that are at play in your life. If you change your perspective a little, you could gain greater awareness on how to get out of the rut and create a better future.
4. Connect with those who think highly of you
Every one of us has a few supporters, advocates and staunch fans who sing our praises and appreciate our talents. When you experience feelings of despair, do not sit back. Get in touch with those who think highly of you. They could be your friends, your former bosses, colleagues or professors. Anyone in your life who knows and values your capabilities. Knowing that someone finds your abilities worthwhile will no doubt boost your confidence.
5. Seek endorsement
This may seem like a small thing, but it has proven to be a game changer for many. Reach out to colleagues whom you admired the most and who love you back.
Ask them to write down some of the things they like about you. It could be your skills and competencies, professional ethics or personal traits that contribute to our emotional intelligence at work. You will be amazed at what these testimonials will do to your confidence. It will help you see your amazing potential.