Do you often get feedback at work that you need to increase your self-confidence but with no advice or guidance on how to do that?
Or maybe you have been given advice that makes you want to hurl into a bucket because it includes the words “fake it till you make it”
Knowing what you need to do but not knowing how to go about it can be a very frustrating feeling, especially when it comes to self-confidence. I know because I have been there and bought the t-shirt. For years I was frequently told that all I needed was more self-confidence and I would get promoted.
It’s funny when I look back as I don’t really recall being asked if getting promoted was what I wanted, I think it was more of an assumption. And if I was asked, then my answer would have most likely been yes because that was what I “assumed” that I “should” be doing. That’s what working in a corporation is about, right?
Which meant by my standards, I had made not getting promoted to mean I must have been a failure and consequently, over time my confidence continued to erode.
Made worse by the fact that I was also given feedback that my empathy was a weakness, my sense of humour wasn’t welcome and that I needed to behave more like the men in the department (or worse still like the women who were behaving like the men) if I wanted to get on.
But get this… when I finally did get promoted to Director level, which I had been trying and failing to do for over 5 years, I didn’t feel any sense of satisfaction. In fact, it was actually the complete opposite.
Also, more importantly, what I completely missed when absorbing constructive feedback over the years was that this feedback was about me performing in the role I was in. Not about me as a person!
Biggest learning: I wasn’t listening to myself.
My mind was so pre-occupied with what I “should” be doing I had lost sight of what I actually “wanted” to be doing. I had lost touch with who I was, what I stood for and what I was put on this planet to do. In fact, I remember on more than one occasion being asked what I wanted to do and me not being able to articulate anything in a cohesive manner!
There’s no wonder I didn’t have any self-confidence.
It was like the equivalent of driving around in a car without any directions or destination in mind and then being disappointed when I was told there weren’t any shops nearby. Who said I wanted to go to the shops anyway?!
That all changed though when I put into practice this very simple and effective process which increased my self-confidence immediately. It was like a the sat nav came on out of nowhere and started clearly directing me after all that driving around.
And not only have I used this process working with a coach to increase my own self-confidence, but this simple method also forms the backbone of my own coaching programme that I use with 1:1 clients who choose to work with me.
So the question is, How well do you really know yourself?
How easy is it for you to articulate your strengths, your interests, your values?
How much of your day do you spend doing something that you are good at, that you enjoy and that you believe is adding value in this world?
At first I was quite terrified when I came face to face with the fact that although I had become proficient at doing many things, when I really dug deep and asked myself if I enjoyed it, and believed I was really adding the value that I was capable of, the answer from the woman in the mirror was a big fat NO.
However, once I celebrated my strengths, embraced my interests and used my values as a measure of my success then my self confidence has continued to increase.
Now the good news is you can crack on and try this hack yourself today.
However, if you’re not prepared to do the work then of course you cannot expect things to magically change for you.
So go ahead, get yourself a notebook and pen and list out your strengths, values and interests.
If you’re struggling to do that perhaps you can enlist the help of a colleague, trusted friend or better still a professional career coach to help you nail this down for you for once and for all.
Remember, we only get one crack at life, so go on, what are you waiting for?
You have nothing to lose, but EVERYTHING to gain.