True confidence is your belief in your ability to succeed. Whether you’re shooting to be promoted, get a great new job or even just ask for a raise, it matters. In fact, according to studies by Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University, it might matter more than competence itself.
This can be a bit disheartening to hear if you’re not feeling particularly confident in yourself and your abilities. However the good news, is that confidence is not a fixed trait. Confidence can be practiced and boosted over time, especially at work.
Here are three ways to boost your confidence in the workplace.
1. Focus on effort, not ability
This means adopting a growth mindset and the belief that skills and abilities can be learned through hard work. When we praise effort and the process of learning, rather than innate ability, it instils a sense of confidence in the fact that what we know is not fixed and that we can always learn more. We can learn anything that we focus on if we just put our minds to it. Believe that you can develop the skills and traits necessary to succeed, including confidence.
2. Make a list
When we know we’ve done well in the past, we can pull from those accomplishments to bolster our confidence in current situations. Our ability to perform can be greatly affected by whether or not we believe we’ll do well. When we keep a running tab of accomplishments, capabilities and even just small wins, it goes a long way to provide reassurance.
3. Practice Kaizen
Kaizen is the Japanese business philosophy of practicing continuous improvement in personal efficiency through small steps. If you’re out of your comfort zone and feeling overwhelmed, focus on taking small steps in an ongoing manner versus jumping in and attempting to overhaul something all at once. Not only will small wins provide you with the motivation and confidence to continue but, it often proves more effective than huge undertakings in the long haul.
While it can feel unfair that decision makers in your career may be swayed more strongly by a confident coworker’s swagger than your own expertise and capabilities, know that confidence is something you can work on (and you should!). While knowledge and expertise are important in and of themselves, it’s confidence that might actually turn out to be the key factor in developing a successful career.