Insecurity at work is a career killer. That said, we all experience it at one time or another. That moment when you start a new job…or have a big presentation to make…or realize you are in over your head with that high profile project…your self-esteem plummets and you start to question yourself…“Can I really pull this off?”
Stop. Take a deep breath. And….fake it!!
I have shared this advice with colleagues and employees countless times, and the conversation usually dissolves into a good laugh. It sounds silly, but I assure you…it works!
The big secret is that no one knows what’s in your own head. Only you. No one knows that you are feeling insecure, that you’re doubting your abilities. People only see what you choose to show them. So even in your moments of self-doubt, make sure to put on your best face of confidence and self-assuredness.
Those around you will take their cues from your behaviour. You have the power to influence this. In fact, ONLY you have the power to influence what others think of you. It all stems from your confidence, and in some case, ability to fake it!
We all know how to put on a brave face from time to time….when our kids get hurt and you’re sitting in the emergency room waiting to get stitches, and you say “It won’t hurt honey, all will be fine!” Really?? Good fake. Tell him what he needs to hear in the moment to feel better. Do the same in your work.
Your employees want to know that all will be fine. Your boss wants to know that all is fine. Even if it isn’t, if you have convinced others around you that everything is under control, you will succeed in calming the situation, and your own nerves. Your appearance of confidence will translate into true confidence. You will feel empowered.
So understanding that all of us experience doubting moments in the workplace, is somewhat empowering in itself. You are not alone. To help you through those tough moments, here are some tips on how to display confidence in your work….to help you get the job you want…to help you get that big promotion….to help you get the recognition you deserve.
1- You’re not perfect! (Is this a surprise??)
Don’t be insulted to get feedback, it is a natural part of working and engaging with others. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get that dream job right out of the gate…or if your boss has chosen to promote someone else in the team. Your confidence and self-esteem might take a hit, but the way in which you choose to handle these moments will impact your reputation within an organization…you have the power to choose whether it is positive or negative. Again, if need be…temper your reactions (and fake it!)….save the massive outpouring of emotions for your therapist! Keeping a stable emotional front within the workplace is critical to your ongoing success.
2- “Be” what you’re actually good at!
Knowing what you’re actually good at is critical to your success. Take off those blinders!! You might really want to be a manager, but don’t work well with others. You might really want to be an interior designer, but are colour blind (ya, seriously!). As women, we have an overinflated tendency to be unrealistic in our own expectations of ourselves…which ultimately results in failure and disappointment. We do this to ourselves without even realizing! I once dreamed of being a doctor (still think about it from time to time!), but am not strong in math or physics. Why did I berate myself for so many years for not becoming a doctor when I am talented in other areas?
The only way to learn and grow is to try new things. Studies have shown that a primary anxiety trigger (especially for women!) is the “unknown”. Embarking on a new career adventure is riddled with “unknowns” and scary! Good!! This is the only way to grow in your career. Recognize the feeling, embrace it, realize it will past…and learn to live with this discomfort. And for each time you make it through these moments, it will become more and more tolerable, even comfortable!
4- Look the part….act the part!
Hard to appear poised and instill confidence in others in lululemon sweatpants (unless you work at the gym!). Take the time to put yourself together in something sharp, and while your appearance is only a small part of how people will perceive you, it is nonetheless a factor. In this day and age, having to dress the part is almost insulting to professional women who confidently stand supported by their education and credentials…but it’s part of the game. Consider it an investment in your career. When you look better…you feel better…and that speaks volumes in terms of how you will be perceived by others.