Employers want to hire self-confident people because they are likeable and believable, and an indicator of how they might be in the role and in their organization. Employers ask themselves ‘can I trust this person to deliver?’ and ‘will this person reflect well on us with our customers?’ Self-confident people are more at ease with themselves than those who are not. Their inner strength rubs off on colleagues at work and that inspires their confidence. Behaviour breeds behaviour. What strategies help build your self-confidence so you have a better chance of getting hired and greater career success?
Self-confidence is about being self-assured, self-reliant, both certain and comfortable with uncertainty, emotionally-controlled, with healthy self-esteem and humility. You truly believe that you have control over your future and that your actions will create the success you see for yourself.
Here are 11 approaches to help you leap into the unknown with more self-confidence:
- Feel the fear and do it anyway. Making the perfect decision can be an illusion. Don’t allow perfectionism to derail you. Trust your instincts. “Act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than think your way into a new way of acting.” Richard Pascale.
- See failure as a rehearsal for success. Wisdom comes from your successes AND from your failures. From Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, very few people succeed at the first attempt. The same applies to starting a blog, job hunting and learning from each CV, interview and interaction with your network. Reframe your self-talk from ‘what have I got to lose?’ to ‘what have I got to gain?’, from ‘life is unfair’ to ‘what can I change?’
- Create a safety net by having the support of people you trust around you. “I get by with a little help from my friends” The Beatles (after Joe Cocker). Surround yourself with the 5 people that validate your worth, fill you with confidence and possibilities, not the ones that judge you and drag you down.
- Manage your expectations. Some fields are ultra-competitive. Be a realistic optimist. Roll up your sleeves and muck in to build your self-confidence, even if it’s not where you want to be right now. Play the long game and see each experience as an opportunity to learn what to rule in and rule out. Then take the next leap with more self-confidence.
- Embrace uncertainty. Research shows we are hardwired to seek certainty in our lives because of our fear of change. Embrace uncertainty by opening your mind and expanding your opportunities and behaviours. Identify what is unknown and accept it. Identify what is known and work with it.
- Turn adversity to your advantage. Research suggests people who graduate during recessions are more satisfied with their careers than those who graduated during times of prosperity. A bronze medal in the Olympics is more satisfying than silver, because you’re just glad to get on the podium as opposed to missing out on the gold. Make these ‘silver linings’ a reality by turning adversity to your advantage, using it to achieve breakthrough thinking and then taking action. Take a different perspective for a different result. For example, increase your credibility by showing your vulnerability.
- Relive and visualize success like top sports people do. Recall positive leaps you have made in the past. Relive those moments. Think of the mountains you have climbed, the barriers you have overcome, and look back on how far you have travelled. What resources did you call upon to make it this far? Look forwards, set your next milestone and take that positivity with you. Begin with the end in mind. What does success look like for you?
- Have Plan A, B and C so that you have more than one leap in mind as fall back positions. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Have three options to pursue, but ensure you maintain your focus on the main one and use the others to fall back on. Hope and purpose feed your self-confidence.
- Prepare beforehand so you are fit to leap to give you the best possible chance of success. You wouldn’t run a marathon without putting in the training. Do your research. Confidence soars when you know your topic inside out. Own what you know so you can talk confidently about it to employers.
- Adjust your language. Don’t undersell yourself through the language you use to talk about yourself. You are not ‘just a …’ or ‘only the’ intern or ‘simply the newbie’. Talk about yourself with pride and conviction.
- Imagine there is a springboard underneath that you can bounce off no matter what happens. Ask yourself ‘what if..?’ questions – What if I learn how to code? What if I go travelling for 3 months? What if I follow my heart? There will always be another day, another opportunity. If you want to learn to leap, grab hold of the future before the future grabs hold of you.
So, your self-confidence is built by greater self-awareness of how you think and feel, managing yourself through the behaviours and skills that reinforce your self-worth and capabilities, and celebrating your successes as well as bouncing back from setbacks. You can do it!