‘Fake it ‘til you make it’... I’ve seen so many people claim that this is a good mantra for building self-confidence, but I’ve got to be honest here: I absolutely hate this concept.
Why? Because we’re putting ourselves down right at the start! We’re assuming we’re not qualified enough or capable enough to handle a challenge, so we’re already at a disadvantage before we even begin. That’s not a particularly good foundation, is it?
I say that approaching a work challenge is really no different to approaching any other sort of challenge. We’d never sit down with a crossword puzzle and think ‘oh, I’m just going to fake the answers until I get one right’, do we? Of course we don’t. But at work, we have a habit of putting ourselves down before we’ve given ourselves a chance.
Instead of faking it, we should instead be trying to build up our self-confidence and focus on the aspects of ourselves that will help us to overcome the challenge. Look at it this way: this isn’t some kind of joke. Your manager hasn’t given you this task to set you up for failure (the business landscape is too competitive right now to mess around). As hard as it may be to believe, you’ve been challenged with the task ahead of you because others believe in your ability… all that’s left is for you to believe in yourself.
So what are some great self-confidence techniques to help you achieve great things?
Feeling uncertain when approaching a new career challenge is probably rooted in negative self perception. Most of us have this nasty habit of amplifying our weaknesses, which makes us view ourselves as being worse than what we really are. Visualisation can help. It’s a technique that’s used a lot in mindfulness, giving the brain something to focus on. Take a few quiet moments and try to build an image in your head of you tackling the challenge. You’ll gain a great understanding of the skills and talents you already possess that can help you succeed, and help you see the positive outcomes.
A new challenge at work means facing the unknown, and let’s not beat around the bush here: the unknown can be scary. But it’s only scary because it’s something we don’t really face all that often. In life, and at work, we build routines; we wake, we eat, we go to work, we come home, and so on. It’s actually very rare that we have to deal with the unknown so it’s natural that we wouldn’t have much confidence in this area. So make it something that you do see every day. Even something as simple as taking a different route to work can help the unknown become more familiar and comfortable.
Forget the rest
Don’t get me wrong, having a strong support system in place can really help people to feel motivated through periods of change, but when you're faced with a career challenge and you’re not feeling too confident in your ability to succeed, sometimes it can be beneficial to close your mind off and focus on you and you alone. I really believe that one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of confidence building is comparison. I work with so many people who overlook their own qualities in favour of the qualities of others. Remember: other people’s qualities don’t affect or negate ours.
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