Improve Your Professional Self Confidence

Posted by Rob Riggins

Self-confident professionalA supervisor once told me he found nothing more unnerving than a person with no self-confidence. He often shied away from hiring those people – or certainly thought twice before he did – because he wanted staff members that could confidently make decisions without a lot of handholding.

He could always spot those people right away, within minutes of meeting them. It wasn’t because my supervisor was a specialist in human behavior. He was a careful observer, though, and an experienced manager who knew that some actions signaled low self esteem.

The more I tuned into the behaviors and read about hiring, the more I began to spot those red flags, too.

Consider these actions often exuded by those with low self-confidence to make sure you aren’t inadvertently sabotaging your career ­–

You hide your true opinions. Those with healthy self-esteem speak the truth as they see it, Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., told Psychology Today. Now that doesn’t mean you should be a bully or hurt someone’s feelings, of course. But those with low self-confidence often hide their true opinions or readily agree with others.  Overcome that habit by managing your fear of rejection by giving yourself a positive, internal pep talk, recommended Preston Ni, author of “How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions” in a column for Psychology Today. Rather than thinking “I’ll suggest this idea and will be crushed if no one likes it,” try to change your thought to “I’ll suggest this idea. If no one likes it, maybe it will trigger another solution for the problem.”

You make a play for the spotlight. We’ve all seen people (or perhaps been one of them) who constantly brags, name drops and clowns when they’re in the presence of bosses or other people in important positions. That’s a sign of insecurity, wrote Psychotherapist Gerald Stein. Psychologists and other students of human behavior told Quartz that namedroppers and braggarts want to appear worldly and confident. The behavior has a negative impact. Instead, the experts told Quartz, focus the conversation on yourself and the people with whom you’re talking. If you feel yourself growing anxious, ask a question.

You don’t defend your point of view. Some people, when challenged, turn into wallflowers and don’t defend their points of view. That sometimes happens in meetings when people with a lack of confidence feel their likeability will be damaged if they speak up. Research has shown, though, that those that do speak up are the ones thought of as “likeable,” reported Fortune magazine. So how do you defend your opinion? Prior to a meeting, think of phrases you can use such as “You make a good point but….” or “You may want to consider,” author Andy Molinsky,  professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis University’s International Business School, told Fortune.  Practice this approach in a small group of trusted friends and colleagues before you debut it in a major setting, said Molinsky, author of Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge, and Build Confidence. If you find yourself floundering, even in the small group, he said to try again. “Sometimes it really helps to remember that it’s not just you,” Molinsky said. “Everyone struggles with having to move beyond his or her comfort zone at some time or other.”

You constantly compete. Of course some competition is a positive. If Steve Jobs didn’t compete, there would be no Apple. If Bill Gates didn’t compete, Microsoft wouldn’t be a world leader, either. But there’s a difference between striving for excellence and sabotaging yourself with personal competitions and comparisons. Forbes Contributor Martin Zwilling suggested that such behaviors make you feel isolated and alienated. And that, of course, fuels your lack of confidence. Concentrate on your own work and skills to boost your confidence.

You are too self-deprecating. No one wants to be a showboat, of course, but people who are constantly criticizing themselves may well lack self confidence. And that negative self-talk fuels your lack of confidence, wrote Susan Biali, M.D. in Psychology Today. Biali wrote about a client who aspired to author books but talked about how she “slaughtered” the English language. “I took her to task on this as soon as I heard it, wrote Biali. “She is a good writer and most assuredly did not “slaughter” anything. She hasn’t fully owned her talent as a writer, and sabotages herself by slamming herself and her work publicly. This was a completely inaccurate statement, but when she hears herself saying it she punches herself yet again and keeps the truth of her talent hidden from herself and the world.” Such negative talk “poisons your mind” against yourself, she said.

Do you see yourself in these scenarios? If so, don’t beat yourself up! That will only further damage your self-confidence. Instead train yourself to break those habits.

“Self-confidence is not a static quality; rather, it’s a mindset that takes effort to maintain when the going gets rough” wrote Jacqueline Whitmore for Entrepreneur. “It must be learned, practiced and mastered just like any other skill. But once you master it, you will be changed for the better.”









This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 6:22 am

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