Thursday, June 24, 2010

Building Self-confidence In the Workplace

We secretly admire the doctors and medical practitioners who treats us for our many illnesses. He seems so sure of himself and is such a miracle because he can cure us of our tummy aches, influenzas and the occasional runny nose. There is a reason why we are so drawn to him and are able to connect with him. He has what we call "self confidence".

Confidence is a vital aspect of our day-to-day lives and is especially important in the workplace. After all, you would not be appreciative of a colleague who fumbles and trips over his words while doing a presentation. Unfortunately, not everyone was born with "built-in" self confidence. In fact, many of us had to work hard to achieve some semblance of confidence. People with low confidence and self-esteem often feel unappreciated and find it hard to succeed. The good thing is that it can be achieved with time and effort. Rome was not built in a day, so don't expect the same for yourself and do not push yourself to the limit.

You can easily distinguish a self-confident person from others. They stand tall and proud with their head held high and answer questions clearly but calmly. You will feel instinctively drawn to them because they inspire others around them. This automatically concludes that a self-confident person is often more successful than those who are not.

How confident are you to your colleagues? Take a breather and answer some of these questions to see if you need a crash course in building your confidence.

1. Do you always behave like how others expect you to?

2. Do you manage your behaviour based on what other people think?

3.Do you prefer to stay in your comfort zone and avoid taking up risks and challenging tasks?

4.Do you often find yourself scrambling to fix mistakes so that other people won't notice?

5.Do you feel yourself blushing in shame every time someone points out your mistakes?

If you answered "yes" to two or more of the above questions, then it's time you fix this. A person with low self-confidence is often self-destructive. Confidence is a mixture of courage, strength and the ability to pick yourself up when something fails.

Take pride in what you have achieved

Keep a log book or a diary and jot down all the achievements you have made. Perhaps you have closed a successful sales deal or have been recently promoted. Take note of praises and words of encouragement from your superior. For days when you feel down and demoted, flip through the pages and re-read some of your successes. They are a constant reminder that you can do it and are able to achieve more if you set your heart to it.

Be a go-getter

Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to it. Say "I will complete this project in a fortnight" and not "I think I can complete it in a fortnight". If you make a strong reinforcement to the statement, chances are your brain will register and you will be able to meet the deadline. Also, try to set goals that will highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Receive a compliment graciously

It is a natural instinct for Asians to be overly humble when someone compliments them. Don't be. Acknowledge that you deserve the compliment because you have worked hard for it. Smile and say "Thank you. It was really nice of you to notice my work. I'm very proud of it as well" and not "Oh, it was nothing. Anyone could have done it." The former shows that you are capable of handling tough projects while the latter says that you are a pessimist, plus it also gives the impression that your job is an easy-peasy one!

Positive self-talk

At this point, you have to start managing what goes in and out of your brain. Yes, you might have had a terrible experience at your last job and it has sucked out all of your self esteem and confidence. It is now time to let go and move on. Eliminate all negative self-talk and replace them with positive ones. One good tip that I've learnt is to stick colourful pictures on your wall, in your car, or any other places that are convenient to you. Stick a smiley face to remind you to smile. Put phrases of encouragement and frame them up.


Last but not least, celebrate to rejoice in the fact you have worked diligently to bring your self-confidence to another level. Allow yourself some fun. After this, stretch yourself a little bit more. Make your goals bigger and challenge yourself more. Take it one step at a time at a pace that's comfortable to you. Some people take three months; others may take up to six months or more. You will slowly notice a difference in yourself.