The ability to believe in yourself and deliver what you do with conviction.
It’s a well-known fact that those with the power of self-confidence seem to go further in life than those without it. It may seem like a cruel and unfair dealing of the cards that your colleague was blessed with an abundance of self-assurance, while you’re sat there, feeling like a fraud and wondering how the hell you got here in the first place, but the reality of it is, confidence is a learned skill and very closely linked with how we allow others to see us.
There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Those who are overly brash in their convictions, or fail to deliver what they have promised are often seen as being cocky, rather than confident and soon enough, they are rumbled. It is equally damaging to not have enough confidence in one’s self; people may see you as weak or incapable, or in some cases, may not even see you at all!
I’m no expert, but here’s a few things that have worked for me.
1: Dealing with your demons
The first thing to remember is that everyone has their demons. You must dig deep from within and learn to deal with these issues. Where have they come from? Often low self-esteem comes from not being instantly good at something and seeking validation from others. We all need to start somewhere and it’s ok to make mistakes and ask for help. Know your limits and your capabilities and accept that you might not know everything. People will respect you more for being honest and having the confidence to ask about it.
2: Believe in yourself! You know more than you give yourself credit for
You do. It’s a fact. Think about what it is that you do. Really think about it. Now pretend that there is a new employee in your office and you have been tasked with showing them the ropes. Do you honestly think they would be able to just crack on with things without your guidance? It’s highly unlikely. So, give yourself more credit! Next time someone asks you a question, DON’T PANIC!! Think about the question they’ve asked and think about it properly. The answer is probably lodged somewhere in that big brain of yours, but it’s too full of self-doubt that you’re struggling to see it, so clear that head and find that answer! And if you can’t, simply tell your colleague you’ll double check and get back to them. Sometimes our heads are too full to access the info we need straight away and taking five is all we need to get back on track. It doesn’t mean you’re not good at what you do, you’ve just got too much on your plate at that specific point in time.
3: Say it with conviction
Now that we’ve established that you’re actually a bit of a clever clogs, it’s time to learn step 3: saying things with conviction. This can be tricky for some, especially those that feel flustered at the sight of another human being. If this sounds like you, start off small. Next time your colleague offers you a cup of tea, answer with a confident: “yes please [insert colleague’s name] that would be lovely.” If you see your colleague struggling with a problem that you know how to fix (this could be anything, from a printer, to a client, to an algorithm) offer a helping hand. You got this! As your confidence grows, you’ll find yourself offering up your expertise and accepting hot beverages left, right and centre in no time!!
4: Take the damn compliment
This is something that I myself have struggled with in the past. Why? Because I just didnt feel worthy of it. But think about it: have you ever given someone a false compliment to spite them? NO! Because people just don’t do that (unless they’re really mean). When a person compliments another person, it’s generally genuine. And if, you’re unlucky enough to meet one of those really mean people, the best thing you can do is take the compliment and offer one back. It’ll completely throw them and they won’t know what to do.
Some good responses to a compliment are:
“That’s so kind of you, thanks”
“Thanks a lot”
“Thank you very much”
“How kind of you to say”
You get the picture!
5: The power to instil confidence in others
Now, this is a real skill, because to instil confidence in others, you must first have confidence (or appear to have confidence) in yourself. The easiest way to instil confidence in others is to pay them a compliment. This is most effective when the person you are paying a compliment to sees you as someone who is an expert on the matter. If Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace) paid you a compliment on your tech skills, for example, it would certainly hold more weight to it than a compliment on the same subject from, say, your mother. Once you’ve shown others that you are good at what you do they will respect your opinion on their skills.
It might seem daunting at first, but start with baby steps and watch your confidence grow. If it can work for me, then it can work for you too!