5 tips for feeling more confident
In professional working environments where you are often critiqued by your peers, it can be hard to maintain confidence. I realized this last week while I was working at the lab where I am currently pursuing a research project. It’s not that any of my peers often criticize me, but there are definitely times when I realize that I need to improve on things that I thought I was already good at. While on an everyday basis, I try to remind myself how strong and capable I am, in these moments it’s easy to momentarily feel like I can’t do anything right, which of course is not true. I was thinking over this weekend about how to bring yourself out of that mindset, and I thought I’d put together this list of tips that I am going to try to remember myself, and that I thought might be useful to you.
1. Remind yourself that if you weren’t capable, they wouldn’t have hired you
Okay, so maybe you thought you were great at writing but this week your peer, boss or otherwise handed you back a draft of a paper you’d been working really hard on with tons of red ink. You look through the paper and realize that a lot of the suggestions and corrections make sense. But how could you have missed so many errors if you are so good at writing?
Maybe your first instinct here is to question how good at writing you actually are, and if this happens repeatedly, maybe your instinct is to draw the conclusion that you actually aren’t that great at writing.
But then take a couple more minutes to think about this- if you were really bad at writing like you are thinking you are right now, would you have been hired in the first place?
The first step to being confident is reminding yourself that while you constantly will need to improve your skills, this doesn’t make you incapable. It just makes you human.
2. Seek out the positive
You should always be conscious of your actions, but some of us tend to be too concious of our mistakes. Telling yourself that you are never doing things right inherently starts up a reinforced cycle of negativity. This is never good if you are looking to get better.
When you feel negatively about your skills and how you’ve been doing, make a list. Write down everything you’ve been doing wrong, but also write down everything you know you’ve been doing right. If you can’t think of anything you are doing right, ask someone who you work with for help! Even though we might focus more on the negatives, trust that the people around you also do notice the positives. Let them know that you know you need to get better at some things, but also ask about the things they’ve noticed that you are good at. If you seek help, you will find it.
3. Dress like you are confident
This is a tip that deserves a post of its own! I just haven’t had time recently to take outfit shots or anything of the sort. But my number one tip would be to put some personality into what you wear and the way you look. Even if you conform to a specific style type (dressy, comfy, minimalistic), add your own touch to it- kind of like a theme. If you like gold accents, add plenty of gold accents. If you like your clothing to have a metallic look, do that! Do whatever makes you happy, but my first tip here would be to invest in clothing that makes you feel good and ready to take on anything.
4. Remind yourself that you are in progress
Take it from someone who battled the constant feeling of imperfection you will never reach perfect, and nobody does. So why bother worrying about it? Worry about what you are in control of, which is your attitude, your work ethic, and your effort. These are your tools. Use them well and you’ll reach new heights in everything you do.
5. Ask for help
One of the biggest places where almost everyone lacks confidence is asking for help. We want to feel like we know what we are doing, and that we are on the right track. But sometimes, that leads us to feeling inadequate when we need the help of others. Needing or wanting a team to stand behind you is not sign of weakness. In fact, being able to admit your weaknesses and ask for help in improving them is a sign of strength. If you want to be confident in your abilities, don’t be afraid of seeking out help from others, and trust that they won’t judge you for being imperfect. In my experience, you can only get better by taking lessons from the people around you.
These are my tips to becoming more confident. Feel free to let me know what you think! Also, if you liked this post, sign up for the email list to get weekly updates from me and other fun stuff, and also check out info on my upcoming podcast!