Self-confidence in the workplace affects everyone. Here are some tips to help you be your most confident.
I recently had the opportunity to moderate a discussion panel called “The Self Confident You” at the St. Louis Women in Tech Exchange professional meetup.
The panel members comprised of four accomplished executive thought leaders who shared their advice and insights about everything relating to self-confidence in the workplace. While the event was geared toward Women in Tech, the conversation was a transparent, impactful, and inspirational discussion for anyone in the workplace.
Self-Confidence In Practice
Here are some of the panel’s main tips to maintain confidence in the workplace:
- Life is a journey. We will fail at some point on this journey. When failure happens, we often beat ourselves up about it. Instead, let’s shift our thought process about failure and view it as a learning experience. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow and then move on with greater confidence!
- Do you want to advance your career? Ask for more leadership responsibility. This step may push you out of your comfort zone, but things don’t magically happen. Asking for more responsibilities could lead to advancement in your career. It shows you are confident in your skillsets. It’s definitely worth the temporary discomfort in the long run.
- Do you find it hard to accept a compliment? If so, you are not alone! Instead of receiving praise, we often tend to disregard our accomplishments or insist someone else deserves the credit. When we do this, we sabotage ourselves. The solution? Accept the appreciation, and don’t downplay your accomplishments!
- Don’t underestimate the value of a polished physical presentation of yourself. Dress appropriately for the situation. Wear your best suit for an important event. Don’t show up to an event in sneakers when you should have been in nice dress shoes. Feeling out of place doesn’t inspire confidence.
- Always be prepared. Do your homework, and show up with confidence because you know your stuff.
- Your eye contact, as well as your handshake, can reflect your level of confidence. A weak handshake is often a sign of a lack of confidence. You need to have a firm handshake and be able to look people in the eye. Check out these tips by Lahle Wolfe to learn ways to shake hands with confidence.
- Have you ever wanted to give yourself a quick boost of confidence immediately before an important meeting, presentation or job interview? One panel member suggested power posing. Amy Cuddy did a Ted Talk with the benefits of power posing. She suggested, “our body language governs how we think and feel about ourselves, and thus, how we hold our bodies can have an impact on our minds.” According to Cuddy, by commanding a powerful stance, we can align our mindset to reflect the pose. Cuddy completed a study while at Harvard University, during which participants either held a power pose or a more protective pose. Cuddy’s research resulted in two significant findings. First, people who sat in high-power positions felt more powerful than their low-power pose counterparts. Second, power posing changed their body chemistry. According to Forbes, “Cuddy’s study suggested that those who adopted high-power poses demonstrated an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol. Cuddy interpreted these hormonal effects as further evidence of increases in feelings of power.” While we discussed several different poses, the one that resonated the most with me was the famous “Wonder Women” pose (where Wonder Women stands tall with her hands on her hips, chest out, shoulders back and her head held high). Give it a try.
- Have you ever felt that you are not good at your job, less capable than those around, and at times, you possibly feel like a fraud? This feeling is known as Impostor Syndrome. The Harvard Business Review defines imposter syndrome as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” People who suffer from this syndrome struggle with self-doubt and intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They cannot internally acknowledge their accomplishments despite external achievements.
We concluded the discussion acknowledging this is a universal topic which affects all genders and how everyone, at times, may experience this feeling of self-doubt and insecurity.
Know your strengths and don’t be afraid to show these. “If you can see it, you can be it,” one of the panelists said.
The final advice from the panel was that no matter what, be authentic, real, and genuine.
The panel members suggested several books that have helped them throughout their confidence journey, which include:
- Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols
- Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
- Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
- Leading From the Front by Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch
- Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever