How to Build Your Confidence at Work

woman presenting at work
Danielle Doolen
4 years ago

At its core, confidence is a feeling that you are sure of yourself. It’s that quiet inner knowledge that you’re capable of your abilities. It means you have the courage to show up, without doubt, even in the presence of discomfort. Believing in yourself and knowing your worth is crucial to professional growth and success.

When you lack confidence, you set the bar too low, therefore resulting in weak goals and mediocre results. When you exude confidence, you’re going to have higher expectations, achieve more success, and feel happier at work. But how does one build confidence in the workplace when it feels like there are people in every political corner trying to pull you down? Here are seven tips to get you started.

Fake It ‘til You Make It

You’ve probably heard this before, but that’s because it works. When you act confident, even when you don’t feel like it, your confidence becomes reinforcing. For example, if you walk into a job interview with negative thoughts and low expectations that you’ll get the job, you’ll likely be right. The interviewer will sense your lack of self-worth and may pass on hiring you. But if you walk into an interview with a positive attitude, trusting your abilities, and knowing you’re the best fit for the role, even if you feel a bit like an imposter, your positive thinking translates into positive behaviors and actions that the interviewer is sure to notice.

Always Be Learning

Sometimes lack of confidence comes from simply not knowing. When you think about it, this is the easiest thing to fix because if you don’t know something, you can learn it. Gaining new skills is a sure way to boost your confidence. You can’t let what you don’t know stop you from progressing in your career. With online resources, training, and the wealth of knowledge that lies within the people at your company, there’s no reason that you can’t find the answer you’re looking for. Identify any knowledge gaps, ask a lot of questions, and work on expanding your area of expertise. Keep an open mind and always be willing to learn something new.

Stay Informed

Maybe what you don’t know isn’t a skill that you can easily learn, maybe it’s the information you need to do your job. Do you feel left out from important conversations that are vital for you to perform your best? Do you lack confidence because you don’t know what’s going on at your company? Speak up. Talk to your manager about your concerns. Let them know you’re finding it hard to do your job because you’re left out of the loop. Being aware of your surroundings and company happenings is essential to your success. If your company wants you, and therefore them, to thrive, they’ll make sure you’re a part of the right meetings and email threads.

Think and Talk Positively

Throw that negative self-talk right out the door. It’s all about positivity. Positive self-talk, essentially your internal dialogue, can reduce stress and anxiety and provide encouragement and optimism. When you utilize positive self-talk, you can solve problems and think differently, enabling you to cope more efficiently with challenges. How we speak to ourselves and about ourselves can make all the difference between feeling confident in our abilities and lacking the self-worth to get the job done.

Focus on Your Strengths

Everyone has strengths. You’ve gotten this far in your life and career because you’re good at something. Even if some days you doubt yourself, there is something that you can do better than anyone else. Focus on those strengths and achievements. What are you great at? What compliments have you received in your professional career? What have you done really well? Focusing on the good will give you the courage and confidence to tackle whatever is in front of you. Additionally, practicing gratitude is a powerful tool to promote positive thinking and appreciate what you have to help you get where you’re going.

Build Strong Relationships

Having people in your corner throughout life that can help pick you up when you’re feeling down or provide that tough love when you need it can be just the thing to build your confidence. It can be hard to see our strengths and accomplishments when we’re too close to them. When someone else can provide you with perspective and insight, it can be a game-changer. Find friends, coworkers, mentors, or sponsors and build and nurture relationships with them throughout your professional career for the times when you feel like you can’t do it alone.

Change Your Body Language

When all else fails or when you can’t seem to get your mind right, change your body. Not the way you look (you’re perfect just the way you are), but your stance. Physically change your body language to change your mindset. If you haven’t seen American Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, stop what you’re doing and go watch it. In it, she suggests that power posing changes our body chemistry and that those people who adopt high-power poses demonstrate an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol. These hormonal effects, therefore, increase our feelings of power. The next time you need a little confidence boost, put your hands on your hips like Wonder Woman and get ready to conquer your day.

For more career resources, networking, and job opportunities, check out our membership community Females in Food. Our mission is simple – to advance women into senior leadership positions across every segment of the F&B industry and close the gender gap.
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