Whether you are interviewing for a new job or considering making a career change, confidence can make or break your chances of success. Confidence can push you forward or hold you back from achieving your goals. Unfortunately, people who lack self-confidence sometimes subconsciously undermine themselves by rejecting opportunities and even sabotaging their success.
According to psychologists, your sense of self — how you perceive yourself — is derived from your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self-esteem is the regard or respect you have for yourself, or your judgment of your own worth. Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to accomplish things. A range of factors can influence and distort your self-esteem and self-efficacy, including your upbringing and life experiences. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to boost your confidence and propel yourself forward toward achieving your career goals.
Career coaching is one very effective way to help you get your confidence back on track. Here are a few quick and easy confidence boosters that a credentialed, experienced career coach might recommend:
1. Make a List of Your Greatest Accomplishments
Now is not the time to be modest. Start listing some of the things that you have achieved in your life. Sometimes it is all too easy to dwell on negativity and overlook the positive moments in your life. Consider the times when you reached your goals, when you helped another person, or when you were rewarded for your talent.
When creating your list, don’t limit yourself to your career. Think bigger. Perhaps you have helped an ailing loved one, completed a marathon, excelled in a class, parented a child, or learned a new hobby. These are all significant life events that demonstrate your talents, compassion, tenacity and intelligence.
2. Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, the author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” suggests that people with growth mindsets believe that change is possible and that they can improve through hard work and education. If you think you can change, learn, and become better, then you are more likely to stay motivated and pursue your goals.
So how can you cultivate this growth mindset? Try not to think of traits such as intelligence and talent as set in stone. Focus on taking at least one action every day to learn something new or improve an existing skill. Sign up for a class; look into online resources (a few of the best: Khan Academy, Coursera and TED Talks); read a new book or magazine; visit a new website; listen to a podcast.
3. Use Positive Self-Talk
Every day, the average person has 60,000 thoughts, and 90% of them are the exact same thoughts you had the day before. Research also suggests up to 70% of our daily thoughts are negative. Try paying close attention to your thoughts for several hours and you might be surprised at how many of them are detrimental. Self-limiting beliefs and negative self-talk can undermine confidence, but changing your inner voice is possible.
Mindfulness meditation is one strategy that can help transform your self-talk into a confidence-building force in your life. Practiced by Buddhist monks for thousands of years, research has increasingly demonstrated that mindfulness can be a useful tool for improving mental health and well-being. This form of meditation involves focusing on the present moment without any judgment of the thoughts, feelings and impressions that pass through your mind. By thinking without judging, you can learn to stop the negative self-talk and focus on more realistic and positive thoughts.
4. Notice Situations That Bolster and Impair Confidence
When do you feel most confident? Are you engaged in a particular task or surrounded by particular individuals? Knowing when your confidence is highest and identifying the influences that help foster that self-belief can help you find a way to harness it in other situations.
It is also important to be aware of the situations that seem to limit your confidence. Are there specific triggers such as an event or individual that make you feel less capable? For example, if you find yourself arriving at an interview late or unprepared, you will likely feel less assured. The next time you interview, you will probably be sure to come early and well-prepared. By learning how to identify the triggers that sap your confidence, you can start looking for ways to avoid them.
Confidence often takes time to build, but by employing these strategies, you’ll be on your way to a more self-assured self. If you struggle with confidence issues, career coaching can help you improve your efficacy, cultivate optimism, and overcome the self-limiting behaviors that often stem from poor confidence.
What strategies have you found most effective for boosting your confidence?