How to gain self-confidence? Five Best Practices for the Professional
Many, especially aspiring professionals, feel insecure about themselves. They feel like they are imposters who can’t do anything. They look at well-known colleagues in the industry and think, “Those really are monsters, they don’t eat their bread for nothing, but me… Who am I kidding?” To make matters worse, in addition to purely internal self-esteem issues, there are professions in which it’s really hard to know how good you are, even if you’re exceptionally good.
There are professions whose results are easy to gauge. A bomb squad makes one mistake. The eager and smart waiter can be immediately distinguished from the lazy and forgetful one. In sports, you can not build yourself a champion, if it is not confirmed by results. But there are professions where the criteria are blurred, or the results do not appear immediately, or depend on many factors, not only on the professionalism of the specialist. In these professions, the impostor syndrome flourishes in profusion. Usually these professions deal either with complex, complex tasks, or with creative tasks, or with tasks of helping and teaching people.
A classic example of people in the creative professions are artists, writers, composers, and actors. What do Tommy Lee Jones, Louis de Funès, Morgan Freeman, Pierre Richard, Jean Renault have in common besides the fact that they are all famous actors? To all of them, success came after the age of forty, and before that they either had minor roles or films in which they played major roles but didn’t attract attention.
Or the story of Joan Rowling. Her first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers, and the one that took it to print did not see it as a masterpiece and advised the writer to get a job because she had little chance of making money on children’s books. Why did a crowd of book publishing experts overlook a masterpiece? Because there are no clear criteria for what counts as a masterpiece.
Creative people can only rely on themselves. The world is often not ready to accept them, and they have to prove over and over again that they are worth something. When this does not happen time after time, all the conditions arise to be disappointed in themselves, to sink into depression and to give up their vocation.
Challenging Business Challenges
It would seem that in business everything should be different, because there are all sorts of KPI, by which you can evaluate the work of any professional. Often indeed you can, but there is enough subjectivity. Since I am the co-owner of the agency “Stereomarketing”, the example will be from the marketing sphere.
At the beginning of our business we made a knowledge base for the client, which was to help owners of generators to conduct maintenance: change oil and plugs, do running-in, etc. We wrote over four hundred articles, attracted traffic for the queries: “how to change a plug in an alternator”, “how to change the oil in an alternator”.
The question is, did we do a good job? Judging by the metrics, yes. People got to the right articles for relevant queries, we made sure that our instructions were as clear as possible (with pictures and videos), we recorded the completion of pages, and saw that users finish reading them. But the problem is that no metrics can tell if the person managed to change a spark plug or change the oil, if the article helped him or not.
If you are a novice professional and also a perfectionist, the lack of a definite answer, whether you achieve your goals or not, can generate doubt about your own value. Only with experience comes the understanding of what you can really influence, and where it is worth to draw the boundaries of your responsibility, and not to play the role of God, responsible for everything in this world (or the client’s business).
Working with people
I’m talking about professions in which the success of the job depends half on the client. A psychotherapist will not help a client if he is not willing to change, and a teacher will not teach a student if he is not willing to learn. The result of their work depends not only on themselves, but also on the client with whom they work.
When my wife started working as a psychologist, the first year and a half of her practice was not easy because of doubts about whether she was good enough to help people. Despite training in a recognized method of psychotherapy, regular intervisions and supervisions, additional training and even testimonies from clients that counselling helped them, doubts were still there because it was very difficult work.
Our psyche is stable and inert, so profound changes happen slowly. For example, it takes several years to compensate for structural deficits so that people change their attitude toward themselves, learn to be kinder to themselves and to accept themselves and build harmonious relationships with other people. Beginning psychologists and psychotherapists have a hard time with the apparent lack of results since they want people to change instantly. Hence the eternal doubts about their value, which pass only with experience.
There is no easy way to solve a complex problem. But I can share an experience that helped me and my loved ones believe in myself when it was especially difficult.
Surround yourself with a support group
It’s much easier if you have people around you who believe in you. This could be coworkers, your boss, your Instagram followers, friends, or your family. Anyone who is willing to give you support. Anybody you can turn to for help, and those people will take your side, rather than bullying you.
My wife and I once pledged, “Let’s believe in each other even when we have no strength. Even when no one else believes in us.” Sometimes simply saying, “You’re okay, you can do it, I believe in you” is enough to ease the crisis.
Even better if your support group understands what you are doing and is able to argue that you are doing a good job and temper overly high expectations. For example, psychologists have intervisory groups where you can share difficulties in your practice and get peer support. I think other professions would benefit from borrowing this experience as well.
Get feedback from clients
If you already have clients (they could be colleagues for whom you do work), you can take detailed feedback from them and find out how they work with you, what they value you for, and what you need to work on.
This is a great way to check your prejudices. For example, you may think you are too intrusive, or that you have too little contact with customers, or that you are price gouging. Customer feedback is a great way to confirm or, much more often, dispel your fears. At Stereomarketing, we ask our customers:
- Why did you choose us?
- Were there any fears or doubts before you started and how did you overcome them?
- What was memorable about our work? What did you like and what didn’t?
- What results do you value most?
- What qualities were most important to you?
- And 50 more questions to help you get quality feedback.
More than once we have seen that clients may be guided by motives that would never occur to us. For example, Vadim Mamontov, General Director of RussiaDiscovery, said that the decisive factor in choosing us as a contractor was not the projects we have implemented, but the passion, the excitement with which we take on projects. The way we communicate, how we present ideas, how we make the client move his brain for his own good.
These things are hard to understand about yourself from the outside, so don’t pass up the chance to take feedback from clients – it will help give you confidence (and you’ll also have client feedback, which isn’t bad either).
Look behind your competitors’ façade
It always seems that the grass is greener on your neighbor’s lawn, that your colleagues are more experienced, more professional, more successful than you. The matter is aggravated by the fact that usually you see the leaders of the market, those who are in full view, and also know how to talk about themselves well. How not to get bored here?
The most effective way is to talk to well-known colleagues. This is exactly what we did a few years ago, we talked to studio owners who were role models for us.
When you look behind the perfect facade, it turns out that everyone goes the same way plus/minus one and faces similar problems.
Similar experiences come from participating in psychotherapy groups where people share their problems and weaknesses. It turns out that their life is nothing like the picture from their own Instagram. All face similar problems, angry, offended, sad, conflicted, feeling unappreciated. So if you have an idol in your life, get to know it better. It turns out that this is the same person as you, with its strengths and weaknesses, and the obsession will disappear.
There are many opportunities now to learn from practitioners in your industry, and it’s a good way to boost your self-esteem for three reasons at once.
The first reason is obvious – if you learn, you become more experienced and knowledgeable, there are more reasons to appreciate yourself.
The second reason is feedback from teachers, who will tell you what you do well, and where you should tighten your knowledge. This will help reduce the degree of uncertainty and focus efforts on development, rather than doubts and self-talk.
The third reason is that you will have the opportunity to compare yourself with other participants on an equal footing. You will perform the same tasks, and like athletes you will be able to assess your level in comparison with others. This is important because in normal life you don’t know if the starting conditions are the same. Maybe you had a budget of 20 thousand for a branding and your competitors had 200 thousand, should you be surprised that the result is very different? Here you will be able to assess more objectively what level of development you are at.
Appreciate yourself for small achievements
In our culture there is a widespread habit of valuing oneself for a feat. If you make a website, then by all means Sberbank, if you strive for something, then by all means become number one in your business. Everything else is unworthy of mentioning and cannot serve as proof of personal awesomeness. This is a very stupid and harmful belief.
Setting the bar high is a great way to be disappointed in yourself.
The problem here is not only that such a bar is difficult to set, but also that if you can only value yourself for big wins, you will constantly need them, and it is unrealistic to win big all the time.
It’s much more useful to appreciate yourself for small accomplishments. This can be anything: took a copywriting course, learned a new tool in Photoshop, clearly described the client’s services on the website, increased the conversion rate in the application by 0.5%. The main thing is that these accomplishments should be regular.
First, because small, but regular accomplishments lead to great results in the long term. Secondly, because small victories, which depend on you and which you can regularly reproduce, just give birth to self-confidence.
Repeating a feat is hard. Repeating a small accomplishment is easy. It is from such small things that confidence is built.
How to become more confident: 15 easy steps to success
Everyone knows the saying that the water does not flow under a rolling stone. Based on the phrase, it is clear that in order to achieve something in life, you need to make the appropriate efforts. But for these actions you need to have a good self-esteem, a positive perception and a sense of self-confidence.
One must also learn to understand that there is no one-time pill for all of this. There is a lot of work to be done on yourself that will take a considerable amount of time and help you organize your efforts to improve your life as much as possible.
New thinking is able to radically change and change for the better the communication with your loved ones, colleagues and relatives, it can make the perception of any events easier, and can teach you not to stop and not to dwell on difficult situations, and to position yourself only in the most positive way.
Personal talents and positive qualities.
The first thing to do is to make a list of personal talents, different positive qualities, which for sure you have a lot, as well as good skills.
Simply put – identify for yourself personally all your strengths, in which you have no equal, at least in your environment. Definitely, there are things that only you and no one else can understand. Let this be your weapon, which you can use. Moreover, showing your skills to other people, respectively, you can earn their respect and trust.
2.get rid of the eternal feeling of guilt to all
Do not look for the causes of any events in their own shortcomings. After all, you are not God, and your shortcomings are not so powerful. Don’t forget that there are different aspects of situations: natural, political, physical, social, economic, which greatly affect your life and you personally. So, when you are pulled to take responsibility for someone’s behavior or for an event, such as the tsunami in Thailand, remember this every time.
3. don’t allow yourself to be criticized
Remember that you have every moral right to tell the person that you don’t want to keep the conversation going in the form that is given to you . If it is criticism, then you are not going to discuss your personal qualities in a negative context with anyone. But you are willing to discuss some of your actions and are able to listen to constructive criticism because you are always willing to use it for your own good.
4. Never compare yourself with anyone.
In fact, you can compare yourself, but only to one single person – yourself, the person you were a year ago. There is even a good exercise called “Tell the truth to your own face. To do this, try asking yourself seven questions that can measure yourself over the past year.
The questions are simple:
“What do I want?”
“How old am I?”
“Who do I socialize with?”
“How much money do I make?”
“Am I happy with the position I have?”
All of these questions should be asked of the person you were a year ago and, accordingly, of the person looking at you from the mirror today.
5. Communicate more.
You need to communicate more precisely when you feel the real fear of it . Start attending hobby clubs, sign up for some courses, start accepting invitations to different parties.
If you’re a guy, go up to girls and meet them. They may want to communicate even more than you, but do not dare to approach first, because they are more difficult to take the initiative. If you suddenly get rejected, breathe easy, don’t take it as a huge disaster. Probably today the girl is not in the mood, or a million other reasons known only to her, but to you personally have nothing to do.
6. Risk is a noble thing
How to become more confident? Always be willing to take smart risks. If you suddenly find yourself in a difficult situation, then try to find a way out of it without asking for help, that is, by yourself. That way you can really expand the boundaries of their capabilities, to prove to yourself that you can overcome any difficulties and problems, if you put a little effort into this.
7. You need to learn from your own mistakes.
Statistically, even the most self-confident people do not achieve significant results right away and do not succeed in everything. They gain invaluable experience through trial and error, which somehow will be useful to them in the future. Any failure is seen by these people as a small step toward their goal at the next attempt. Any negative experience gives an incentive to do everything possible to avoid failing again in the future.
8. Try to live in the present.
Have no fear of your future and never revisit past negative experiences. How do you become a confident and determined person? You need to solve problems as they come and live in the present without ever thinking about the different consequences. You need to do only what is important at this particular moment. To do this you must learn to overcome doubt. Only in this way can you gain confidence in your own abilities.
9. Get Involved in Sports
There’s a 99 percent chance you’ll be a confident person – take up sports.
What could be more beautiful than exercising regularly and watching your body change and seeing the progress of improvement? In this case, when you take off your shirt and see the beautiful relief of your muscles, your self-esteem grows by leaps and bounds.
The tone from constant exercise gives you such a charge of positive energy that you want to share with the whole world. Suppose, if before you were a complexed boy with bad posture, now you see a stately handsome man, with a confident look and a certain pride in yourself and your successes. Sports, according to the athletes themselves, are the first cure for the inferiority complex.
10. Good posture
What do people always pay attention to when they first look at a person? A person’s posture. Your image will automatically become aristocratic if you always stand or sit upright with a straight back. It is the posture that is the sign of a confident person who never sags in front of others. At the initial stage it will be quite difficult to achieve this, in fact, it can be even very difficult, because it is necessary to accustom yourself to always keep your back straight. You should constantly do exercises that will strengthen your shoulder blades and lower back muscles.
And in general, stand up straight now from your computer and straighten your back, take your shoulders back and put them down. Your body should be facing forward and your arms slightly pulled back. Practice this exercise as often as possible and you will soon notice results. Just do not stand like a mannequin on the catwalk. From the outside it will look extremely ridiculous.
11 Be determined to win.
Most people stop believing in their victory and become very insecure because initially they set for themselves high goals, which is almost unrealistic. You need to start with small goals, but ones that you can achieve more easily and quickly.
When you cope with this task and make yourself a lot of small goals, then move gradually to the more important tasks. In doing so, you should keep a list with all the goals, both the smaller ones and the more serious ones, so that you constantly have a reminder that you have done well and correctly.
Don’t constantly focus on just the to-do list you need, pay attention to what’s already done as well. You are given a great way to become more confident in your skills by reflecting on your milestones, goals, and projects that you have already accomplished.
12. pay attention to your clothing choices.
For women, this is probably the most obvious answer to the question of how to become more confident. This is not because we are usually met by our clothes, but because the right choice of clothing can help even the most shy girls to add self-confidence.
In those moments when you need to be on top, you need to approach the choice of clothing with great care: you just have to be on top, but at the same time remain yourself.
Learn to identify your own style. To do this, you can consult with your girlfriends or even ask a professional. Maybe all you need to become more confident, it’s just a slight change of image.
13. Know how to relax.
Always try to listen to your feelings, desires and sensations. Always try to find time to be alone with yourself. This is necessary to collect your thoughts, to better understand and hear yourself.
Learn to take care of yourself, constantly ask yourself what you would like today. It can be small, but so necessary for you to do, such as take a walk on the street, buy something delicious, do gymnastics or watch your favorite TV series.
14. Defeats are possible good luck
Sometimes, drawing a conclusion after any defeats, you can also draw conclusions about false goals, reconsider the concept and understand whether your forces are spent in the right direction. This will help you avoid bigger troubles and disappointments in the future.
15. Start smiling.
You may be surprised how much of an impact even the smallest smile can have, which can defuse any situation and make everyone feel most comfortable.
And who would you yourself turn to for help, a frowning and stern or a smiling person? If you are concerned about the sincerity of your smile, it is enough not to smile all over your face. Not smiling sincerely will be noticed a mile away. But if you are truly happy, those around you will feel it and appreciate it.
If you want to become a different, more confident person, then you also have to change your old habits. For example, some of your old habits should be changed. It is not necessary to do it somehow drastically, it is enough to make only new colors and touches.
If you’ve done exercise before – that’s commendable, but now try to add music to it, or do it not in the place where you did it before, but in another place. Or do it in the evening instead of the morning.
Or you can go on your lunch break to eat lunch in a completely new place, somewhere you’ve never been before. You can try to change your eating habits and go vegetarian, or you can change your music preferences. The choice is yours.
17. Learn to praise yourself.
The most important key to self-confidence is the joy of victory and achievement. Always try to praise and encourage yourself. Set yourself up for a positive attitude. Just be happy with yourself without any special reason for this and forget about the various complexes.
Starting to do something new in life, it’s difficult to cover everything at once, so proceed slowly but surely, mastering something new for himself step by step, without hurrying and taking your time. Give yourself extra time for this. Praise yourself for your smallest successes.
If you succeed in gaining self-confidence, it can be equated with the gift of wings. Never quit in the face of difficulties and don’t let your subconscious mind limit any of your options.