Want to feel more confident at work?
You’ve come to the right place. Here are my top three confidence hacks to get you what you want. From concrete tips to more holistic approaches, this post has everything you need to kick-ass at work.
Here we go.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time, right?
What may seem like a silly quote actually carries a lot of weight. One of the biggest blockers of confidence is the fear of taking the first step.
That first step is the be-all-end-all, the sine qua non, the holy grail. If you can’t get started then there is no hope of progress.
But there’s good news.
That first step can be really small. Like crazy small.
Ticking off micro-tasks is a tried and tested cure for first step phobia. Forget “Speak up more in meetings” and try “Sit up straight in meetings”, “Greet everyone at the start of the meeting”, “Think of something to add in every meeting” and “Find time to add something in every meeting”. The best way to get started is to start small and tick off micro-tasks bit by bit.
But wait, there’s more. Ticking something off gives your brain a hit of dopamine – A.K.A. the motivation neurotransmitter. So as you work through your micro-tasks, your motivation and hence confidence will increase.
Another way to tackle a lack of confidence is to create an if-then response.
Here’s an example. Your goal: speak up more in meetings. Your obstacle: fear of saying the wrong thing. Your if-then response: consider if someone else said the same thing and how you would react. Then say it.
Using an if-then response is a way to start rewiring your brain and creates small wins, which as we know are a guaranteed way to build confidence.
One confidence tip I love from the incredible Susie Moore is to always use your full name when introducing yourself.
She explains, “Trust me on this one. It’ll feel weird at first, but it’s assertive and empowering. You’ll start noticing people standing straighter for you.”
Let’s take this further.
Your name is where your personal brand starts.
A personal brand may sound like something that only applies to CEOs and people who give TED Talks. But it’s something that stays with you for your whole career and can be the key to unlocking your confidence.
Another huge confidence blocker is imposter syndrome, something I still suffer from as a founder and COO. That irrational feeling that you shouldn’t be where you are and have somehow conned your way in. This really comes from feeling lost.
But having a personal brand is a way to evaluate exactly who you are, banishing most intrusive imposter images. Knowing who you are is the cornerstone of confidence, which leads me to one of my all-time favourite quotes:
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde.
There is no point trying to shape yourself around others. Confidence is about deciding where you stand and conveying that to those around you. It’s carving your own path without fear of getting lost.
In fact, workplace expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky says: “Carve a niche and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.”
A personal brand is quite an abstract concept, so let’s get back to something concrete: language.
What comes to mind when you think of a person lacking confidence? Someone who doesn’t speak enough? Someone who apologises too much? Someone who says yes to everything?
Language is the #1 most useful tool when building confidence.
Here’s one way to make your language more assertive. Stop saying “…right?” at the end of a sentence. It might sound small but it’s an example of assurance-seeking. Every time you say “…right?”, you are seeking validation for what you have just said. You are telling yourself “I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Over time, persistent assurance-seeking will erode your confidence. That’s why it’s important to fix habits like this ASAP.
If language is the most useful tool, the most useful word is ‘no’.
Saying no gives you the ability to set your own boundaries, whether it’s in your personal life or in your role. It empowers you to focus on your goals, and take control of your own success.
Of course, easier said than done. The way I learned to put this into practice is to make it a part of my habits.
Once you do, you’ll notice something amazing: learning to say no means your yes will be even more powerful.
Now go kick some ass!
“We need to organise our work better ánd smarter” says Martine Meijburg. Meijburg founded Second Degree in 2013; the first LinkedIn marketing agency (worldwide). A success, as the agency became one of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands (Silver FD Gazellen Award in 2016), servicing clients such as Philips, KLM and Microsoft.
Martine is an author, public speaker and was listed in The Next Women 100 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Adformatie100 in 2017. She shares with us her experiences as an entrepreneur and member of The Next Women.
She got into the world of recruitment because she showed talent for it and acted on that: at TNW we love playing out your strengths. Now, with her own company and being a mother of two, Dayanara Vonk Ilaria reflects on her journey: “Leadership really is learning how you can influence yourself.”