How to build your professional confidence

Building professional confidence isn’t an easy process, but it’s essential to improving your wellbeing and avoiding burnout. Here are some ways to get started.

How to build your professional confidence

When you work with other people, it’s easy to feel like you’re behind the pack.

We see others working hard and succeeding, effortlessly achieving things we may struggle with. When all we see is others’ successes, it’s no wonder we lose confidence in our own abilities. 

Building professional confidence isn’t an easy process, but it’s essential to improving your wellbeing and avoiding burnout. Here are some ways to get started.

Be kind to yourself

It’s easier said than done. We all expect constructive and respectful feedback from others, but we aren’t that courteous to ourselves.

Negative self-talk is simply not useful, and can be destructive to our emotional wellbeing. Whenever you can, remember that beating yourself up is counterproductive. Instead, treat yourself with kindness and try to use encouraging language.

Maintaining a positive mindset whenever possible will help you to power through failures when they pop up, which will make success come faster and help boost your confidence.

But you can’t build positivity out of nothing

One of the best ways to build your confidence and exercise that positive mindset is to learn. Imposter syndrome, where people feel that they’re under-qualified for their position, is extremely common - and perhaps the most direct way to address that is through self-improvement. 

Searching for relevant information and building your professional skill set will give you a firm and undeniable basis from which to be confident about your abilities.

Even if what you’re learning is only tangentially related to your work, building knowledge in any field can make us more confident and keep our brain-juices flowing.

Whether you’re reading a book or attending seminars, picking up new knowledge and skills is a tried and tested method for building confidence.

Reward confident behaviours

Confidence ebbs and flows. Some days we feel like we can take on the world, while others we just want to stay in bed. 

It’s like a muscle we have to exercise, so when you’ve got the energy to be confident - use it. Utilising those opportunities to take on more responsibility, or to be more assertive about your thoughts, will help you to feel confident more often.

You can also build confidence slowly. If you find yourself qualifying statements with “I don’t know but…” or “I could be wrong,” challenge yourself to gradually eliminate those safety nets. You’ll find yourself becoming more confident, while also being more persuasive.

If you want to start building confidence today, here are some tips:

  • Treat yourself with the kindness and respect you expect from others.
  • Try to eliminate negative language, and speak with encouraging words instead.
  • Learn about your job by reading or attending seminars.
  • Develop new skills whenever possible.
  • Seize opportunities to practice confidence.
  • Stop using safety-net qualifiers like “but I don’t know.”

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