Building Confidence Through Crisis

Twelve Months – Big Impact. What Is Your Experience?

It’s been an extraordinary time in so many ways, impacting on every area of life, not least on work and careers. Working from home and all the challenges that has brought, uncertainty about job security, and the broader sense of how we manage and conduct our careers, have had a long-lasting impact.

The changes we all had thrust upon us in a very short space of time, and the necessity to adapt quickly, has had quite a dramatic impact on many individuals sense of themselves in the workplace, and impacted on their confidence in their abilities.

Imposter Syndrome is Alive and Kicking!

We all know people in our professional networks who seem to be innately confident – nothing seems to phase them, they breeze through life taking everything in their stride, they are always positive and never seem anxious or phased by anything.

However, I would suggest that there are many who tangle with a genuine lack of self-confidence and they have to really steel themselves to overcome or manage the business and personal challenges they encounter on a daily basis. This lack of confidence has only been exacerbated by the Covid crisis. 

To the outside observer, often these are seemingly confident, successful people who enjoy career success, who would appear to have their lives on track. Imposter Syndrome is a very real phenomenon!

Is Confidence a Skill You Can Develop?

If you do suffer from lack of confidence though, what can you do about it?

Techniques and Tools – the following ideas might help:

  • You’re Good At What You Do – Remember Why! You have a professional or technical skill, you are experienced in what you do. Take some time out to reflect on your achievements, think about your successes and take pride in them. Better still, ask a trusted friend or colleague to list 3 things they believe you are good at and why. As you reflect on the last 12 months, ask yourself how you have adapted and what are the positives about how you have handled rapid change?
  • Effective On-Line Communication: As pretty much all of our communications have moved on-line, most of us have had to re-think how we communicate effectively in the virtual world. This is a whole topic in itself, but it is certainly worth thinking critically about how you come across virtually, as communicating effectively is important to your self-worth and therefore confidence. The same rules apply in the virtual world – if you don’t put yourself forward, if your talents don’t shine through, how will anybody know? So be aware as to how you are showing up in online meetings, be prepared to speak up, to demonstrate that you are engaged and committed.
  • Take Calculated Risks!  It is tempting to stick with the status quo right now, and of course there is nothing wrong with this approach. However, if the opportunity arises and it feels right, don’t be afraid to try something new. Taking calculated risks is a great way of experimenting, moving forward, expanding your skills base. Tackling new challenges and succeeding is a key component to building confidence, so it’s worth thinking about what you can do to put yourself in a prime position for progression over the coming year. 
  • Your Network: Developing and nurturing your network is as important when we are all working remotely as it is in normal times. Keeping up your connections with positive people who will champion you, who you enjoy working with, who are fun to be around and who share your values and ambitions will boost your confidence, and stave off feelings of isolation. And try and avoid those who are negative, who sap your energy and motivation. It is undoubtedly harder to network at the moment, so be creative and take whatever opportunities present themselves.
  • Be Kind To Yourself. This is especially important right now, on so many levels! We all make mistakes, sometime things don’t go to plan, we might upset someone by accident, we might not win every pitch. All of these situations can be exacerbated by not being in the room with colleagues and clients, and thereby it becomes harder to read situations and smooth over the inevitable ups and downs of office life. Try not to beat yourself up or ruminate. The key is to look at the situation honestly, think about what you can learn from it – and then move on. It is all about silencing your inner critic and not allowing that pernicious voice to undermine your confidence.
  • You’re Not Alone. Think about your colleagues and friends – you may think they are all sailing through life,  brimming with confidence. The chances are though that they have their own insecurities, doubts and worries too. Working remotely may have dialled these insecurities up a notch. Appreciating this might make it easier to recognize and celebrate your own achievements and accomplishments and to be sensitive to others.

Taking Those First Steps – Small Change, Big Impact…

If you suffer from a lack of confidence in your career, are struggling to maintain confidence working remotely, or you have found the events of the last year have undermined your confidence in unexpected ways, now is a good time to think about the changes you can make to build your self-esteem. They don’t have to be dramatic, but a shift in thinking could pay amazing dividends!

If you would like some help in building your confidence, contact me for an initial discussion.

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