Those co-workers that always win their point and never seem to have one second of self-doubt – what have they got that you don't?
"Confidence equals security equals positive emotion equals better performance," says The Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz in Harvard Business Review. Life Hacker also noted that confidence means more promotions at work.
But if you have bouts of self-doubt, you can be confident you're not alone, added Schwartz.
"Insecurity plagues consciously or subconsciously every human being I've met."
LinkedIn Influencer Katya Andresen considers herself a prime example. "The older I get, the fewer such moments I have and the faster I dismiss my thoughts and carry on," she said on LinkedIn. "But they still arise, especially when I'm in a new environment tackling an unfamiliar challenge."
Andresen, Schwartz and other workplace experts shared these nine tips for becoming more confident at work – or just acting like you are.
Practice until you're more perfect. When confidence equals success, Schwartz asserted that practice is even more valuable than natural ability. "The best way to build confidence in a given area is to invest energy in it and work hard at it," he said. That means practicing everything from quick-turnaround spreadsheets to big presentations to asking for a raise ahead of time.
Solicit feedback. While you shouldn't rely on what others think of you to boost your ego, you should seek validation when you want to build confidence, according to Deborah H. Gruenfeld, co-director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business in HBR. Pick someone who is interested in your personal development and who will be frank to give feedback, she suggested. Then remember any positive feedback from trusted sources when you feel your confidence waning.
Take on new challenges. "Try things you don't think you can do," Gruenfeld said. "Failure can be very useful for building confidence." There's no need to fail in a way that upends your whole professional life, though. Ask your bosses to let you try new projects or work on new skills when the stakes are relatively low.
Work out for workplace confidence. You can't overestimate how much exercise benefits your confidence, according to Life Hacker: "When you exercise, your body releases a cocktail of endorphins that make you feel pretty good as is. When you're done, you have tangible proof that you've done something constructive and everything in your body is programmed to second that response."
Look the part. It may sound cliche, but your workplace wardrobe really does impact your confidence. "Everything from the style of your shirts to the color of your glasses frames affects how people view you," noted Life Hacker. "When how you appear is in sync with how you want people to view you, confidence can easily follow."
Change up your self-speak. Instead of mentally berating yourself in a way that undermines your confidence, give yourself positive reminders, Andresen said. Making these remarks in the third person gives you the emotional distance you need, almost like giving a pep talk to someone else.
Own up to mistakes. Based on personal experience, Andresen recommends openly owning "the moments when we aren't Wonder Woman and boldly claiming our very human mistakes. I find that when I own this part of myself and am open about my imperfections and errors, I paradoxically feel more, not less, confident."
Use your rituals for a confidence boost. "Rituals performed before high-pressure tasks, like singing in public, do in fact reduce anxiety and increase people's confidence," noted Scientific American. "What's more, rituals appear to benefit even people who claim not to believe that rituals work." So go ahead and use your lucky blue coffee cup with three stirs after adding cream, or sing your high school fight song (quietly) before an important meeting: Your confidence level will thank you.
Try a power pose. While you can't stand like The Rock all day at work, there are poses that will help you feel more confident. Life Hacker made recommendations based on Ohio State University research that found standing with outstretched arms or fists in the air can increase your testosterone level and help you feel more confident. Try a power pose a couple of minutes before you enter a challenging situation, added Andresen, and you will be perceived in positive, powerful ways.
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