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  • Sunday Sanctuary

Four Ways to Build Confidence at Work

There are very few people who haven't experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their working lives; the feeling that you have no idea what you're doing, and that at any point you're going to get found out as a fraud. The truth is, imposter syndrome tends to be far less correlated with incompetence, and aligns much closer to a lack of confidence. So how do we blow those cobwebs of doubt away? We explore four ways we can build up our confidence at work.

Be Positive

Whenever you catch yourself bad-mouthing yourself internally, learn to recognise the negative self-talk and stamp it out. Nerves and anxiety are bad enough without our own inner voice adding more hassle to the mix - and a great way to do this is by rewording your fears. Eliminating our anxieties might be a little too ambitious at first - but whenever you hear 'I can't' or 'I'm too [insert derogatory language here]', change the approach, if not the fear. For example, 'I can't' becomes 'how do I', and 'I'm too stupid', becomes 'where can I learn...' Teaching yourself to take a positive approach to hurdles will be more motivating than talking yourself down.

Increase Your Knowledge and Ask for Help

Some of the greatest workers are self-taught. Youtube is a great resource for people sharing their skills with those who want to learn - so if you feel under confident about something, you can rely on the trusty internet to show you what you need to know. And if Googling something doesn't yield any results, don't be afraid to ask for help. Your manager should want you to be on top of your game, so if that means paying for a training course in your chosen area, then it's only to their benefit to do so. Not only that, but managers and colleagues are a part of your team, so if someone in the office does something you can't, ask them to show you how.

Rise, and Fall, and Rise Again

Success simply wouldn't exist without failure, so don't be afraid to mess up. Everybody on earth has made mistakes, and whilst they can be embarrassing, it's more important to learn from them. When you next take a blow, write down what went wrong and how to avoid it; this will give you confidence that you won't make the same mistake again, as well as showing your manager and colleagues that you understand what happened.

Build on Your Strengths & Focus on Success

Take stock of everything that's gone right. We tend to focus on the mistakes, the failures, and the embarrassing hiccups of the day-to-day, giving them way more attention than they deserve. Imagine if we expended the same amount of energy on what went right? Whilst it's important to learn from failure, it's just as important to learn from success. If it helps, write down every time something goes well, every time you accomplish something, and every time you help someone out. Take a look at your list of achievements whenever you feel doubt creeping in, and remember that you got this job for a reason - many reasons - and it's these that we need to hone day in, day out to top up our confidence and use the action as a positive reminder for why you deserve your place.

Final Note

Just remember, most of us are faking it 'til we make it. Don't let new challenges put you off; view them as ways of enriching what you'll be able to offer in the future instead. Building new skills whilst honing old ones is the perfect duo, and striking a balance between the two will keep you feeling on top of your game and more settled in who you are in the 9-5.


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