Our confidence is highly influenced by what others think of us and changes with context. Unfamiliar people or situations can trigger our fears, from being judged a failure to not fitting in. We all have been in such situations and had to overcome them through practice, patience, and determination.
So, here are some ways to help you find your voice at work.
Set Realistic Goals: Identify workplace challenges that evoke the least amount of discomfort within you, from initiating conversations to making presentations. Gaining mastery over small goals will pave your way to taking on bigger challenges.
Acquire knowledge and practice sharing it: Learn through trusted sources or read relevant material, then share this knowledge with others, and you will engage with more ease. Repeated practice raises the quality of our experiences which breeds confidence. The tenth time you present at a meeting will be infinitely better than your first time.
Build Relationships: Go for lunch/coffee or after work drinks with individuals or your team, and get to know them outside a professional setting. The more familiar you are with people around you, the less afraid you are of formally speaking in front of them. Addressing a room full of people you know is far less daunting than one full of strangers.
Let go of comparisons: Comparison is often based on limited and false information. It simply feeds your insecurity and distracts you from your goals. Is comparing yourself to others helping you? Watch this video that shows that even those we consider infallible can stumble.
Celebrate success: No matter how small these successes may be, celebrate them. From going for lunch with someone you barely know to speaking up at a meeting for the very first time. These are all accomplishments driven by you! Appreciate them and build on them.
Silence your inner critic: Be aware of that little voice inside you saying things like “I always mess up”, “I’m no good at this”, “That wasn’t a big deal”. Unhelpful thinking patterns only lead to inaction. When you find yourself doing this, deliberately counter such thoughts with facts (“Have I really had no success? Am I always like this?”), test their validity (“Is this accurate?”), and be your own ally (“I’ve actually come a long way!”). Ensure that if you are going to take on the task of building your confidence, you’re also not the one tearing it down and undoing all your hard work.
I hope some of these tips help you start your journey at work to become more comfortable, feel more valued, and let your voice be heard.
A final word. As with most things we read, it can lead to increasing our general awareness but may fall short on helping us with things, specific to our own experiences. If this is the case, go ahead and book a free consult with me, so I can help you with more precise steps.