Believing in yourself is half the battle.
Confidence is absolutely key in all aspects of life – whether it’s navigating the weird world of Tinder, moving to a new city or negotiating a price on a car. Self-assurance makes all the difference.
Excelling in the workplace is no exception. Locating your backbone can be the deciding factor in landing your dream job, earning a promotion or being asked to lead a major project. And you want all those responsibilities, right? Of course you do, you’re an adult now.
If you want to be your boldest, most confident – and thus most successful – self, consider these five tips that I’ve learned through trials and many tribulations in my own career path.
Build Confidence Gradually
Developing confidence is not something that will happen overnight. You won’t wake up tomorrow suddenly capable of marching into any situation with unshakable self-assurance, powered by will alone. If you make that work, I want to hear from you. Seriously – email me. If you’re like the rest of us, however, building confidence will take time.
Build confidence in increments. Start by discussing one of your strengths – communication, putting together a perfect outfit, creative writing, baking cupcakes, whatever you excel in. Openly giving yourself a pat on the back is a small step toward recognizing and acknowledging even more of your skills.
Be Honest About What You Want
If you’re not open about what you want, you’ll be way less likely to get it. Confident people understand this, and you should, too. Don’t hide behind a fear of causing trouble for others. Don’t be scared of being shot down.
If you want something specific – to go to a certain restaurant or see a particular movie – express that interest. Maybe your company has no preference, and putting yours out there will get you exactly what you want. These examples are small steps, but they’re steps nonetheless. Eventually you can boldly demand a raise or tell that sexy stranger you want to date. For now, start small.
Be Open to Criticism and Failure
When you take the leap and openly discuss what you want, you’re going to meet rejection, failure and criticism. It won’t happen every time, but it will happen at least once. It’s inevitable. While these things can cripple one’s self-assurance, you should learn to appreciate them instead. Like my girl Cate Blanchett once said,
“If you’re going to fail, fail gloriously.”
Process and accept criticism. Better yourself from your failures. Consider them learning experiences and move on. Don’t linger in the negatives for too long. Instead, turn the negatives to positives by putting what you learn to good use.
Staying rooted in your comfort zone will get you nowhere. Making your dreams come true, or acquiring any sort of success, requires taking risks. It requires accepting positions and projects you aren’t totally comfortable with. It requires expanding your qualifications and not hiding in your comfort zone.
Apply for jobs that may seem like a stretch. Move to an unfamiliar place. Purchase that bold-ass blazer you’ve been eying. Wear that even BOLDER shade of lipstick. Honestly, human beings exaggerate the potential consequences of our risks. Even if everything goes terribly wrong, we’ll be fine. If anything, you’ll look back and regret not taking those risks. So take the leap. You’ll survive.
Finally, recognize that not everything is worth worrying about. Don’t give your decisions more weight than they’re worth. That crazy outfit you’ve wanted to wear out for months but never had the gull to do so? Putting it on for a Saturday night out – even if everyone else hates it – won’t ruin your life. Even bigger decisions – like the one to ask your boss for a raise – won’t ruin your life. Worst-case scenario you’d end up without a job, but there are other positions out there for you. This outlook will help you to embrace risks and take chances. So just relax.
The moral of this story is YOLO. YOLO at every opportunity.