- Estelle Curry
Remain Confident - Prepare to Flourish series
Feeling more confident is a life skill we can always try to improve, as it brings so many benefits. Psychology Today describes confidence as "belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life's challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one's capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge."
It's refreshing to read that being confident requires us to have a realistic sense of our own capabilities and to be at peace with that. Often, we are led to believe that being confident is being bold and boisterous or putting on a show for others. But in fact, it is simply being aware of our strengths. It is pretty normal to be confident in some aspects of life and not so confident in others. When it comes to applying for jobs, you'll have a much better chance of success with those you are interested in and have the skills for. So, playing to our strengths while working on those areas we'd like to develop further will help to boost our overall confidence.
If you've been following the Prepare to Flourish series from the beginning, you have reflected on your strengths and values and know what kind of jobs you want to apply for. All of these things help you to remain confident during your job hunt. Different industries have been impacted to varying degrees by COVID-19, and some industries will be more competitive than others. Now is an excellent time to develop further strategies to keep you feeling confident if you face some bumps in the road.
If you're not already familiar with the term self-talk, it essentially means how we speak to ourselves. It's the voice that tells us:
"I did a good job on that presentation overall; here are some things I can do differently next time."
"That presentation didn't go well; I bet everyone noticed how nervous I was."
As you can see, self-talk can be positive or negative. How we speak to ourselves has a significant influence on how we see ourselves, perform our jobs, and grow as individuals. Paying attention to how we talk to ourselves can often guide us down a road with positive or negative outcomes, depending on where we put our focus. That is why developing a habit of increasing our positive self-talk is an excellent strategy to remain confident. Positive self-talk is viewing a situation through the lens of growth. It looks for the positive in the negative to help you do better next time. It allows us not to be perfect while striving to be better.
Have you ever felt like you don't belong? That you've got to where you are in life by pure luck and not based on merit? Have you ever worried that you're going to get found out? Do you think people will realize you shouldn't be in the job you're in? Or that you're a fraud? If you've felt like this, you're not alone. Back in 1978, imposter syndrome was first identified by psychologists Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., and Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D.
To summarize, they discovered that impostor syndrome is when we don't feel deserving of our successes. If we don't feel worthy of our accomplishments, how can we feel confident?
So, what can we do to overcome it? There are a few ways to conquer impostor syndrome, and they all start with awareness—the awareness of our feelings and thoughts. Dr. Valerie Young, an expert on impostor syndrome and award-winning author, says, "The only way to stop feeling like an impostor is to stop thinking like an impostor." She also shares ten practical steps that people can take to overcome impostor syndrome. You can read more about them on ImpostorSyndrome.com.
We all have a set of beliefs that we pick up throughout our lives. Some have been ingrained in us from a young age, passed down from our parents, communities, or culture. Others we pick up as we grow from childhood into adulthood. Our beliefs are essentially the lens through which we see the world.
There are two main types of beliefs: empowering beliefs and limiting beliefs. Empowering beliefs drive us to make positive choices, and they encourage us to move towards a fulfilling life. On the other hand, limiting beliefs do the opposite; they hold us back, stifle our potential, and knock our confidence.
It is important to note that many of us confuse beliefs with facts. We believe something to be true; therefore, it must be. For that reason, our beliefs have so much power over us. They control our thoughts and fuel our behaviors. If our beliefs fuel our behaviors, we need to be mindful of our beliefs and ascertain whether they are facts or solely our opinions.
The good news is that we can change our beliefs! And being mindful of our beliefs when job hunting can change the course of our progress and build our confidence. It's never too late, so long as we're open to it. We can turn our negative beliefs into empowering beliefs. So, next time you find yourself saying something like…
"I'm terrible at interviewing."
Is this a fact?
How do I know it's a fact? What evidence do I have?
If you find evidence that proves you are not good at interviewing, reframe your sentence to something more empowering, such as, "I can improve my interview skills."
Think back to the last time an employer called you for an interview. Can you honestly say you gave it as much preparation time as possible? Was there anything you would do differently? Later in the series, we'll look at interview preparation in detail.
Positive Success Bank
The positive success bank is a "bank" of all the times you've achieved things in the past. It's a list of all your accomplishments. It will support you to remember the skills and strengths you possess to help you remain confident when you hit bumps in the road. All you have to do is think of all the times you were successful in the past and write them down. They have to be true, evidence-based, and positive. They don't have to be grand. Come back to this list when you lack confidence. It will remind you of how capable you really are.
Meditation may not to everyone's taste, but try this five/ten-minute exercise. First, choose a place where you know you can't be interrupted. It could be in the house, in the park, anywhere you can have some solitude. Ensure there are no loud background noises. Ideally, listen to some relaxing music.
When you are settled, start taking deep breaths through your nose (feel your chest expand) four seconds in, hold for four, let out for four through a pursed mouth. During this period, practice empowering self-talk. Here are some examples:
I am ready to create more success in my life.
I am a competent worker and an asset to any team.
My hard work will pay off.
I do not give up when things get tough. I keep going.
I do not need to compare myself to other people. I only judge myself by my own standards of success.
I love challenges because they bring out the best in me.
I use my mistakes as an opportunity to grow.
So, it’s quite common to lack confidence at times. Most people go through it. It is important to remain aware of your thoughts and feeling and work through them.
For more great tips and techniques to help you remain confident, tune in to the next Prepare to Flourish podcast episode, where we'll be speaking with Collin Maier, Collin is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey. You can listen to our accompanying podcast here.
What steps will you take this week to flourish?
Edited by Stephen Flanagan at Talent Attract.