Confidence is a necessary trait that most successful people possess.
However, it’s a tricky one because it requires a delicate balance between confidence and humility. Too little confidence and you lose credibility with others, while too much confidence can cost you others’ support and, ultimately, their respect.
Whether you’re a manager, a salesperson, or just want to be the best team member possible, the right amount of confidence can make all the difference. While it may seem that some are born self-assured, it’s more likely that they have worked on it over time. And, like any other skill, it’s something that you can build, too.
We put together 7 tips to help you build your self-confidence as a team member:
1. Stand proud.
Many people tout the benefits of practicing positive body language to give yourself an immediate boost in self-confidence.
In her TEDTalk “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” social psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests that the way you stand, sit, place your hands or hold yourself to appear bigger or smaller can tell others a lot about how confident you feel.
When you need a small boost in confidence, she suggests striking a pose that makes you feel powerful. One such pose, dubbed “Wonder Woman,” will have you standing up straight with your feet slightly apart and your hands on your hips. Try it for two minutes and see if you feel ready to take on the enemy (of doubt).
In the long term, you can begin to feel and appear more confident by practicing standing up straight and building better posture. Reduce the appearance of insecurities by eliminating fidgeting and maintaining open body language and good eye contact. People will respond differently to you, and, overall, this can help you feel more confident.
2. Develop a growth mindset.
What you think about your business and your role in it makes a difference in your ability to be successful.
People who adopt a growth mindset are more likely to be creative when it comes to solving problems, because they believe strongly that they can overcome a challenge.
Alternatively, those with a fixed mindset are more likely to engage in self-doubt and believe that failure is inevitable. This can lead to inaction and result in failure as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Examples of fixed-mindedness include thoughts such as, “every time I try to make a decision, it’s wrong” or “it never works when I try to cold call someone” or “no one ever listens to me when I conduct a training/meeting.”
If you find yourself having thoughts like this, the first step is to conduct a reality check. Is it true that it never works when you call someone? Probably not. Is it true that your decisions are always wrong? Unlikely.
Once you identify the inaccuracy of your thoughts, reflect on a time when you were successful. What were you thinking? Feeling? Saying? What was different about that experience that you can recreate to make yourself successful now?
Instead of focusing on what’s going wrong, remember when you’ve been successful and focus on those thoughts and behaviors to achieve your desired outcome.
3. Keep learning.
Part of a growth mindset includes a willingness to learn.
Make continuous growth a priority and focus on breaking down tasks, projects and learning new skills into smaller, bite sized pieces. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and help you build confidence (and momentum) as you grow.
There are virtually endless opportunities for learning more about your role, a key skill or anything else you’re interested in through books, articles and podcasts. There are also people all around you that you can learn from, so consider asking someone to mentor you, ask to job shadow or simply get feedback and input from others. Doing so not only helps you gain confidence through knowledge, but also through the strengthening of trust and relationships among teams.
4. Watch your language.
Successful people don’t engage in negative self-talk and avoid using absolutes, such as always and never. If you want to feel more confident, you must eliminate overly critical self-talk.
In fact, author of the Success Principles Jack Canfield argues that daily positive affirmations are key drivers in achieving more success. Through daily affirmations, visualize yourself not only as successful, but also more specifically how you will think, feel and behave when you reach your desired result.
It’s not enough to think about having your business recognized as a community icon. Verbalize yourself accepting the award, like so: “I am so happy walking across the stage to accept the award for Best Youth Partner of the year.”
Notice that the language is “I am” versus “I will be.” Canfield suggests that if you use the present tense, you’re even better positioned to make it a reality. Believing in your impending success or potential is a great step towards confidence.
5. Trust your gut.
Very few of us are universally confident, but most of us are confident sometimes or about some things. Most likely, we’re confident about the things that we’re experienced in or knowledgeable about – because we can trust ourselves, our knowledge and our abilities.
Have you ever hesitated to act only to later think, “well, I was right – why didn’t I just do or say that to begin with?” If so, chances are you didn’t trust your instincts.
Often, we don’t trust ourselves because we’re afraid of an outcome. When that happens, it can be helpful to consider the worst-case scenario because, chances are, we’ve exaggerated the negative consequence.
In our business, most mistakes aren’t life- (or job) threatening. Usually, the worst that can happen is that we get embarrassed or a guest, coworker or manager is angry, and we need to recover the moment. When guests are angry, we use our service recovery processes, and when it comes to team conflict, usually a simple discussion and sincere apology can save the day.
Bottom line, ask yourself: “Am I doing the best I can in the circumstances? Are my intentions in line with my personal and company values?”
If you can honestly answer “yes” to those questions, take that as a cue to trust your instincts and move forward. You are smart and capable enough to do the job.
6. Stay humble.
Remember that too much confidence can erode your relationships and damage your reputation if others begin to think you’ve become arrogant.
It’s essential to stay open to other perspectives and ideas. Lead by example and remain confident in the knowledge that you’re giving your best to your guests and your team.
If you’re humble and make a mistake (which we all do at some point), others are more likely to be forgiving and helpful, rather than take satisfaction in your fall. A little humility goes a long, long way.
7. Don’t let failure derail you.
One last thought: confidence can be fragile at times, and some missteps can erode how you perceive yourself.
For example, I’ve presented in front of groups all over the world, and, during probably my hundredth time public speaking, I lost my train of thought and forgot what I was going to say. It took an excruciating amount of time to pull myself together on stage and finish with my dignity intact.
But I managed to finish the presentation with a smile on my face – a success, right? Not quite. That incident affected my public speaking confidence so badly that I would be physically ill prior to presenting for the next two years. Even though I’d given many successful presentations, I couldn’t forgive myself for what I perceived as failure.
Don’t let that happen to you. You’ll get rejected. You’ll forget your lines. You’ll make mistakes. The most important part is getting back up there – and practicing, learning, asking for help when you need it and believing in your abilities and in the work that you’re doing. That’s all you and anyone else can ask for.
Have you struggled with another weakness or negative experience that hampered your confidence? Share how you overcame it in the comments or on Twitter.
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