If you are underutilized in your current position, it can make you feel like you aren't capable of more. But that’s just not true! Other people may openly or subtly write you off, but you don’t get to agree with them. Use these tips to get your confidence back at work.
This is especially important if you’re hoping to get out of your current position and will be interviewing for jobs or starting a business. You gotta shine!
HOW TO GET YOUR CONFIDENCE BACK AT WORK
1 | USE CONFIDENT BODY LANGUAGE
If you find yourself hunched over a desk, sinking into your chair during meetings, and generally skulking around the office, how you hold your body is the first change to make. Your body language affects how others perceive you, but even more fascinating and important is that your body language shapes who you are. Check out the TEDtalk about this and use your body to your benefit.
2 | GET A HAIRCUT
This sounds so trivial, but how you take care of the outside affects how you feel on this inside. If it’s been awhile, get that haircut, mani-pedi, or whatever else you need to stand a little taller and feel more powerful when walking into a room. And on that note...
3 | DRESS LIKE YOU OWN THE PLACE
This is another outside-in trick that works. You may not own the place, but you can dress like it. Don’t underestimate this and think it’s just about putting on a fancy pair of shoes. This hack asks you to assume ownership over where you work. Even if it’s just in your head, it will change how you prepare for your day. You might just notice that it changes how others treat you, as well.
4 | GIVE OUT COMPLIMENTS LIKE HALLOWEEN CANDY
A lot of the time when we feel under-appreciated, we sit around waiting for someone to notice the good work we’re doing. You may be sitting for a long time, so while you do that, initiate some praise. Managers and bosses are supposed to be the ones telling people they did a good job, so when you do this you give yourself a little mental authority boost. To make sure you don’t come off as patronizing, start by saying, “Thank you. What you did did ______ for me/the team/the client and I appreciate it.” Or just tell Suzy Q in the office next door that you like her scarf. Doesn’t matter; just dole out the sincere compliments.
5 | INVENTORY WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT
If you’re having one of those “I’m not good at anything!” spells, or if criticism from someone at work won’t leave your mind, it’s important get back on the confident and competent train. Chances are you are taking your abilities for granted. Take out a sheet of paper, and write down all the things you do in your job on a regular basis. Put a star next to the ones you’re particularly good at. You’ll be amazed at all you do, and at all you do well.
6 | KEEP A “GOOD THINGS” FILE
On really pitiful days, it helps to have a Good Things file to turn to. Your file can be digital or paper (or both!), but whenever you get a nice letter or email about your work, stash it in there. If you get a verbal compliment, you can write it down and tuck it away here, too. When you need a reminder that you are, in fact, a good human being who others value and appreciate, you’ll have an entire file at your disposal.
7 | BECOME AWESOME AT SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF WORK
Don’t let your job define your value. Find something outside of work that you love or that challenges you, and work towards becoming awesome at it. It could be scrapbooking, weight-lifting, guitar—anything! When you practice and improve, you’ll be reminded that you are YOU, dammit, not just a worker bee, and that you can do challenging things.
8 | CALL ON YOUR PERSONAL CHEERLEADERS
You have people in your life who know how brilliant, kind, and funny you are. Corner them and ask them to tell you how great you are. Seriously. It helps to see yourself through the eyes of people who know you and love you.
When my sweetheart ever doubts himself, as we all do, I say, “Hey, that’s my husband you’re talking about!” Then we laugh, but the reminder sticks: You are a person of note; don’t you ever doubt it.