It doesn't happen right away.
When we are new to the position, just starting our career, the world is our oyster, and the opportunities are endless.Then maybe at some point along the way, boldness gave way to a lack of confidence in ourselves and our careers.
As we have conversations around gender equality and diverse inclusion, it is necessary to mention the vast gap in confidence that separates the sexes. The gap widens when considering intersectionality - women who are also a minority. In an article titled "The Confidency Gap", Claire Shipman and Katty Kay state that "confidence is a belief in one’s ability to succeed, a belief that stimulates action. In turn, taking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed.”
If you find yourself in need of a confidence boost for your professional life, below are 5 ways to gain career confidence immediately:
1. Know your style.
Become informed regarding your work and personality styles. I’ve heard these referred to as identifying strengths and weaknesses. The objective here is not to focus on “weaknesses,” but to discover your strengths with the aim to align careergoals to your style. A quote from Socrates fits well here, "To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom." I would add it is also the beginning of your way back to clarity and confidence.
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To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom. - Socrates
2. Be educated.
What is the latest regarding your profession? Secondly, what is trending regarding your industry/employer? These are different and equally important. The easiest way is to Google “What’s trending in (fill in the blank).” That’s a start. Here are a few more ways to stay informed.
3. Be involved.
Join an organization that will allow you to meet and interact with associates outside of your immediate team and sphere of influence. This could be an employee resource group, women’s group, or special event committee. There are advantages to being involved within and outside of your organization. However, when facing a career crisis, it helps to start with the easiest to join, in terms of location, financial and time commitments.
Networking is not a dirty word. Networking is smart. ~ Janine Garner
he ideal is to commit, connect and become engaged. Notice the lack of using the dreaded 'N' word. According to Janine Garner, "Networking is not a dirty word. Networking is smart." In her article of the same title, she states, "You need a personal board of advisers who add to your thinking and bring out the best in you;" I love this idea and think the first step to that "intelligence bank of the right people" is to get involved.
4. Highlight your successes.
As ladies, we too often take the low road to exhibit humility by downplaying the number of positive things we have accomplished. Take a moment to list, going back as far as you can recall in your professional career, the moments that you were made you proud. Too often, we soft-pedal by making statements like “I was just doing my job.” I have learned to take a moment to celebrate those career highs and in those moments know that “Yes I am worthy. Yes, I am!”
5. Take a stretch.
Not referring to the stretch of morning yawning! I am referring to a stretch assignment, project, or team. In other words, do something different. Don't let the fact that 'it' is new and different keep you from asking and moving forward. See #4 above. Use that momentum and warm fuzzies from celebrating your wins to stepping up to the plate. Accept or ask for something new, outside of the norm, every day! Fear is overcome by taking action.
No matter the root of our lack of confidence, taking action is required to move forward, returning to boldness, and confidence. It can be very stressful attempting to manage in our day to day responsibilities and without the steps to feel like we are not on the hamster wheel wasting away. These 5 steps will provide a great start to gaining clarity and conviction.
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Katrina Booker, MBA is a project manager, product owner and John Maxwell certified leadership coach, trainer and speaker. She also conducts workshops and seminars, including her signature program "PREP Work: Awake from Career Coma, Get Clarity & Confidence." Katrina created Vision Strategy Session workshop intensives to guide attendees thru the process of creating a strategy and roadmap to manifest their professional, business and personal visions. Get more information regarding the upcoming Fall workshop here.
Katrina Booker has been working with professionals & women in business for over ten years. She provides career and business coaching services, as well as, leadership insight and advice. Her educational background in business and leadership experience has given her a base from which to approach many topics - especially overcoming the frustrations of career life and expanding personal leadership style. She especially enjoys giving insight on leadership challenges, creative solutions to inefficiencies and career challenges.