3 things to stop doing at work to improve your self-confidence, according to a life coach
- Susie Moore is a life coach and bestselling author who's been featured on The Today show, Cosmopolitan, and Oprah.com.
- In her practice coaching entrepreneurs and executives, she says there are three bad habits she recommends avoiding to boost self-confidence.
- Moore explains that waiting too long to take action, using shy and doubtful language, and hiding behind introversion are all behaviours that can hold you back from exploring your full potential.
- Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.
If the first half of 2020 has taught us anything, it's that the future is utterly unpredictable. Is there a lesson in this? For the wise, yes. Act now! Be bold. Don't hold back. The future belongs to no one.
As a life coach, I understand that the most successful people are defined not just by what they do, but by what they don't do. Here are three things to stop doing to unlock your self-confidence.
1. Waiting for the "perfect opportunity"
Put your hand up if you're waiting to ask for an opportunity, share an idea, hoping for the "right time" to do something?
Be honest, now. You're a little scared. That's OK, we all are.
But there is no "right time" to really go for it with anything outside of our comfort zone. The conditions always seem impossible. You just have to say yes. (Eff it and just go! is how I say it in my mind).
Confident people are willing to lean into their discomfort. That's all confidence is: being willing to tolerate some uncomfortable feelings. Just understanding this one truth can change your life. Remember - all emotions are just temporary anyway (in most cases, the worst thing that can happen is a temporary, uncomfortable feeling).
It's great to act when your idea is hot within you and your emotion is strong! As I say in "Stop Checking Your Likes," your first feeling is better than any second opinion. Stop waiting, and trust yourself. The Law of Diminishing Intent suggests, "The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it."
Put simply, later is never. What's something you've been feeling is a right move for you? Can you do it now?
2. Using hesitant or unassertive language
Tag questions are what people add to the end of a sentence that converts it from a statement by adding a question, e.g. "The green is better for the logo, don't you think?" or "That's something we can do, isn't it?" See how the tag ("don't you think?" and "isn't it?") is assurance seeking?
It weakens the statement. It weakens you. Once you're aware of tag questions, it will surprise you how overused they are at work.
Instead simply say:
"The green is better for the logo."
"That's something that we can do."
See how they feel different? Tag questions appear insecure and validation seeking. Drop 'em!
Another thing to lose is opening softeners - including, "I think that the green is better for the logo…" and "We might have already covered this, but that's something that we can do…"
Just say your piece. No buffering needed. If it feels uncomfortable, stick with it!
The second part of this is using the wrong statements.
Self-confident people choose their words wisely because words have power. These are some of the worst offenders:
"I don't have time."
We all have 24 hours in a day - you, me, and Warren Buffett. It's up to us to decide how we spend these hours. To say you don't have time for something really means you don't want to do it. Try these statements instead:
"That's not a priority for me right now."
"I can take that project on but I will need [X amount of time] to complete it."
"Right now my focus is on X, perhaps Maggie is better placed to take this."
"I don't know how!"
The brightest individuals are the most resourceful. They might not know how to do something, but they figure it out. We can all figure out how to do something if we make it our business to learn.
"It's not fair."
Life's not fair, it's true. Sometimes people will get promoted over you, or your boss will take credit for your work. Confident people decide what they'll stand for, and waste no time complaining.
3. Using introversion as an excuse to hide
Being an introvert is a superpower. But drawing energy from within doesn't mean you're shy or excused from networking and becoming more visible at work. It's no secret that being connected with others truly unlocks your career, as the old adage goes: It's not who you know, it's who knows you.
If you identify as an introvert, make sure it's not selective and situation-dependent - like at a networking event, when among the higher ups at work, or when approaching an intimidating person. Only action cures fear. Lovingly push yourself to be more visible and interactive, and you'll uncover hidden opportunities.
Follow up with the new acquaintance that you just met. Be assertive and take the initiative to have a call. Or if you're scared to speak up on a company wide Zoom call, come prepared to ask a question in advance or make the effort to speak up with that thoughtful comment during the meeting. You'll have plenty of time for yourself later.
The meek won't inherit the earth - the confident and visible people will. Avoiding these three habits can help you begin becoming more confident, starting now.
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