Did you know: there’s a closer correlation between confidence and success, than there is with competence and success? (Yeah…we were shocked, too.) Confidence is crucial to career advancement, yet so many highly-qualified people seem to lack it.
The good news? Confidence isn’t genetic…it’s a muscle that you can train and build over time.
To help the Forem community reset and grow their personal image, we invited Amy Jin, mindfulness-based leadership coach and former tech executive, to share her confidence-building toolbox.
If there’s a gap between your abilities and your willingness to make them shine, here are 5 tips Amy recommends for rewiring your brain to feel and respond more confidently.
1. Get a “Why”
As with any goal, it’s important to understand your motivation for reaching it. You might think: everyone wants to be more confident… But unless you have a driving force that appeals to you specifically, it will be difficult to stick to any new, positive habits.
Ask yourself: what or who is your confidence for, and why does it matter to you? Are your clients relying on you to be bold for them? Do you work on a large team where it’s hard to make your ideas heard? Does that next promotion rely on your voice being heard? (We can assure you that last one is true.)
Amy clarifies: “It doesn’t matter [what your answer is]. As long as it matters to you, it will give you the motivation to speak up.” Revisit this “why” day-to-day to keep yourself on track.
2. Change Your Self-Talk
We all have Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs) that attempt to break us down throughout the day. EX: “That [success] was all luck.” “I’m not good enough.” “I failed; I’m so stupid.”
“Do not spend your energy on the downward spiral,” Amy reminds us, “You are not your thoughts.”
To take control of these pesky negatives, she suggests (literally) rewriting your self-talk. If you find yourself thinking “I really messed that up…” change the narrative to reflect a positive outlook, i.e., “We all goof. Here’s what I’m going to do to fix it.”
“When we change the language, we actually change the programming that our thoughts run on,” Amy explains, “When we do this every day we actually create new neural networks that make this sort of thought [process] easier.”
3. Build It
Another exercise Amy recommends involves simply writing down three things you did well each day. They can be as big or as small as you can imagine, but the point is to instill this truth: “I have the power to effect a positive outlook on my environment.”
If you struggle to find things you can congratulate yourself on, Amy challenges us to ask: “how much visibility are we allowing ourselves to have?” Do you undersell the small things because you set such high standards for yourself?
Reminder: just because you consider them “standards”, doesn’t make them any less worthy of self-praise. Keeping up with expectations is a feat of itself.
4. Advise a Friend
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the scope of our capabilities because we have an inherently biased view of our situation. To shift this subjective scope of confidence toward an objective confidence, Amy suggests taking yourself out of the equation: “what would I tell a friend to do?”
We tend to think more creatively and boldly when advising others to navigate objectives, and to undersell our own personal capabilities when faced with the same or similar tasks. Give yourself the same grace and liberties that you would empower a friend with.
5. Take Action
Amy confirms that “confidence is volitional; it’s a choice. […] When you do a little bit every day, you will compound change.”
Meaning: the more you can commit to being bold and rewriting your inner narrative, the faster your confidence will develop and eventually come naturally to you.
As an incentive, Amy asks us to find an “accountability buddy” to keep us on track. “Tell them: what are you going to do, when are you going to do it, and how will they know that it’s done?”
The actions you take can be as simple as #1-4, or as endeavored as standing up with a new idea or insight at work. But whatever it is (and whatever your buddy does), it’s most important to congratulate each other for making moves. Positive affirmation is a powerful reinforcement to confidence building.
Wish you could have been there for the full breakdown? We have plenty of upcoming discussions on the calendar! Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.