Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look. - Marcus Aurelius
So the summer is officially over, September is here! How are you feeling now the new school term has started or is about to start? We had a beautifully warm summer here in the U.K. - balmy warm evenings, where the days seemed to go on for ever - I will miss this time, but I am also a seasonal person and love the changes that each season brings, like the crisp and cooler mornings in September. I’ve even bought myself a new pair of shoes for the new term!
The changes which the new school term brings, while exciting and new, can also bring up an element of fear. Wondering if you’ll have friends this new year, what the teachers will be like and whether you can do the work are questions which will all appear at this time of year. The same can be said for our work life. I remember in one of my previous roles, when I loved what I did and was good at it, the days just seemed to fly by, but when I was in a situation, following the promotion I had longed for for so long, I genuinely felt out of my depth. I was worried I wasn't doing the job as well as I could and felt like an imposter in an office where once I felt so happy. I now realise I was more than capable of doing the job, I had simply lost confidence in myself and the more I worried about it, the more my confidence dropped!
If you're feeling really overwhelmed about going back to work, check out one of my other blogs - 3 things to do when you feel overwhelmed at work and in life [including FREE checklist] http://bit.ly/2Yxvuoa
Here are 3 things which can really help to boost your confidence at work when you feel out of your depth:
- Bridge the gap - Think about what the gap is between where you are now and where you want to be. If it is about knowledge, for example, what courses could you ask to go on? What resources could you find online to help you to bridge that gap? There are so many amazing websites and online courses now available to help with understanding different subjects, take a look and see what is available. Even if you feel you won’t learn anything, every day is a school day and there is always something valuable to learn in every experience. Also discussing the gap with a mentor or H.R. department at work will help, because they may have a host of other ideas about what to do;
- Face the fear - Being afraid of failing is one of the biggest confidence killers at work. A great way to help with this is to look at all the successes you have had in your life to date, going back as far as you can remember. Write those down in the brightest colour possible and really look all the achievements you have had. It is all too easy to see where we feel we have “failed” in life, but without "failing” we wouldn't learn or grow. When focusing on where you feel you haven't done so well, think about the lessons you learned because of that time, how have you grown since then? I know with me, I used to find presenting at work really hard, even though I am a very confident person. I did one really good presentation and then the following one went very badly for me - I was going through a difficult time when my father was taken ill and I hadn't prepared enough. So what did I learn? Firstly I knew I needed to prepare better for future presentations, secondly I knew I would need some professional help from a public speaking coach, which really helped. Thirdly I needed to anchor myself to a more positive situation instead of the negative experience, because that was getting me nowhere fast! So I did a presentation as soon as possible, before I had time to change my mind, and it was one of the best presentations I have ever done!
- Contribute more positively - There is evidence that even though it is often the last thing you want to do, doing more of what you fear will help you to grow more and become more confident each and every day. Finding ways of using your voice in meetings or elsewhere in the work place is an important place to start, particularly with those people who are more senior to you in an organisation. I know this can feel terrifying, particularly if you are feeling out of your depth, but it is an integral step to feeling more balanced and less of an imposter in your role. Speaking with confidence, calmly and rhythmically will allow people to see that you not only believe in what you are saying, but that your ideas have merit too. Prepare for any meetings beforehand if you can and set yourself an objective that you will speak up with confidence, even if it is only for a short while, this will really help you. Every time we achieve something we set out to do, our confidence grows.