Many people suffer from a lack of confidence at work. Even those who appear to be at the top of their game are not immune to feeling like an impostor or stealing a salary.
Although some manage to put their doubts aside, for others the long-term impact can be detrimental, preventing them from seeking promotions or quitting their jobs.
The reason many people can suffer from a lack of confidence – even if they are seen by others as doing very well – is that we are rarely taught to think about our careers in a practical way, a said Sarah Ellis, Career Specialist. coach and presenter of the Squiggly Careers podcast.
When it comes to advice on how to practice self-awareness, this is especially the case. But it is possible to learn.
Ellis is the co-author of “You Coach You: How to Overcome Challenges and Take Control Of Your Career,” which provides practical coaching tips and coping techniques.
When helping clients deal with their “trusted gremlins,” as Ellis calls them, she always recommends these two techniques.
Reframe your point of view
Psychologist Susan David first promoted the idea of “seeing your doubts as data,” in a 2017 TEDTalk, which has been viewed nearly 10 million times. The perspective from which we see them can affect how we feel, Ellis suggested.
If you think back to a situation where you may be having a hard time or feel like you didn’t do as good a job as you would have liked, try to see it from the point of view of an objective viewer.
“Sometimes just seeing your situation from the perspective of a fly on the wall can be really helpful,” Ellis said.
Taking some distance from a situation or our own actions can help someone see a situation more realistically and not be too hard on themselves.
Say your own name out loud or in your head
It sounds silly, Ellis said, but sports stars or people working in high-pressure environments often use this technique to calm their nerves.
It’s one of the techniques also recommended by neuroscientist Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan, in his book “Chatter”, which focuses on managing the internal monologue of the thoughts that run through our heads.
“Rather than thinking ‘I’m not going to be good enough’ or ‘I’m really nervous’, actually say ‘Sarah, you know you can do this’ or ‘Sarah, you know you have a good record’ – be positive,” Ellis said.
Of course, blind optimism is no antidote to the many very real obstacles that can impact people’s career paths, but reversing the way you approach certain situations to view your own abilities in a more positive light can. help you build mental toughness and feel more confident in certain situations.
The same way giving yourself distance can change your perspective, saying your own name can frame your thinking, according to Ellis. Even if you just say it in your head, it can be a small way of reminding yourself of what you can do, as opposed to what you think you can’t.
Ellis said top leaders are now much more prepared to be empathetic and vulnerable. They give their colleagues the opportunity to do it too.
“I can promise you that everyone has these doubts,” she added. “We don’t need to present perfection, because no one is perfect.”