Most of us play a character at work. We try to be authentic, but it’s just too hard to maintain it.
How can you say what you really feel at work when you are constantly being judged and evaluated there?
Your boss is listening to everything you say. Later they will make decisions about who gets a raise, who gets promoted, who gets the best assignments and who gets laid off. How can you possibly speak your truth in such a hostile environment — especially about sticky or sensitive topics?
Most of us wear a mask and a costume at work.
Our mojo level goes up and down throughout the day. One minute we feel great, and then something bad happens or somebody says something critical to or about us and our mood plummets. We start to worry.
We doubt ourselves and second-guess our decisions. An ordinary day at work can leave you feeling depleted, stressed and completely devoid of confidence!
Here are five simple practices to being building your confidence. Your confidence is not a trivial thing. You need it!
You need your confidence more than you need additional education, more work experience or more glowing reviews from your supervisor.
Your mojo fuel tank is the only source of power you’ve got. When you run into rough seas — something that is bound to happen over and over again throughout your career — your mojo will power you through that adversity.
Five Simple Ways To Build Your Confidence
1. Identify Your Mojo Boosters and Mojo Blockers
2. Reclaim Your Dragon-Slaying Stories
3. Manage Your Fuel Tank
4. Envision Your Confident Self
5. When Your Flame Rises, Step Out
The first step in boosting your confidence is to get a journal and write in it.
If you think that writing in a journal is a hippy-dippy practice unsuitable for a serious business person like yourself, you are unaware of the true nature of business. Business is as personal an activity as exists on planet earth.
Your understanding of yourself and the energy swirling around you and other people is a super power that will serve you well — but only if you understand it well enough to use it! Before you can understand your own energy and its intersection with other people’s energy waves, you have to observe it.
Start your journaling project by writing about the things, people, activities and situations that boost your mojo, and the ones that deplete your mojo.
Maybe having to speak up at meetings destroys your confidence. Identify that Mojo Blocker! That’s the only way you will be able to gradually break it down and surmount it. Write about how it feels when you’re suddenly asked to speak to a group. Your body has wisdom to teach you if you listen to it!
If speaking up in meetings is a Mojo Booster for you, write that down too. Look for more opportunities to present in public, in that case.
Should you avoid your Mojo Blockers — the things that tank your confidence and make you feel weak and defective? Should you step into them, instead?
Don’t step into them when you are feeling bad. Instead, identify baby steps that will let you move slowly toward conquering the biggest Mojo Blocker in your way, and then the next and the next one and so on.
If you hate presenting at meetings, ask a colleague to let you present a two-minute talk to him or her privately, and then give you feedback. Ask a few different colleagues and friends to do the same thing. Join Toastmasters and slowly step into your public-speaking persona.
Often when we are afraid to do something, it’s because long ago someone in authority told us we were no good at it — at public speaking, for instance. It will take time to get those old tapes out of your head!
There may be people at work or elsewhere in your life who bring you down and suck away your mojo and confidence. Write that down, too! Limit your time with those people. Spend more time alone if that is what you need, and spend more time with people who remind you of how capable and awesome you are.
Once you’ve identified your Mojo Boosters and Mojo Blockers and started to be conscious of the state of your fuel tank, begin reclaiming your Dragon-Slaying Stories. Write them in your journal, too!
Dragon-Slaying Stories are stories about times when you made a difference at work or somewhere else. Dragon-Slaying Stories are times when you saved the day, had a great idea, helped solve a big problem or otherwise used your talents and brilliance to do something awesome.
You’ll need your Dragon-Slaying Stories ready to tell at a job interview, but it’s good to collect your Dragon-Slaying Stories even when you aren’t job-hunting, because remembering those stories helps to build your confidence.
Once you become aware that you have a mojo fuel tank to manage, you’ll start to view your workdays and days off differently. If you have a grueling work week ahead, do you really want to commit to helping your friend move to a new apartment on Saturday?
You know your friend has a great job — the truth is that they can afford to hire a moving company instead of leaning on you and another friend to move them for free. Setting boundaries is a big step in growing your confidence!
If gardening, golfing, hiking, reading or listening to music refill your mojo fuel tank, then make time for those activities even when your week is crazy busy — especially then, in fact.
You only have one body and one mind to get you through this lifetime happy, healthy and successful by your own definition. How can you be happy, healthy or successful if you’re depleted and discouraged? You can’t!
In your journal, begin to write about the things you will do and say when your mojo tank is refilled and you feel confident again. Your list may look like this:
- I will talk to my supervisor Rhoda about my hours. I should have a better schedule now that I’ve worked for Rhoda for two years.
- I will register for and take a dance class.
- I will apply for an internal promotion.
- I will put up a boundary with Gary when he tries to foist his work off on me.
Rather, wait for a big wave to come. Be ready for the wave that will lift you up at the right moment.
One day when you least expect it, you’ll be talking with Rhoda and she’ll say “Thanks for that last-minute report — I owe you.”
Your own lips and tongue will shock you by forming the words “Oh, no problem, Rhoda — listen, is this a good time to talk about my work schedule? I need to start work later — the traffic from my house to here wastes a half-hour every day.”
You’ll say it when the right wave arrives and carries you to a higher place.
The words will pop out and because she can feel the same energy, Rhoda will say “You’re right, that’s crazy. Let’s go see HR right now and change your hours — you should start work an hour later.”
Your growing flame will influence everyone around you. Some people will like it, and some won’t. That’s the price of growing your confidence. You will singe some people with your growing flame, and that will sometimes require you to make changes — even changing jobs if the energy shift you bring about is scary enough to spook the people you work for.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to rush into a new persona, but as your flame rises, step gradually into your power.
Listen to your sturdy gut. It will never steer you wrong. You deserve to be the confident person you see in your dreams. You have the power to be that person, too. Go ahead and open the valve to let your power flow in!