When was the last time you doubted your own judgment and abilities, or didn’t feel self assured? For most of us, it might be a few minutes ago, a day ago or maybe a week ago, but we all know what it feels like to be weighed down by our own insecurities. It might not be surprising to hear that 95% of us experience a lack of self confidence or belief at some stage in our life, but what might surprise you is how much influence your self confidence has on your job and how you perform at work.
As individuals, we don’t usually perform beyond the limits of the way we see ourselves, whatever those limits may be. As we go about our daily actions at work, there is a stronger, hidden force driving the actions that we take. Somebody with low self confidence doesn’t normally accept challenges beyond their comfort zone, whereas somebody who has high self confidence doesn’t feel the desire to stay in their comfort zone. To grow in your career normally requires moving out of your comfort zone and breaking through the limits to get to the next level in your career.
Doubting your abilities, believing that somebody else is better than you, or not thinking you can do the job well, are common examples of low self esteem at work. The way you feel about yourself directly affects your productivity and job performance, which in turn affects your career success. Why is this? As you grow up, you start experiencing and learning about the world around you. You are very influenced by your parents, friends, your surroundings and experiences, and over the years, most of their beliefs about the world become your own. These beliefs then influence your thoughts, the way you see and think about things, and your feelings about them. The actions you take in life are dictated by these feelings and emotions, and so your actions lead to the habits you have and the results in your life. If you are lacking self confidence in an area, there is almost always a limiting belief hidden somewhere that keeps holding you back.
Changing Your Thought Patterns
Not all the things you come to believe and think make you feel good, however, and this is where the biggest danger is. You need to challenge the way you are thinking if it is not supporting you now, because it is undoubtedly affecting your work. Of course it is normal to doubt yourself sometimes, but if you know that the voice in your head sounds more limiting than supporting, building your self esteem is essential for you and your work performance.
There are many ways to start building your self esteem and if you want to see how quickly your results can change, put in the time and effort to do this—I guarantee you will be amazed at how your external world starts to change based on your internal world.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Become aware of your thoughts and beliefs. If you are not feeling the way you want to, stop in that moment and ask yourself “What am I thinking that is making me feel this way?” and “How is this way of thinking helping me?”
- Consider another way you could think about what is happening that would make you feel better. How do you need to change the way you think to get what you want? You must start to master your thoughts if you want to master the results in your life; it is your mindset that creates your reality.
- Change limited thinking. Another technique is to catch yourself when you are thinking something limiting; stop and tell yourself that it is not true, then repeat the negative sentence in a positive way a few times and then move forward. There is a science behind this suggestion and that is called neuro-plasticity, which is your brain’s ability to start forming new neural connections, such as the way you think habitually.
Lastly, stop comparing yourself to others—it is a disillusioning comparison and a bad habit. There is only one of you, so be the best you can and start to support yourself more, like you would for a friend. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, who don’t put you down or make you feel less worthy, but rather those who hold you up and champion you on.
It doesn’t matter what career you are in; having confidence in yourself is necessary to be happy and achieve better results. The biggest difference between those who climb the corporate ladder and those who stay at the bottom is having high self confidence. Working towards building your self confidence now is a lot easier than living with the results of low self confidence later.