Confidence At Work

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Confidence and Stress are Related

Confidence is primarily undermined by stress, which professionals define as when the demands on an individual “exceed the personal and social resources that the individual is able to mobilise”. This means that we tend to feel stressed when faced with:

  • New and unfamiliar tasks

  • Tasks we have struggled with in the past

  • Unexpected disruptions

  • Critical comments

These situations often occur in the workplace, and can rapidly chip away at our self-confidence.

Facing the Unfamiliar

A lack of confidence often stems from being unsure of how to do something. As a result, many people feel a rising sense of panic when faced with an unfamiliar task. Take control of this feeling by asking a manager or co-worker for help. You can still demonstrate your initiative by deciding how you would logically approach the task, before approaching others for help.

Silence is Golden

Asking for help can sometimes feel like a failure. If you’d prefer to try and work through a new challenge yourself, sit back quietly and watch other people first. You can learn a lot just by being observant
Some people cover their lack of confidence with a loud and exuberant personality. However, don’t let this shake your own sense of self-worth - loudness does not necessarily equal skilfulness.

 Something for You to Try Now - Thought Awareness

Workplace confidence can also be derailed by other situations. A proven way to build confidence is Thought Awareness - a technique often used during cognitive behavioural therapy. The process is designed to tackle negative thinking at the root, and unfolds as follows: 

  • For a two-week period, keep a daily ‘stress diary’.

  • Whenever a stressful situation arises, make a note of the details - along with your emotional response and thoughts.

  • These observations must be totally honest - it can take a couple of days to get the hang of it.

Maintain this diary for a minimum of two weeks. Once you’ve completed your observations, take some time to go through the pages and look for patterns of repeated behaviour. People with low confidence tend to have a higher proportion of negative thoughts - often triggered by certain situations. The key to thought awareness is to identify these negative thoughts and triggers, before using rational thinking to combat them and build confidence.

Rational Thinking                                                                  

Keep your daily stress diary for another two weeks, noting down each time you feel stressed. However, rather than allowing your thought process to continue unchecked, battle your negativity with rational thinking.

Here are some situations that commonly cause stress in the workplace:

  • Tasks we have struggled with in the past

  • Unexpected disruptions

  • Unexpected criticism

Turn to Rational Thinking

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Focus on Yourself

Confidence is a flexible quality, however, some people use unhealthy methods. This can be seen most clearly on social media where some people portray an exaggerated projection of their lives in order to make themselves feel better.

Remember - you will only achieve true self-confidence by focusing entirely on your own self-image.

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