How to overcome a lack of confidence

06/04/2017

Picture a confident person – what do they do?  

How to overcome a lack of confidence

Picture a confident person – what do they do?  Chances are you’ll picture someone walking into a room and everyone wants to talk to them – what do they do differently to you?  Maybe they stand up straight and tall, smile, make eye contact and say the first hello.  None of this is a big secret, it’s all about making an effort.

First you need to identify the areas where you lack confidence and tackle them one at a time.  Maybe it’s a lack of belief in your own ability and what you can/can’t do but you need to turn each thing into a positive and make a list of the things you can do.

  • If your mind goes blank then start at the basics to get going, perhaps you’ve finished your degree and now you’re looking for your first job – make a list of what you have learned; outside the course, list any extra things you’ve done, such as volunteering, being part of a student group, living away from home and being able to manage your money, studies and socialising – they’re all steps in the right direction to building your confidence about your own ability.  This list is just for you to see to get you started and feeling more positive, so include everything.
  • Think about a time when someone has paid you a compliment – they’ve said you’ve done a good job, handled a situation well, or simply that you look good today – it’s all about boosting your confidence and finding the positives where you can – so think about how you felt when they said it.  Did you say thank you?  Did it make you feel proud of yourself? 

Maybe you’re confident in yourself and with friends, but in a work environment or in a situation where you meet new people, you freeze and don’t know what to do or say.

To get over those initial nerves, you might want to try some of these top tips;

  • Take a deep breath, from your tummy rather than your chest and feel the difference, with some practice you can do this regularly and sound more confident as you speak, rather than appearing breathless.
  • Practice talking to people as much as you can.  Wherever you are, chat and find out about them, ask questions, listen to the answers and see if you can keep the conversation going.  Confidence can be learned and the more you make an effort to interact with people the easier it will become.  Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake, look them in the eye and to a certain degree, you can fake it!
  • When you’re thinking about going to a new environment and talking to people – do some research beforehand so you’re not trying to think up something on the spot.  They could be things you might be able to ask anyone – a compliment about someone’s clothing is an easy one and asking where they got it.  If you’re at a new workplace, ask how long someone has been working there, what do they like about the company – that kind of thing is easy for them to answer and can get a conversation started relatively easily.
  • Be genuine when you give a compliment, everyone loves to hear something nice about themselves and it’ll put the other person at ease, making you more comfortable and then your confidence will grow.

For some people, clothes can be a great confidence boost, with others it’s a new haircut or makeup – find out what makes you walk a bit taller and smile more, and then do more of it. 

Start to keep a journal of things you have achieved, they can be tiny things as well as things like graduating, or compliments and positive feedback that you have received.  Try and find something positive every day - read it and remind yourself of your successes.  This all gives a feeling of wellbeing and confidence.

When you really need to feel confident is when you’ve been invited for an interview - and suddenly you panic! Don’t!  Remember the wonderful tips that you followed from the mybrink guide to create your amazing CV – as well as the content of your application form.  Well they have won you an interview - congratulations!  Remember that and be proud.

If you get nervous in interview situations then ask a friend to practice with you; find more tips in the mybrink guide on how to prepare for interview.

Just remember -  when you get to an interview and you’re feeling shy, it’s not a test – it’s an opportunity for you to find out about the job you’ve applied for and the company can find out more about you.

The biggest thing to do is to change your mindset to a ‘can do’ attitude – be positive about yourself and it will make a difference to how other people see you and how you will see yourself.  If you are really struggling and avoiding situations because of a lack of confidence then it might be worth getting some career coaching or taking part in a mindset course.

Take control and believe in yourself.

From the mybrink team, good luck!