I’ve never lacked confidence, and then I started my career. Somehow one of the most important places to have confidence has also been the place that I have lacked confidence. Life is really fun like that. So I’m already struggling with work confidence and then I find this amazing job that I LOVE! It’s amazing, I’m in a new industry that I never thought I would be excited about but, I was also suddenly the youngest person in the room.
Understand Your Job is to make Your Boss Look Good
The best advice I ever got was to understand that my job is to make my boss look good. At first I was like um no, it’s to shine and be good at what I do! Okay true. Tut at the end of the day, when you make your boss look good, you shine and become dependable. Making my boss look good makes the CMO look good which makes the CEO look good. It’s also given me to understanding that everyone is trying to make someone else look good. You shine when other people shine. You’ll stand out when you make others look good.
Admit When You Don’t Know – Then Learn
I used to think that if I admitted that I don’t know something then that meant I was a failure. Now I look at it as a chance to learn and become valuable to my company. From the very beginning of my job I’ve had to learn so many things that I didn’t know. One of my favorite things is that my boss was actually gone my first week of work. I didn’t have anyone to lean on. In fact, people were learning on ME to know things and I had been there for 36 hours.
The amount of times I’ve said “No, I don’t know, but I will find out how” has done nothing but increased my work confidence. In just a few times of saying that, I’ve learned so much that the next time I was asked I actually was able to understand what they were asking and take their request further. Do you know how awesome it feels to look back at two weeks ago and realize you didn’t know anything about what you are working on now and at that moment you are freaking rocking it? It’s awesome!
Admit when you don’t know and then take the chance to learn.
Have a Strong Voice
Some days for me consist of leading conference calls with experienced veterans of my industry, sales pros, etc. When I first started on these calls I was the only female and I was extremely aware of how young I sounded. I was this perky, enthusiastic, energizer bunny that was my way of endearing groups of middle-aged people onto my side, but also I was this perky, enthusiastic, energizer bunny that sounded young and inexperienced. I actually had to practice saying “Hi everyone!” while alone because I was so nervous about saying it in the wrong tone.
My boss lovingly pulled me to the side and told me about what her boss had talked to her about how young she sounded on calls like I was on. I gulped because I felt like I had done something wrong, like something was wrong with me and my voice. I learned that while it was great that I was bringing SO much energy and excitement to calls, I needed to make sure the words I was using positioned me as an authority.
First words to go? “Awesome!” “Cool!” – I mentally complained that it was a double standard that other people (men) got to use these terms. No one said they sounded like they were 12 years old, but then I realized that I’ve got to put in the work to establish myself and earn the right to say these things. Eliminating these words has helped my work confidence greatly in finding new and eloquent ways of expressing myself that have established myself as an authority in my area.
Make a “Month in Review” a Regular Thing- Even If Just For Yourself
One of the best ways to build your work confidence is to make a list of all the things you’ve done in a month. At first I thought it was silly and annoying to keep a Google Doc of what I had accomplished in a month. The first month was full of normal first-month things. Then the second month came and I built on the first month. Then the third month I realized I was rocking it. The fourth month? I was so busy I barely had time to write down what I had done.
Looking back at all the things that I had learned and done in just three months instantly built me up. I chose to develop my months-in-review as infographics because they allowed me to show my creativity and get to decompress while celebrating all of my hard work. Sometimes when I am not quite feeling so confident I will pull up my digital copy of these and review what I’ve done in the past year.
Take Notes – Literally and Digitally
I love hand-written notes, they make me feel organized and I love looking back at what I was working on. Google Keep is my favorite way to take digital notes that are with me EVERYWHERE I go and super easy to organize. However, taking notes has made me reliable and able to stay on task. I live for crossing off a to-do list, so naturally I am a pro at notes. It’s also super fun to see what you were worried about months and and laugh because you’re dealing with so much bigger issues. Growth!
Honestly even 1.5 years into my job, I still rely on these things I learned. No matter where you are in a career, sometimes you have to be reminded on what got you where you are! Sometimes when I’m feeling down or blah I look at what I’ve done in the time I’ve been at my job and realize I really have done a lot. We are always so hard on ourselves. Confidence takes time and it’s a winding path it seems, but slowly builds without sometimes us even knowing it. What’s your favorite way to build confidence? I’d love to know as I’m always looking for new ideas!