Q. I keep getting reviews lately that I need to work on my self-confidence. I agree that I'm not the most self-confident person on the planet, but I have no idea how to change my attitude. My boss keeps trying to give me projects I'm not certain I can do, and I'm turning down. Am I stuck at my current level of achievement?
A. No, self-confidence has absolutely nothing to do with success. Success is determined by what you do in your external world, not in how you feel in your internal world.
Mostly acting self-confident means you don't "share" your inner insecurities with your team and boss. The other important factor is to be willing to fail and make mistakes. Many of my clients are concerned they will get fired if they make mistakes. What will get you fired is never taking on the projects your boss is asking you to do.
Once you are on the payroll, companies expect you will have a learning curve on new skills. What companies and bosses won't tolerate is an employee who is unwilling to assume new responsibility.
I promise you that the only difference between you and the people you see as confident is that those "confident" people are more willing to screw up. In a long career, you'll get many cool opportunities to do things that you'll have no idea how to do. If you are willing to be afraid and give the new skill a whirl, you'll pick up a new talent and reason to promote you.
Even if you turn white, stutter and have trouble breathing while you try these new projects, people will focus more on the fact you are trying than on the fact you are scared. In the long run, you'll even get more comfortable and less obvious about the fact you are terrified.
If you'd like confirmation of the effectiveness of what I call "workplace theater," (acting as if you can do something until you can) interview people you admire. They will tell you stories about getting offers to do projects they were certain were over their heads. They will also confirm that they grew taller for having taken the chance.
My clients often comment that they find it ironic that human beings don't build confidence by hiding under their desks hoping one day they will feel bold. We build confidence by going out into the world and taking reasonable risks.
Instead of waiting to wake up one day and be self-confident, aim to find ways every day to develop courage as if it were a muscle. Let your coworkers hang out seeking the elusive bluebird of self-confidence, while you learn new skills, gain new responsibilities, and make more money. You'll find results at work will always outshine personal confidence!
The last word(s)
Q. I want to get an MBA to guarantee that I can get a management position at my company. Will an MBA be certain to open up this door?
A. No, whether an MBA will open up the door to leadership depends on who is on the other side of the door. Get more information about the background of managers at your company before you commit to this degree.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
Self-confidence unnecessary for stellar success
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