3 ways to boost your confidence and stop hiding at work
Years ago at the start of my career I went through a stage that I can only describe as ‘hiding’. Not the hiding behind a sofa kind of hiding – but the hiding your light under a bushel kind of hiding and it’s something that I now see a lot in other people – the hiding where you’re holding yourself back for some reason.
Now, this kind of hiding can happen at all stages of your leadership journey, and not just at the start. For me, at that time I remember feeling quite frustrated. I wanted more opportunities, but I was afraid to ask. I wanted to contribute, especially in meetings, but I didn’t always speak up, and I wanted to learn more, but I was waiting for someone to develop me rather than seek it out myself.
Maybe you can relate.
During that time there are 3 things that I knew for sure:
1.That I was more than capable of doing more (not physically doing more, but progressing) and was willing to learn.
2. That I was doing this to myself. Deep down inside if I really thought about it, I knew that I was holding myself back.
However, and here comes #3
3. I had an army full of excuses why I couldn’t.
- I’m too busy
- I need to do my own work
- I haven’t been here long enough to ask for more development
- I’m too young
- I haven’t the experience
- People would laugh at me
- People would think…’who does she think she is?’
- I’m just a….[fill in the blanks here]
- I have to wait for development
- I have to be or get noticed
- It’s not my turn
And so on….
Any of these ring a bell for you?
And these excuses became my ammunition….not against anyone else. In fact I don’t remember saying them to anyone else…but to myself. To myself. They were my reason, my justification for not pushing myself forward because deep down inside I had a nagging feeling that I should and could be going further.
Now, this story has a happy ending and to be honest probably didn’t last that long but as a result I developed a bit of a strategy that really worked for me on how to burst out of that invisibility cloak and start living my potential, and if I’m honest I still use it now for those introverted moments where I want to hide under the duvet.
I’ll be sharing some more tips on this months webinar – 4 steps to reaching your leadership potential – register your place here.
But for now, let me share 3 steps that will get you off to a good start
This is a great one as everything and anything begins with a decision. Just decide. Sounds too simple to work but it really does. Decide that you want to progress. Decide that you want to stop hiding. Decide that today you’re going to do one thing that will take you out of your comfort zone. Whatever it is for you, start with a decision to do something different….or to think differently.
Now, this is a teensy bit harder – but still ever so simple. As from tomorrow BE different. Go home tonight and on the way home ask yourself, “what would I be like if I was [confident, the next level up etc]” and in your head make a list. What would you wear? How would you hold yourself? How would you go about your day? What would you say to people? Just imagine it – just whilst you’re travelling home. Then when you wake up the next morning DECIDE to BE that person. You don’t have to tell anyone, and you don’t have to do a different job or different tasks. The only difference is that for the entire day you’re adopting the characteristics of the you that is in your future.
Point to note here is that this is where your old excuses will come out to play. “You can’t do this”, “you’ll look / feel silly.” “Everyone will notice”. “People will think….who does she think she is?” Get the idea. But between you and me…chances are no-one will even notice…and they don’t have to. At this stage it isn’t about anyone else, it’s just about you stretching your legs a little bit.
As you go about your day [your new day] change your perception a little bit and start to observe yourself. How do people act towards you? how are you behaving? What are you doing differently? How do you feel? Can you see things you hadn’t seen before? for example – the number of times you were saying yes to people, or the excuses you were making? Can you hear your own self talk? Maybe it’s changed? Just observe and make a mental note and see if it’s worked for you.
These 3 steps were paramount in getting me out of my hiding place. Sure it takes longer than a day, but a day is where it starts. Give it a go, and let me know how you get on by leaving a comment.