We all have a different strategy to project confidence in office situations.
I was at a dinner party recently, and ended up chatting to a few really interesting and successful people. We shared stories about instances when things didn’t go so well, and looked at the effectiveness of various tricks to boost confidence in the workplace.
Until recently, I always believed that many of my own confidence tricks were childish and ridiculous
Like hiding outside the building with headphones on to listen to songs I used to like when I was 17 on full blast before a board presentation. Or the crazy run that morning where you push your body so hard your heart rate’s simmering just below heart attack.
But the real deal is to trick your mind.
True confidence requires freedom
A friend of mine who is on partner track at one of the big accountancy firms goes occasionally goes through stressful periods , especially when he needs to fight for his share or the pie or prevent others from taking credit/stealing his clients. His trick? He returns the call of a headhunter once in a while, and goes to meet a potential awesome new employer for an informal chat.
Does he ever quit his job?
No. He doesn’t need to. Because when he comes back from the interview, he feels so confident about his value in the market that he doesn’t feel emotionally involved anymore.
The result? He is confident because he has nothing to prove, and he doesn’t worry about people liking him.
Get angry, it’s good for you
Another friend – a Director at a top consulting firm – likes to disrupt the balance of power once in a while. Every quarter or so she kicks a big fuss about something, and throws her corporate toys out of the pram. She lashes out at a peer for crossing a line, or fires someone who hasn’t delivered.
The result? Everyone is petrified of her, and behaves like one would around a landmine.
Tip toe. Tip toe. She doesn’t actually have to worry about confidence – apprehension, unpredictability and fear in the mind of those around her do all the work!
Others like to nurture a deep, well channelled anger which provides adrenaline and the obsessive need to achieve a particular result, no matter how bad the collateral damage… not my cup of tea but it definitely works for some!
Nail the exam question
You can’t be 100% confident in a work situation if you have lost sight of the big picture. When you’ve nailed the right exam question, it gives you the mental clarity and focus that will cut through any nonsense or petty emotional blackmail. Knowing what needs to be done starts with being able to visualise a result. If you can do that, you’re almost there.
And if you pull that trick successfully a few times, you’ll feel so confident that soon you won’t worry about having to fake it.
Get better at it – every day
There is good practical advice out there, if you disregard some of the obvious, cheesy personal development advice – One of my favourites is Lifehack’s 63 ways to build self-confidence.
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