Even the greatest negotiators, the coolest influencers, and the snazziest dressers are plagued with self-doubt from time to time, especially in the workplace. And when it comes to your career, self-doubt can create a vicious cycle: those little worries, fears, and anxieties often result in people not taking you as seriously at work, which leads to more self-doubt on your part. If you find yourself feeling less than confident every Monday morning, here are 8 ways to boost your internal profile—no brow-shaping, contouring, or schmoozing required.
Use the right body language. Your words might be saying, “Listen to me!” but if you’re nervously plucking at your cuticles, chances are your boss won’t be. Stand tall, keep your hands out of your pockets, make eye contact, and think “open and relaxed” rather than “closed and guarded.” Want more guidance? Amy Cuddy’s famous TED talk on body language is like the cool confidence mentor you didn’t realize you needed.
Change the story you tell yourself. Remember how in Lean In,Sheryl Sandberg argued—convincingly, but also controversially—that women’s internal obstacles are holding them back? If you find that your internal story is critical, hopeless, or otherwise destructive, you can actively—e.g., out loud—start changing that. Begin with simple statements in the second person, like so: “Sarah, you’ve got this. Your last presentation was amazing, and you’ve improved so much since then.”
Keep a confidence journal. Grab coffee, shut your office door, and write down three things you’re proud of yourself for doing that day. Did you speak up in a meeting? Make small talk with your scary boss at the water cooler? Write it down to show your future self that you’re bolder than you know.
Ask a co-worker to coffee. Reaching out for office companionship is scary, but having a pal in the office makes everything so much better. Just don’t spend the whole time gossiping— studies have shown that people respond well to positive attitudes in the workplace. Plus, you never know what will get back to the boss.
Eat a healthy breakfast. This is a confidence tip, not a diet tip. Girl, you need that energy to take over the world!
Walk with purpose. Don’t “scurry” or “slink” down the hallway. Stride! Wearing heels? Make sure they’re comfortable and walkable. Stumbling in heels conjures up images of ladies-who-martini-lunch.
Wear a little yellow. According to a “scientific” website on the internet, yellow is the color of optimism, confidence, and self-esteem. Give it a shot!
Fake it.So you have a big meeting and all the yellow scarves in the world won’t quell your nerves? Take a deep breath and pretendto be a confident person. It’s the fake it till you make itschool of business, and it’s worked for everyone from Don Draper to essayist Roxanne Gay, who said in a recent interview that when she’s scared of giving a speech, “I pretend that I’m a braver version of myself and just suck it up and do it.”
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