Developing Self Confidence

“The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy; and the greatest of these is Confidence.”- Walt Disney

Some thoughts in life hit you hard. When they do, a lot of other things start falling in place as a result of that one thought. I am blessed that my job entails me interacting with so many young Indians in the corporate world at different positions.

My programs usually start with the participants introducing themselves with the help of a slide. A bunch of simple questions that they all have answers to – Name, Work Experience, Job Profile, etc. This involves them standing up and speaking to their peers in the room.

A lot of participants get nervous and make a mess of what should have been a very simple exercise. They fumble, say odd stuff, answer inaccurately and make total fools out of themselves. The more I started observing and talking to these participants on why they get confused while talking about their own self, the more I realised that it’s mainly a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence that they also display at their workplace.

They speak to their boss with a lack of confidence resulting in the boss not showing confidence in them either. When they have a question in mind, they won’t ask because they are worried that the boss or peer may find them stupid or may shout. They won’t summarize conversations with customers and in turn, goof up on the case.

When we are not confident – we perform poorly. Case in point, a cricket team chasing a small score in a one day match. If the team batting second loses a few early wickets the other batsmen collapse out of nervousness. The otherwise awesome batsmen start looking stupid when they lose their confidence.

It would be safe to say that it does not matter if you have an A game [at cricket or at the workplace] if you can’t manage to be confident of your abilities. You lose confidence, you lose your A game.

Now, the truth is – some people are just born confident. Some develop it over a period of time. Some are selectively confident. I’m not an expert at the subject of why people turn out a certain way, but based on my observations and interactions with different professionals, I sure have some inputs that can help build confidence.

  1. Build on Knowledge.

There are those lucky few who know nothing about a particular topic yet exude confidence while talking about it. But most of us need to work constantly on developing our knowledge. If you consistently upgrade your knowledge on work and general awareness, you will be sure of what you’re speaking which in turn will make you feel confident.

  1. Being well prepared.

At the work place, the basic reason for nervousness is when you are not fully prepared with your assignment. So work hard towards preparing yourself on the job/project at hand and see the change it brings in your attitude.

  1. Positive thinking

Training your mind to think positively, could be the biggest gift you could give yourself. There are a lot of different areas in which positive thinking will help you, but building confidence is the biggest benefit.

  1. Look at yourself as work-in-progress.

People who look at themselves as ‘work-in-progress’ always do well at the Work place. They don’t fear failure; instead look at every project/job as a means to become better professionals. They automatically stop putting pressure on themselves.

  1. What’s the worse that can happen?

Don’t fear the worse. The worse rarely happens. And what if it does? Your world will not come to a grinding halt based on one event. Does life stop there? In very rare situations you get just one opportunity. If your presentation fails, well there’s always a chance to get better at it.

  1. Achieving Miles stones

A lot of people feel confident based on what I believe are external milestones like an added educational qualification or degree. If you have any such factors, see how you can achieve them instead of using them as excuses for your lack of confidence.

  1. Don’t let what you are not good at come in the way of what you are good at.

All of us have our strengths and weaknesses. We often let things we are not good at, come in the way of stuff we are good at leading to ruining both.

  1. Nothing succeeds like success

If you taste success in any form, it helps you grow in confidence. If a batsman from our national team hits a rough patch with form, they suggest that he get a few runs under his belt at the domestic or club level. The same applies to our work life.

There are lots of external events in life that will help you grow or diminish in confidence. But the truth is we need to constantly work on it ourselves without relying much on external events and people. Our growth and career prospects hinge on confidence. Don’t let the world outside determine how confident we should feel.

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