A few years back now, I was involved with Nivea and their #BringItOn study which surveyed women aged 18-30-years-old in the UK on their attitudes to work, relationships, celebrity and much more. This study birthed the term #Happenista, a woman who makes things happen her way and my transformational online coaching programme, the Happenista Project.
One of the many interesting statistics that the study revealed, was that 97 per cent of the 2,700 respondents believed that “confidence comes from within”. In some ways this is a reassuring figure, because women aren’t looking to social media, or anywhere else for external validation. However, just because you know where confidence comes from, doesn’t mean that you have it.
Confidence is a key leadership quality that many of us are lacking, even when in senior roles. My most requested talk at the moment is on Imposter Syndrome, that nagging feeling that you are a fraud, will be caught out or that your achievements are just down to luck, which can be crippling in some people, sabotaging their career and relationships. The experience of this resonates with many, if not now, at some point in their life.
The truth is that no one is confident in everything and confidence can be developed, so what you need is a seed of self-confidence that through experience, action and knowledge can flourish.
As a coach, I find that confidence is one of the top things my clients want to work on. Here are 5 things you can try to help develop yours:
- Stop & Reflect – Life is so busy that we are often so keen to move forward onto the next thing, that we can often miss out on reviewing our past successes and gaining the confidence boost that provides.
TRY THIS: Think of why you were employed for your last role. What qualities, attributes and skills did they see in you that they thought would be a valuable addition to the organisation? Now remember that perception is reality, if they saw it in you, it must be true.
- Take An Experimental Attitude – The only way to know if you can do something is to try. Craft experiments outside of your usual area of expertise that you can learn from.
TRY THIS: Volunteer in a safe space to do something that you wouldn’t usually do. For example, if you’ve been given feedback that you are not developing good relationships with your team, you could volunteer at a charity where developing relationships is an essential part of the role. There are many community groups, faith groups and charities that would welcome your support. Win-win.
- Develop Realistic Self-Awareness – It’s natural to be self-critical and to compare how you’re feeling inside with how others look on the outside. In situations where we feel that we are the minority, we can feel this more acutely. Often, we have an unrealistic sense of our flaws and try to overcompensate for them.
TRY THIS: Get feedback. Ask your colleagues, friends, family and clients how you are doing. Be specific about the areas that you want feedback on and try to gain an insight into your blind spots, the things that they have noticed about you that you might not have seen in yourself. Take on board the strengths that they notice in you and use those to overcome your weaknesses.
- Look Confident until you become it – They say we eat with our eyes and I think we look for signs of confidence with our eyes also. How you look, your voice and language all matter. This is not more important than your competence, but it helps.
TRY THIS: Stand in front in the mirror and practice standing tall, speaking slowly and clearly, and not fidgeting. Wear clothes that make you feel confident. Observe those who exude confidence and see what you can learn from their body language.
- Continually develop yourself – Knowledge is power and the more informed you are, the better decision you can make. We all feel unconfident when we don’t have all the facts or the know-how.
TRY THIS: Look for industry publications, courses, networking events, mentors or coaches to help you improve your knowledge.
Remember that Confidence comes after the act, not before, so build your courage and take action!
If this has inspired you to boost your confidence levels as leader, here are some further resources that can help:
BLOG: Read more from Jenny about developing your confidence.
EVENTS The Confidence to Sell 19th April, hosted by NatWest, sponsored by Sage
EVENTS The Happenista 1 day Retreat, an opportunity to renew and reimagine a more confident you
ONLINE TRAINING: Learn how to Overcome Imposter Syndrome In the Happenista Project Step 2 [2 Hours of video]
WEBINAR: How To Build Unshakeable Self-Confidence – 27th April [45 mins]
WEBINAR: Success Secrets enter your name and email address to access it free of charge immediately [45 mins]
Audio Course: 7 days of inspirational audio delivered directly to your inbox on confidence, resilience, gratitude and much more [3 Mins per audio]
Book: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz
Book: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers
Podcast: How to overcome career and life challenges with grace – Interview with Trisha Proud [29 mins]
Video: How to Become a Confident Woman [6 mins]
Video: How to Become a Confident Public Speaker [55 mins]
Blog Post: Developing Unshakeable Self – Confidence [3 mins]
This blog is part of a series of articles on leadership qualities. You can find links to others here.