Have you ever had one of those moments in your career – you know the one, where all eyes are on you? Maybe it’s a huge presentation in front of clients, maybe it’s presenting deliverables to your boss, maybe it’s your first day of school as a new teacher. Whatever nerve-wracking moments you face in your career, know you can combat workplace anxiety. Trust us, we believe in you and you should too! With a few tricks of the trade, you can improve your confidence in the office, impacting your performance and career success.
Even the experts agree! William Arruda, a personal branding expert and author of Ditch. Dare. Do! says confidence is important because it is the most attractive personal brand attribute. “When someone exudes confidence, we want to work with them. We are more likely to follow their lead. Confidence is the number one byproduct of the personal branding process, because in branding you uncover what makes you exceptional and use it to make career choices and deliver outstanding value.” (source: Forbes.com)
Read on for workplace tips on how to be the most confident you!
Rule #1: Strive for Competence
The first (and arguably!) most important rule to feeling confident in the workplace is to be competent in your role. Remember the just-do-it phrase, “Fake it till you make it?” Well, we say, “Figure it out so you’ll do it well (and then you’ll make it!).” Stay up to speed with what’s going on in the office and your industry; set up Google alerts for your company and its competitors; subscribe to industry publications and journals; keep tab on projects in other departments in your company; stay ahead of the game by continuing to learn new skills.
One of our favorite tricks of the “make it” game? Practice, practice, practice. Makes perfect, remember? Identify the areas where you struggle, then learn a new skill that will be valuable to your company, team, or boss. And repeat. Research classes or seminars might help you improve in your role and often times if you present it to your boss and make a case for why it’s valuable, you will be reimbursed for the cost. The more you know and can offer, the more confident you’ll feel when voicing your opinion, presenting ideas, and taking the lead on a project.
Rule #2: Be Friends! With Everyone!
Relationships are essential for maintaining happiness and boosting confidence both in and out of the workplace. A toxic work environment may leave you dreading going into the office every day. Which is the opposite of loving what you do, so forming strong, positive relationships with your co-workers, boss, industry colleagues, et al. is essential. We say, it’s best to be friends with everyone as to avoid falling into a clique (a sad reality of many offices that we wish was left behind in middle school). If you’re nice to everyone, people will be nice back. The golden rule and all. Unfortunately, offices are notorious for gossip. It makes sense, after all – strangers (ish) in small quarters with little else to discuss but the Game of Thrones season four finale and one another? Don’t participate, even when it seems half the people around the water cooler are chatting about so-and-so’s promotion or who flubbed on a company-wide presentation.
Instead! Encourage and compliment your coworkers; people appreciate genuine kindness and support, and will most often reciprocate. What goes around comes around, so an ego boost on a small accomplishment can fuel your energy and confidence to complete your next project. And lastly, smile! No one likes being around the person who complains all the time, right? You’ll be a breath of fresh air, one that others appreciate. And that’s going to feel pretty good.
Rule #3: Take Pride in Your Appearance
Speaking of smiling, you’re going to need to feel confident to show off those pearly whites on a regular basis. But, it’s not so easy to do when you’ve devoured a kale caesar salad at lunch and still have bits of green clinging to your teeth during the afternoon client meeting. Embarrassing! Keep a compact mirror, toothbrush, mouthwash, and floss in your desk drawer. Or better yet–keep a small make-up bag full of daily essentials. You’re at the office for hours at a time, you might as well keep necessary items on hand to feel fresh: concealer or powder, mascara, lip gloss, deodorant, and a small brush or comb can all come in handy for a quick boost.
Now it’s not all about appearance, however it is important to invest some time and energy into your personal presentation. When you are feeling good about yourself (New coral blush on your cheeks! New outfit! New hair! Pearly whites!) it can translate into overall confidence, affecting your daily output at work. Competency, personality, and appearance all translate in the workplace. Now, we know that dealing with a physical insecurity can be emotionally crippling.
If you are one of these people struggling with a physical insecurity, consider whether the cost of “fixing it” will drastically improve your emotional well-being and overall confidence. For example, if you are insecure about your weight, look into a possible gym membership or signing up for cycling classes (many companies offer discounted memberships). It’s amazing what gym dedication can do for your energy and confidence! If you are dealing with adult acne, see a dermatologist for advice. If you are insecure about your teeth and smile; visit a dentist or orthodontist and ask about clear teeth aligners like Invisalign, which is a series of virtually removable aligners that gradually move teeth over time, so hardly anyone even notices you’re in treatment.
Please know we are not saying any of these things need to be fixed, but for anyone dealing with a physical insecurity, it’s important to know there are options available. And the sooner you work toward making yourself feel more you, the sooner your confidence will hit a high note!
Rule #4: Take Care of Your Health (Physical and Mental)
Lastly, in our age of “busy, busy, more busy, and multi-tasking, always,” many times what falls low on the priority list are diet, fitness, and physical wellness. We lack time to prepare a healthy breakfast or lunch, and by the end of the day, we are too tired to cook a nutritious dinner. Our wallets and waistlines end up suffering as we pick up a “quick” meal or order take-out day after day. Remember, what you eat matters and drastically affects your performance at work! Having a healthy, high-protein breakfast gives you the energy to focus on your day; eating a light lunch will help prevent that sluggish mid-afternoon feeling (you know, when all you want to do is find a storage closet and take a nap). Eating right will also help your sleep patterns, boost your mood and energy, and keep you trim (that whole feeling good about your appearance thing). When you feel good, you’ll be more energized and focused at work, allowing you to perform better and feel confident about the work you’re doing. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, keep healthy snacks on-hand, work out during your lunch break, hydrate throughout the workday, and stay home if you are truly sick!
Now we know it’s not always easy, but when you walk into work, check your personal stressors and emotions at the door! Carrying emotional baggage along with your laptop bag into the office can impact your performance and relationships. When things feel especially difficult, carve some time out of your morning before work to journal, go for a quick walk, or enjoy a cup of coffee with a favorite magazine. You’ll be amazed at the results that even a few minutes of peace and solitude to yourself in the morning will do for the rest of your day, mentally. Take a lunch (a real lunch!) and walk, get some fresh air, and take the time to regroup and reenergize your mind along with your body. Also, if you find yourself facing something in your personal life that you just can’t handle, ask for a personal day. It’s not worth going into the office if you’re unable to stay focused, and your work will inevitably suffer. Keeping your mind and body in the right zone will do amazing things for your confidence!
So, remember, you are strong, smart, capable, and confident. Tomorrow at work show ‘em how it’s done!
Note: This article was sponsored by Invisalign® but all of the opinions herein are those of The Everygirl editorial board.