Self-confidence is the key to unlocking your future

2012-02-14 00:00

DOES the thought of making a simple phone call freak you out? Do you apologise­ … a lot? When asked to do someone a favour that you can’t or don’t want to do, is it a struggle to say no?

Do you find it difficult to maintain eye contact and tend to look away from others or at the floor? Do you frequently ask others their opinion before forming your own?

If you’ve been nodding along while reading these questions, the chances are that you lack self-confidence and this has filtered through into your workplace or business performance.

Kay Vittee, CEO of staffing solutions company Quest Staffing Solutions said: “Having confidence is the key to unlocking opportunities. Sadly, however, many talented people miss out on discovering their true potential and abilities due to a lack of confidence — especially in the world of work. Think about it, if you don’t believe in yourself and your capabilities, why should your employer?

“Imagine what it would be like if you were more confident — going after­ and getting the job or promotion that you want and deserve, or you interacted easily with clients, colleagues and management or winning new business for your company and more. Confidence is critical but is not solely for the workplace. Consider some of the personal goals and dreams you’d like to achieve, like buying the house you have always wanted. Wouldn’t it be great if you had the confidence to just do it?”

To help you reach your full potential Vittee suggested the following tips for actively working on your self-esteem:

• Quit comparing — stop measuring yourself against others. Most people are better at some things than others, but it can be all too easy to concentrate on what you’re not so good at rather than looking at yourself as a whole. Recognise those personal qualities that are uniquely yours.

• Be your own best friend — you probably wouldn’t say discouraging and degrading things to your friend, so why say them to yourself?

• Get an attitude of gratitude — talk- show host Oprah Winfrey made the gratitude journal famous, but the concept is an old one based on being grateful for your lot in life. Take a minute to write down three things you are grateful for each day. Include your skills, abilities and the compliments you have received. Acknowledging your blessings is a great way to replace your habit of berating yourself. Do this for at least a month and watch your confidence and appreciation soar.

• Stop the stinking thinking —if negative thoughts about yourself pop up, replace them with positive ones. Some people find that regularly repeating affirmations focused on the things they like about themselves out loud really helps in this regard. For instance if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” then say “I can do anything I set my mind to do.”

•Look good, feel good — treat yourself to a makeover or a stylish item of clothing that’s flattering.

• Doormat no more — it’s so easy to meet everyone else’s needs and forget your own but doing this can drain your confidence levels. If you behave like a doormat people will walk all over you. Learn to say no.

• Knowledge is power — by enhancing your skills and acquiring new ones you’ll be able to improve your performance in your current job which can in turn boost your confidence. This can also give you the confidence you need to pursue other jobs requiring those skills.

• Fake it ‘til you make it — if you act as though you are confident then you are more likely to become confident. Think of some of the most confident people you know and ask yourself how they behave. What do they say? What do they do? What do they wear? Take note of all the things they do. Research shows that it takes 21 days to create a new-habit pathway in the brain and another 63 days of regular activity to consolidate what you have learnt. Yes, it will feel strange at first but keep on practising and soon you’ll feel as though you have always behaved this way.• Smile — just by smiling you appear more approachable and even more attractive. You’ll be surprised by how many friends you make and how much better you feel about yourself.

“A good sense of self-confidence contributes towards success at work, in relationships, in social situations­ and other personal achievements. So be kind to yourself and the next time you receive a compliment, instead of trying to brush it off or shying away, hold your head up and say ‘Thank you’,” said Vittee.

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