03 October 2016
Get out of your own way - why you need confidence to raise your profile
Most people know and accept the link between confidence and accomplishment, and we also know that a lack of confidence can be a destructive force in our own career development, even if we have the talent and capability to achieve our objectives.
Confident people get ahead. A study of more than 500 students, academics and workers, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found those who seemed more confident achieved a higher social status than their peers. Within a working team, higher-status individuals tended to be more admired, listened to, and had much more influence over group decisions.
The thing about confidence is that it is not a constant - it’s a mode which is affected by numerous variables, some within our control but most outside of it. Everything from our health (physical and financial) to our education and relationship status can have a bearing on our confidence levels, and it is women who suffer most with a lack – the impact of which is reflected in the dire figures around numbers of women in senior government, on boards, recipients of VC funding, the list goes on.
Even if we have achieved a level of success and fulfilment within our career, taking it to the next level by becoming visible and using the media as a tool through which to build a personal brand requires confidence. So how can we prepare to battle that niggling self-doubt?
1. Mental repositioning
Becoming confident starts inside our own heads and it’s a matter of getting out of our own way by adjusting or losing some of the habits which have become our norm. Trust your capabilities and expect success. Accept that you can handle whatever shows up, and if you get knocked down you’ll simply spring up and keep going. Draw on your past experiences of coping through challenge to support this belief. Once you believe you can handle whatever is to come, the fear of whatever ‘it’ is will dissipate. Stop saying “I think” before making a contribution. State your opinions with assurity and don’t dilute them with uncertainty. Others are much more likely to buy into your ideas if you commit to them.
2. Articulation repositioning
Always do your research and be prepared. Knowledge inspires confidence so come equipped. Listen to your voice. Does it go up at the end of a statement? If so this suggests uncertainty. Be aware of your tone, and once you have spoken become comfortable with silence. Don’t feel the need to fill perceived awkward moments. You have spoken, now let your team or co-workers digest your contribution. Commit to it!
3. Perception repositioning
Once your thinking about your capability and ability to manage changes, your articulation will follow and the beauty is that how you are perceived will change very quickly, as other entrepreneurs, staff and your network see a new more assured individual destined for success and capable of navigating the challenges of growth. They’ll be much more willing to travel with you on the journey, trusting that you are equipped for the ride – and most importantly recognising that you trust in yourself to arrive at your destination.
Jessica Huie, MBE is Founder of JH Public Relations and runs monthly workshops on How to Raise your profile through media coverage for small business owners and sole traders. The next workshop is 24 October at the British Library Business & IP Centre