Confidence is something we all struggle with from time to time. We hear those whispers of self-doubt and begin to doubt ourselves because of it. Building up our own self-confidence is a critical part of being successful in the workplace, however. That old saying, “You’ve got to fake it ‘til you make it.’ Isn’t just something successful people throw around. It’s been proven as sound professional advice.
Science Daily reported a study by the University of Melbourne involving over 100 interviews from various large corporations in Toronto, Melbourne and New York. In the study, professional participants were asked to describe how confident they were during certain periods of their lives. The study found that those who had higher levels of confidence early on in their schooling received quicker promotions and better wages when they entered the business world.
Are you struggling to make your way up the corporate ladder? You may not be cultivating the confidence you need to be successful in the workplace. There are certain psychological signs that you can use to not only give others the impression you are confident, but also gain confidence.
Signs of Self Confidence
- Confident Body Language- Your body language plays a big role in how others view you and how you feel about yourself. Pay close attention to the way you stand, sit or even look at others. Clasping your hands behind your back, sitting up straight and taking wide steps are signs of confidence. Other signs include making direct eye contact with those who are speaking and maintaining open gestures (not folding your arms or crossing your legs.)
- Relax- Fidgeting, biting your nails and appearing anxious in another way show a lack of self-confidence. While you may not always feel relaxed, appearing that way will make you look more confident to others. As an added bonus, making yourself relax can actually psychologically change the way you feel. In other words, if you fake it, you can actually trick your body into thinking you’re calmer than you are.
- Remain Calm- Criticism isn’t something anyone enjoys, but if you are able to keep your temper in check when someone is criticising you and appear calm, you’ll exude self-confidence. While it may be hard at first to keep calm when someone is telling you that you’re doing something wrong, practise makes perfect. Have a friend or loved one practise with you at home. As they criticise you, simply smile and nod your head. Studies have shown that smiling, even when you’re angry or sad, can actually reduce stress.
- Embrace Failures- You can’t succeed if you’ve never failed. If you want to be more self-confident, embrace your failures. They are only stepping stones on your path toward success. Steve Jobs failed time and time again when creating the Apple computer. He used each failure as feedback, however, and it helped him to eventually reach the top of the computer world.
- Don’t Look to Others- Be assertive in every decision you make. Those who lack self-confidence tend to look to others before they make a decision or take action. If you make a decision, go through with it. This shows you’re confident in yourself, even if the decision doesn’t pan out. If you find you’re consistently making decisions that don’t work, consider opting for small challenges that are more likely to pan out. A few successes may be all you need to regain your confidence.
- Focus on Your Strengths- Everyone has weaknesses, and it’s important to work on those and fix them. However, they shouldn’t be your focus on a daily basis. Your confidence is greatly influenced by what you think about, especially if those thoughts are recurring. If you focus on your unique strengths, abilities and gifts, you’re going to appear much more confident in yourself.
- Dress With Confidence- Do you have a favorite dress shirt or men’s suit you love to wear to certain events? Certain items of clothing may help you feel more confident simply because they were part of your wardrobe during a successful past event. Let those tweed jackets and men’s suits that are rich with memories help you send a new message of confidence, but do so in a smart way. Go ahead and reach for that Harris Tweed jacket, but change things up with a brand new dress shirt, tie and sock combination that will help you exude confidence in every area.
- Say Yes- But only when you really want to. Confident people know that saying yes to a request they don’t have time for or will have trouble doing will only lead to stress, burnout and possibly depression. Saying no is healthy and is necessary in many cases. If you’re going to say no, do it with confidence as well. Avoid passive phrases like “I don’t think I can,” or “I don’t know.” Say no and focus on other commitments that you can tackle.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t- you’re right”
Confidence can truly give you the upper hand when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder or being noticed in the workplace. Knowing what truly confident people actually do that sets them apart from others is important to building your own self-confidence. Keep in mind that these are only a few of the psychological signs of a confident person. Other signs include listening more than you speak, avoiding passing judgement on others, speaking with certainty and challenging themselves with small victories. While confident people often attract more attention and receive better wages and more promotions, they are also much more likely to diffuse that attention and shift the focus away from themselves as quickly as possible. These individuals don’t crave attention; their self-worth comes from within.
You may have to fake it until you make it when it comes to building your own confidence, but the results are well worth the effort. Take advantage of men's suits or tweed jackets rich with confident memories of past events, be assertive in your decisions, smile through criticism and check your body language.