Have you ever missed out on an opportunity you really wanted because you didn’t have the confidence to put yourself out there?
There are many patterns and behaviors that can get in the way of confidently moving forward in our careers. Sometimes our shadow self becomes our social persona out of fear, insecurity or self-doubt. We may mask our insecurities by doing busy work or by procrastinating and not taking action that will move us towards our goals. Sometimes these saboteurs show up as stories built upon fear-based assumptions and beliefs that disguise themselves as truths.
There are 2 kinds of stories or sets of beliefs to pay attention to. “I” stories and “they” stories. Let’s consider both of these:
“I” stories may sound like:
- I’m not ready to be promoted
- I don’t have enough experience
- I’m not worthy
- I’m not smart enough
- I’m under qualified
- I’m … (you fill in the blanks)
When you believe these “I” stories, these beliefs keep you small, they hold you back from applying for that ideal job, or asking for the promotion, or requesting a raise or taking on a leadership assignment. And chances are, if you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, over time others won’t either. It becomes a vicious circle of negative beliefs manifested into your current reality.
Now, let’s take a look at the “they” stories which can equally hold you back from achieving your goals and aspirations.
“They” stories may sound like:
- They don’t value me
- They don’t appreciate the work I do
- They don’t believe I can do that job
- They aren’t smart enough to see my potential
- They don’t think I’m ready
- They don’t … (you fill in the blanks)
“They” stories can make you feel like a victim and lead you to believe that you are powerless or somehow don’t have control over your situation. Sometimes “they” stories can cause you to get caught up in office politics, gossip and negativity and ultimately may cost you that job promotion or leadership assignment.
You can reclaim your true self and stop believing these false “I” and “they” stories and show up as confident, powerful and in control if you are willing to break the cycle. The key is to acknowledge what’s going on and take steps to bring the real you back out into the open. Don’t focus on how things are supposed to be. Focus on the facts and not the stories. Give yourself a reality check.
If you are stuck and not sure how to move forward, there are 4 things you can do right now:
- Become more self-aware. Start with an honest look at yourself. Engage others who know you to assist you by providing their honest feedback as well. Consider the stories you are engaging in or believing to be true. Ask yourself what else could be going on that you are not seeing. You need to start managing your mind and your beliefs. Learn to pick up on and defeat any negative thoughts or stories which can destroy your self confidence.
- Visualize what you want. Studies have shown that athletes who spend time visualizing the perfect game show measurable improvements in their physical skills. Visualizing success actually trains your mind and body to behave successfully in real life.
- Create a plan. Having a well thought out plan provides you with focus, direction and the confidence to take action. Consider hiring a professional coach to assist you in creating your career plan. The better prepared you are for the future, the easier it will be for you to slide into your next career move.
- Take action. Even if it’s one baby step at a time. Take that first step forward.
In today’s workplace, employers hire and promote employees who are ready to “hit the deck running”, proactive individuals who are confident. So what are you doing to ensure your preparedness for your next career move?