Confidence is certainty you know what you’re doing. When you don’t feel confident, it can be easy to get caught up in your feelings of inadequacy and doing anything other than what you need to move forward.
The common advice to, 'fake it till you make it' and 'strike your power pose' sounds good, but does nothing to help you muster up the courage to go after what you want.
Here are two steps you can use to overcome insecurity and move forward with confidence.
1. Create Context
Context is the set of circumstances that surround what you’re attempting to do. When you aren’t sure how to do something, creating context will help you get your head in the game.
For example, one of my clients had been building an event planning business for the past five years. She was successful at growing her company but had not contributed significantly to the household income. So she decided to get a corporate job as a project manager, but she didn’t have the typical certifications for that position. She could see how her skills from event planning translated into project management, but she wondered if a hiring manager could.
She and I worked together to translate how her specific experience as an event planner and business owner was relevant to what the hiring manager was looking for in a project manager. This context deepened her understanding of how her unique experience was not only applicable but uniquely valuable in the position she was going after.
Here is what she said about her first interview with the VP of Nissan,
I remember in the interview with the VP, where I might have otherwise felt intimidated, I was comfortable and confident. I felt really good about my unique value and my absolute fit for the role. I remember thinking, “I’m just going to be who I am and that’s all I need.”
2. Engage Your Self-talk
Self-talk is the dialogue that you have with yourself that either talks you into something or talks you out of it. When you’re trying to do something new, the tendency is to ignore that voice and push down the feelings that it brings up. The problem with that strategy is that it diminishes your ability to be in the moment and connect with other people. If you can't connect, then you can't communicate effectively.
When we started to work on Raquel’s interviewing skills, she confessed that self-promotion made her feel uncomfortable. As we talked about it, she realized she had developed a habit of downplaying her accomplishments and second-guessing what she was going to say because of how others had reacted to her in the past.
Instead of letting your inner voice take you out, engage with it. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” or “Why can’t I do this?” Write down all your fears and doubts. Then, write your rebuttal. Some of the concerns from your inner voice will be old beliefs that you've outgrown. Others will be valid concerns that when faced and addressed, can be used to shape your message and strategy. The key is to listen to your inner voice so you can sort out fact from fiction.
The process of defining the value Raquel would bring to this new role made all her fears and doubts rise to the surface. By addressing those emotional concerns, we were able to find the right words to focus her resume and key points to hit during her interviews. This clarity made it easy for her to show up at her interview feeling confident about what she had to offer, emotionally available make a connection with the interviewer and promote herself effectively. Within two months she received her first job offer at her ideal pay range in an entrepreneurial environment.
Confidence is the certainty that you know what you’re doing.
When you aren’t sure how to do something, creating a context for yourself will give you the mental clarity to perceive what you are attempting to do and focus your energy to move forward. Working through your doubts and concerns help you recruit your self-talk to your team, put your best self forward and confidently go after what you want.
Are you at a crossroad in your life?
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Vision Quest Consulting is an award-winning leadership development firm for top talent and high potentials. For over 20 years, they've helped Fortune 500 executives and visionary entrepreneurs step into their A-game to deliver outstanding business results.