For many decades, academicians have debated on whether or not self-confidence, among other factors, propels people to success at work and in life. The debates have boiled down to resembling the unresolved chicken-or-egg discussion on which came before the other. Despite differing information on what causes and affects one’s self-confidence, you can develop self-confidence to make you successful at work and a winner in other aspects of life. Here are some techniques you can use to boost your self-confidence and achieve your career aspirations.

Tame Inner Critic: Each human being has an internal critical voice which some psychologists call the “inner critic”. This voice perpetually tells you to put yourself down even in incidences where you deserve credit. If you obey the inner critic, it’ll work on deflating your self-confidence. Colleagues at work may occasionally put you down, but don’t allow your inner critic to magnify the situation. Your level of self-confidence partly depends on your imagination of how other people think about you. For example, you’ll experience a high sense of confidence in the company of a colleague who you think respects your professionalism. Since your inner critic always wants to control you, it can make you doubt your judgements and in the process diminish your confidence. Give yourself a break from the inner critic! Remember that you’re a human being with flaws just like everyone else. It’s important to appreciate your weaknesses without exaggerating them. 

Work On Improvements: When rating your self-confidence, you probably try to weigh your strengths and weaknesses. If the balance tilts towards the weaknesses, your inner critic is ready to puncture your self-confidence. Instead of listening to the inner critic, work on your weaknesses one at a time. The moment you make progress in areas you want to change, you will slowly be on track towards elevating your level of self-confidence. 

Assume Confident Feelings: Your inner critic is always on the look-out for your signs of not feeling confident. It will pick up the signs and exaggerate them until your confidence is broken down. To prop up your self-confidence in unfamiliar grounds, behave as if you are already confident and before long the feeling will be real. For example, if you are nervous about making a topical presentation to your colleagues, do your best by obtaining and organizing the required content. Then, during the presentation session, pretend that you are one of your role model speakers. Before long you will find your ground and move from acting to reality. 

Try Again and Again: Successful people in various fields tried again and again on achieving their venture after failing several times. Since everybody fails from time to time, never stop trying because success could be around the corner. Whenever you fail to ignore the failure tag from your inner critic and pick yourself up to start all over again like Thomas Edison. He invented the electric bulb after failing in 1,000 attempts. So long as you learn from your failures, you are better off than someone who did not attempt any worthwhile assignment. 

Compliment Yourself: Your inner critic is always pointing out what it considers as your limitations. Yet deep inside yourself, you know your working capabilities. Ignore the inner critic and cheer yourself up on your strengths. For example, say to yourself, “I have great writing skills which are valuable for my job.” To steadily increase your self-confidence, look straight into your eyes in the mirror and compliment yourself on a regular basis. 

Believe In Facts: When you lack self-confidence, it is easy sometimes to turn feelings into facts to suit a given situation. For example, if a colleague refuses to assist you on an important assignment, you may feel that they are not co-operative. Yet at the time you made your request, they were genuinely engaged in another urgent work. Strive to build your self-confidence by believing in situational facts and not your feelings. 

Emulate A Role Model: At your workplace or in your profession choose a role model to spur you to greater achievement heights. For example, if you admire your CEO’s leadership style try to develop a similar one. Although you cannot behave completely like your role model, emulating them can gradually increase your self-confidence. 

Picture Your Success: In attempting to showcase your capabilities, the inner critic sometimes jumps in to dampen your efforts. It is important to ignore your inner critic and paint in your mind a positive picture of yourself. For example, create a pleasant mental image of yourself when meeting high ranking officials on behalf of your boss. Such imaginative pictures will cumulatively grow your level of self-confidence. 

Take Credit: Confident employees are quick to take credit whenever they do an excellent job. As you perform your daily duties, aim at exceeding your work targets. When the chicken will come to the roost, you may be among employees whose performance would be celebrated company-wide. Rise to the occasion and appreciate your recognition. Meanwhile, celebrate your small wins on your road towards unshakeable self-confidence. 

Keep Good Company: Some colleagues at work sometimes take up the role of your inner critic. They make disparaging comments intended to bring your self-confidence to a low level. Given an opportunity to give you feedback, they will arm themselves to point out weaknesses on your work performance without appreciating your strengths. To shield your self-confidence from unwarranted attacks, exclude them from the list of feedback providers. Although nobody has a moral authority to select friendly work-mates for you, it is useful to keep good company with those that add more value to your pursuits. People that take away value from you are a risk to your level of self-confidence.

Samson Osero is an Independent Human Resource Development Consultant and Author of the book ‘Transition Into Retirement’. You can commune with him on this or related matters via email

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