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Building Your Self-Confidence: How Not To Be Your Own Worst Critic

Building Your Self-Confidence: How Not To Be Your Own Worst Critic

Kerrie Halmi | AdminSecret

In Corporate America, those with self-confidence succeed, while those who lack it have a much tougher time because others do not view them as leaders. In my work helping women succeed in business, I’ve found too many examples of very bright, talented women who lacked self-confidence. This lack of self-confidence was impeding their success to lead.

Psychologists have found that, in general, men have “positive illusion”—thinking they are smarter and more capable than they actually are. In contrast, women tend to have “negative illusion” which is the opposite. This frequently shows up at work.

There are specific actions you can take to increase your self-confidence, including focusing on the positive, completing and reviewing the “My Reflected Best Self” exercise and using positive self-talk.

The first method is quite simple, yet not very easy to implement on a daily basis—focusing on the positive. The negative illusion comes out when women think about how they are doing at work. As an example, I had a client who was devastated about her performance evaluation—so much so that she couldn’t even focus on her work. I finally told her to send me a copy of it. She did and it was excellent. There was one item that needed some improvement (it wasn’t ranked the highest, but the second highest). She focused on that item and interpreted it not being perfect as her failing. Shift your perspective to understand that nobody excels in everything; focus on your strengths. Very logistically, I recommend that people keep a “good stuff file”—when people write you positive notes or letters, save it in that file. When you need confidence for a big meeting or presentation, review the file to increase your self-confidence.

My Reflected Best Self is an exercise available on-line (at the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship website). You get input from those who know you well as to how you add value in different situations. I’ve done this myself and had many workshop participants do this and it’s amazing how it can increase your self-confidence. A copy of it is in my “good stuff file”!

Positive self-talk is changing the way you talk to yourself. For example, if before you speak up in a meeting you hesitate, direct your attention to what you are thinking. Many times we say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to even our worst enemies. This negative self-talk often prevents women from even speaking up.

Use these techniques to improve your self-confidence and the self-confidence of other women around you. This will increase women’s success in the workplace.

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