That degree you paid too much money for, but are glad you have. The awards that take your resume to an impressive level. Your ability to not only meet a goal — but to exceed it. All of these hard skills are important facets of your job, but as career expert and author of Confidence Creator Heather Monahan, they don’t hold a candle to one essential soft skill: confidence. While plenty of professionals believe in their ability to execute their job effectively, if they don’t outwardly display this sense of self, they could be missing out on a slew of opportunities.
“The difference between those that truly succeed and those that can’t elevate themselves is their ability to rebuild their confidence,” she explains. “In your career, you will always be your most powerful when you own your unique voice and share it freely. This is how you will separate yourself from the sea of mediocrity around you.”
If you aren’t singing your own praises loud enough, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to supercharge your assurance with these helpful strategies from career experts. Best of all? You’ll be feeling more secure in 30 days or less:
Track your progress
Monahan says the first—and most vital—step to becoming a more brazen professional is to have a plan you can track over the course of a month. This practice doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, but it should illustrate how you improve and what you experience throughout the weeks. Monahan suggests asking yourself a simple question in the morning ‘How is my confidence today?’, and recording your honest response in a journal.
“On day 30, how do you want to see yourself? Is there an image at another time in your life where you felt very confident? Using that image as a goal for day 30 will help you to create the confidence you need. Writing each night during this month will be a helpful indicator to allow you to realize who you like spending time with and who may be trying to hold you back,” she continues.
Dream big — and put it in writing
It isn’t just holding your head high and going for it. Cofounder and CEO of Goodwall Taha Bawa explains the ability to articulate your unique value will help you feel more solidified in your skill set. Over the month, she suggests taking time to chart your career path in an effort to take ownership of the direction you’re moving in. Seeing the outline makes you more likely to push forward and achieve your goals.
When you’re going through a rough period in your personal life — whether a breakup, a death or any other traumatic event—your friends drag you out of the house so you free yourself from negative patterns and thoughts. Even though struggling with career confidence might not be quite as detrimental, co-founder of ArcVida Anna Hunter says networking can work wonders on your self-esteem. She explains when her clients start networking, having at least four conversations a week with various people engaged in their work, she sees an impressive boost in their sense of self.
“Each conversation leaves them feeling energized, which in turn gives them more energy to have additional conversations,” she explains. “The benefits are many: not only does the person requesting the conversation learn about the other person’s work or company, but they often hear their own skills and best qualities reflected back as the person asks them about their work.”
Find time to do what you love
Not everyone is lucky enough to do what they love day-in and day-out. And frankly, not everyone wants their passion to be their profession, and appreciate some separation from work and play. However, Monahan says finding time to routinely practice activities that fulfill your soul is essential to career confidence.
“If you find that you are happiest when you are painting but you don’t get that opportunity at work, then it may be time to find a more creative career for you. Spend time doing things that ignite your passion and if you can’t afford to do that now do it at night and on the weekends so you stoke your fire and build your confidence,” she says.
Wear clothes that make you feel attractive
There’s a reason the concept of a ‘little black dress’ is so universal: everyone knows what they feel like when they’re wearing something that suits them perfectly. Monahan notes how we dress and hold ourselves has an impact on our confidence — if we’re wearing something we are nervous about, we won’t execute tall posture or put ourselves in the front of the conference room. It isn’t just our clothes either — but anything that’s external.
“Take the extra time to wear your best color, best outfit and clean your shoes, bag, and car,” she urges.
Eliminate negative people and energies
Especially as we get older, it’s easy to pinpoint who brings positivity to your life and who well, stresses you out. Monahan says if the people around you bring you down, make you question yourself or overall, provide a dark cloud over every conversation, it’s important to set boundaries. These people don’t allow you to invest in yourself and the unique qualities that make you successful and special. Though this practice might feel selfish, it has a major impact on your self-perception.
“When you put yourself first and invest in yourself you will begin to feel how important you are. When you truly believe you are worthwhile, others will too,” she explains. “The sooner you can treat yourself well the sooner others will follow your lead. Realizing that we are showing people how to treat us is a powerful realization.”