Career & Money

How To Build Confidence At Work

Elizabeth Lions
By Elizabeth Lions |Dallas, TX

Confidence is something that is built, like a muscle, over time.

There is an art to quiet confidence, and it is never prettier than when it is worn by a woman. You know her when you see her at a meeting in the office.  She is understated, yet powerful. Her silence is presence enough. She doesn’t have to fill the room with noise. When she speaks, people listen and take her council. She doesn’t compete. She reports information, she collaborates, and she knows how to work alone and within a team and is extremely careful about her political capital.

“Political capital” – yes, you read that correctly.

Political capital is critical, and this concept was taught to me by a Director, named Neil Prater. With more value than street cred, political capital can be earned and burned. Like real money, political capital is earned from others. Time and consistency earns her this currency, and over time she becomes wealthy through popular demand. Don’t be fooled – just as money is earned and lost, so is political capital. It can be lost, and it can feel like the biggest recession of your life. Women who have political capital draw people towards them. Some want what she can provide – stability, a good salary, and popularity. Others flock to her because they believe she has a message they can get behind. Some need her for protection. Some need her power.

No woman has ever earned political capital from dressing a certain way or from being nice or from popularity. She earns it from consistency and respect and she may not be the most liked or popular. She tells it as it is without alienating others.

There is an art to quiet confidence, and it is never prettier than when it is worn by a woman.She would never dream of competing with other women, because she knows that will blow back on her and her political currency will diminish; plus, men hate that sort of behavior. She is invited to a seat at the table and continues to earn that right, never taking it for granted. She attends and sometimes even orchestrates the meeting before the meeting.

If she must make an unfavorable call and side against the popular vote in the office, she is willing to burn some of the political capital.  She is not a “yes (wo)man,” which is another reason why she is so respected at work.

If she is the only female in a position of power and is surrounded by men, she knows she needs to get into the boy’s club immediately.  She is wise. She knows there is no beating them, there is only joining them.

The three words that sum up this woman are: consistent (emotionally), trusted, and competent.

Are you?

If you think you fall short in the confidence department, don’t worry, many of us do.

In my coaching practice, clients ask me to specifically teach them how to be confident. I can’t do that. All confidence comes from within. You’ll have to wrestle with your own thoughts, break them down, see where they came from, and throw the limiting thoughts out. Once you feel even a little bit confident, you’ll trust yourself. Once you trust yourself to bail yourself out of situations, the confidence will grow.

Below are some exercises you can try to build confidence. Try them for a week and see what happens next.  

Exercise # 1

Stay away from media or limit cyber time. This includes TV, Facebook, and other social platforms. Get your face out of your phone. Go on a media diet for a short period of time. The media has dozens of messages in an hour that color a woman in an unfavorable light. Over time, this affects our perception. You wouldn’t drink poison, so why would you spend 15 hours a week a week watching TV or surfing the net?  Mind your mind. See what’s up there.

Exercise #2

Cultivate the disposition to do the things you hate doing. For example, if you hate drinking water and prefer drinking Diet Coke, drink water. While that seems small, it’s the smallest things we resist doing that sabotage ourselves. Cultivate not caring what you like or don’t like. Just do the right thing, repeatedly. If that is too big of a stretch, just notice how many times in one single hour you find you don’t “like” something. Doing this will squash fear inside you, diminishes ego (thinking “I” and “Mine”), and builds discipline. Over time you are poised. You know why? You begin to trust yourself.

Exercise #3

Look at what you tell yourself. The most important habit a person can get into is watching their thoughts. Thoughts are not real. They are nothing unless you attach something to them and own them.  Try it. When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thought in your head? Pay attention. This is where the root of insecurity lies – in your mind.

Exercise #4

Don’t gather more information. Do something. I had a female client who would sit in session with me, go home and read stuff online, talk to her friends, and then come back to me and ask me if what we were doing was right, because she took in so much information. It made no sense to me. She paid for a professional to guide her, and now she is clouding her mind. Stick to the program, I told her. Many of us read volumes of self-help books but fail to implement one small concept. Implementation is the key. Not gathering more opinions.

And finally…

Let it go. Whatever your ex-husband, boyfriend, father, or boss told you that really hurt you deep inside is nothing but a festering pack of lies. Believing what everyone said about you starts a victim mentality mindset. Victims run from situation to situation to validate that they are…what? Victims!

Let go of every false belief you’ve ever had about yourself.

 

 


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Elizabeth Lions
Elizabeth Lions |Dallas, TX
Elizabeth Lions is a three-time author with the expertise in career counselling and leadership development. Her latest read, “Hear Us Roar – Unapologetic Women Leading In Corporate America” made a splash in 2016. Elizabeth’s coaching specifically addresses women’s confusion around...Read More
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