Five things can destroy your self-confidence as a professional and negatively impact your career. You need to be self-confident to get the promotion you want and to achieve career advancement. However, if you lack self-confidence then, it becomes harder to attain success. In this article, I will enumerate the five causes of low self-confidence often experienced by professionals at work so you can identify them and overcome them.
What Self Confidence is and Why it's Important
Self -Confidence is a belief in yourself and in your abilities to succeed, so if you are skilled, competent, and knowledgeable, you shouldn't doubt it. If you are self-confident, you will get noticed quickly as an expert in your field. Therefore, a lack of self-confidence means that you are unable to demonstrate your skills and expertise as a professional. It also means that you will miss out on many career-advancing opportunities such as promotions, project leads or better job positions.
Root Cause of Low Self-Confidence
Most of the time, the root of low self-confidence is yourself! If you know you are capable, you believe you are competent, and you demonstrate confidence, it is hard for another person to make you feel less.
So don't fault someone else if you have low self-confidence as a professional.
Yes, some people may call into question what you do, but it won't affect how you feel about your abilities as a professional. If you find that people doubt you even though you are confident, then you need to take a look at your branding and delivery.
Recommended Reading: How To Improve Your Personal Brand.
5 Causes of Low Self-confidence
1. Negative Thinking
Everything starts with a thought. You become what you think. If you always think you are not good enough then, you will never be confident! That's an example of negative thinking. If you think you can never get a job or a promotion, even though you are qualified, that's negative thinking. You are gradually destroying your self-confidence with all these thoughts. As a man thinks, so is he.
There is a difference between self-appraisal with the plan to get some training or education to address deficiencies and negative thinking where you dwell on thoughts of not being good enough.
2. Self Deprecating Talk
When you diminish what you do as professional, you are taking shots at your self-confidence. If every time you speak in a professional setting where your expertise is required, and you say you are not that great, you are diminishing your worth and value. If you are saying you are not great, others will pick up on that kind of talk and speak it back to you. So you have you and others telling you how you are not great, that's bound to make you feel less than confident.
C.S. Lewis said humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it's thinking of yourself less. Don't confuse humility with self-deprecation. Stop talking down your expertise, stop minimizing your capabilities and stop undervaluing your accomplishments. If you don't demonstrate that you are an expert, which includes how your speak, no one will see you as one!
3. Personalizing Criticism
Do not personalize rejection or criticism, even when the critic is hard and painful. There will be times you under deliver or you fail to put into consideration other views. Don't take that as a personal ding on your abilities. It means you need to regroup and do it better. At other times, you may over deliver and still get criticised. It does not translate to you personally or your abilities as a professional.
Whichever the case, do not take it personally. Do not allow the negative feedback affect your self-confidence. To be successful, you need to be thick skinned as well as logical in your reasoning.
People get criticised all the time, some rightly and other not so much, but you must learn to deal with criticism and move on. Even the most successful people in the world don't always get it right, so don't beat yourself too hard if you miss the mark. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Ruminating is repeatedly going over what you didn't get right or of situations you didn't like. For example, you continuously think of the way your boss spoke to you harshly about your proposal in a meeting.
Rumination is taking thinking to another dimension. Thinking is necessary for problem-solving but ruminating is focused on the problem and not on finding the solution. Jaime Kulaga wrote in an article for Forbes, that when you ruminate on your poor decisions or setbacks consistently, you decrease your confidence.
Stop ruminating and start problem solving!
If you are aiming for perfection, you are bound to be disappointed. There is a difference between being your best or doing the best you can and striving for perfection.
If you are always striving for perfection, you will be hard on yourself and, you will not appreciate the good you are doing. Or in extreme cases, nothing you do is good enough. Nothing kills your self-confidence other than thinking you are not good enough.
As the saying goes, perfection is the enemy of the good. Have you ever met a perfect person? Only God is perfect and since you are not God, don't try to act like one!
The real question for you is, are you self-sabotaging yourself by any of the habits mentioned above? Sometimes without knowing, you begin to fall into habits that destroy your self-confidence. If you struggle with low self-confidence, do a self-assessment and root out the causes.
It is possible that you are in an environment that you deem hostile. However, you need to learn to deal with it with a positive mindset. You want to grow through your experiences and not just go through it.
Changing your mindset can change the environment you work in because you no longer see yourself as a victim but as a professional.The professional who believes in himself or herself and in his or her ability to succeed no matter the challenges or criticism. That's self-confidence!