Glassdoor is proud to partner with the incredible storytelling organization The Moth to bring you stories of work, self, and perseverance. The following is one of the stories we will share over the next few weeks that we hope will inspire you to know your worth and reach for what you deserve.
“You’re not a professional,” is the phrase Rhonda Williams kept hearing over and over again while working with a director on an institutional video used for corporate compliance training. But here’s the thing, Rhonda was the one in charge.
Rhonda is a communications manager in the financial services industry, and she was the one who commissioned the project. She had a track record for delivering these kinds of films on time and under budget. So when the opportunity came to save some money by substituting herself for professional voice-over talent, she thought, “Why not?”
The video’s director continued to allude to Rhonda’s lack of voice-over experience throughout the recording session. But she went ahead with her decision to bet on herself and wound up giving the director, “a big old cup of shut up.”
Unfortunately, Rhonda’s experience isn’t a unique one. People in the workplace will make assumptions and snap judgments about your capabilities. But rather than cowering to their doubt, do as Rhonda did and counter with confidence.
Make confidence a daily practice
Confidence is a skill that can be learned, you may just be out of practice. In which case, leadership coach and talent consultant Ann Howell advises that you start small.
“Confidence is not about being brash, argumentative, aggressive or apologetic,” she wrote in Harvard Business Review. “It’s also not about changing into an entirely new person. Instead, it’s about asserting yourself in a way that feels comfortable to you.”
Simply put: Know your strengths, and play to them. You might be a master of diplomacy, a terrific one-on-one mentor, or have a knack for public speaking. Everyone has something special to offer. Start small by making a list of your specific talents and then finding safe opportunities to display those skills in your everyday working life.
Assume the best
With a little practice, anyone can cultivate a sense of optimism. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Positive thinking doesn’t mean you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.”
Rhonda didn’t allow the director’s perception of her to affect the outcome of her project or slow down productivity. Instead, she met the director’s uncertainty with trust in herself while also encouraging the rest of the team to continue with the work.
When you believe that you have the chops to deliver, you can assume the best.
Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk
Maintaining a healthy internal dialogue with yourself can reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and even increase your overall lifespan, according to Shannon Waters, Ph.D., Vice President of Alliance Solutions at BetterUp.
If you find that you are prone to criticizing yourself or frequently ruminating on past mistakes, it’s a good time to add positive self-talk to your confidence-building practice. Here are a few methods:
- Show compassion for yourself: Forgive yourself for past mistakes and do your best to learn from the experience rather than dwell on it.
- Challenge negative thoughts: Humans have a tendency to catastrophize events after the fact. Temper critical thoughts with more rational ones. What would you say to a friend at that moment?
- Say nice things about yourself, to yourself: Affirmations can seem hokey, but talking yourself up is a great way to turn self-critical thoughts around.
Cracking your own confidence code might take some time and a little trial and error. But with practice, you, like Rhonda, could be serving up heaping (polite) cups of “shut up” to anyone who doubts you.