How to Feel More Confident at Work

The recession rocked the foundations of businesses large and small and the biggest casualties were the legions of laid-off workers. But there was a hidden cost to those who managed to hang on to their jobs: many experienced a direct hit to confidence in their career. How can they build it back?

Researchers at Harvard and Columbia universities have a simple suggestion: change your posture. It turns out that men and women who sit with arms open and feet up on a desk experience a boost in testosterone which is associated with dominance, competition, and winning. Sitting hunched over with arms crossed, on the other hand, sends the stress hormone cortisol soaring.

It’s a helpful suggestion to keep in mind. But, for those of you who can’t spend your work days kicking back, we’ve asked career experts to share some more confidence boosters that inspire success.

Make a List

Antoine Lane, peak performance specialist at Training Lanes, recommends writing down some of your most recent significant achievements along with an explanation of why they were important. Post that list in a very visible place. Reminding yourself about your previous challenges and accomplishments builds self confidence and offers a quick, detailed reference as to exactly why you were successful, he explains.

Dress the Part

Lane suggests reevaluating the way you dress. If you're strapped for cash, upgrade your footwear or get a new, professional haircut or style. This is a way to manifest the change taking place internally, Lane says.

Surround Yourself with Positives

Tim Sanders, NYT bestselling author of Today We Are Rich, cautions, “Don't hang out with malcontents, also-rans or poor performers.” By reading positive market and industry information and surrounding yourself with successful people you will improve your knowledge base, your vision of the market, and boost your skill set.

Keep Your Thinking Upbeat

Ronald Kaufman, author of Anatomy of Success, says to make sure your internal dialogue about yourself and others is positive by assuming whatever you say in your mind is being heard out loud. “Never use self-deprecating comments that may get a laugh,” he says as that ultimately diminishes you in the eyes of others.

Be Proactive

Kathryn Minshew, co-founder of career education group Pretty Young Professional, recommends finding out what tasks are falling through the cracks at work, and either complete them or ask for permission to do so. “Taking the initiative will build your confidence and show you’re ready for further responsibility,” she notes.

Find Out What It Takes

Mike Bruny, a certified life coach, suggests if you want a raise or a promotion, find out what it takes to get there. “Sometimes it's as clear cut as knowing the expectations and exceeding them,” he points out. It may take learning what is important to your boss so you can work on those things first. Bruny says this gives you the confidence of clarity and allows you to be less afraid to make mistakes.

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