When you feel confident, the people you interact with in your career are more likely to reward you with the things you want, whether it’s a job or a promotion or a raise or a parking space closer to the front door. This is potentially pretty unfair, of course, since anyone who’s worked with other humans for more than a day knows that confidence isn’t always an indicator of competence. So what can you do, if you’re deserving, but underappreciated — and not burdened with an excess of self-regard? Game the system, and fake it until you make it.
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1. Strong body language.
Your mom was right: body language, including posture, eye contact, and whether or not you smile, can make a big difference in terms of how you’re perceived. Stand tall, throw your shoulders back, and act like someone who belongs at the table, and you’ll be perceived as a person of importance.
Stop beating yourself up for your mistakes. Confident people consider their errors, make changes, and let it go. You can’t move on if you’re constantly bogged down in the past. Plus, people who feel guilty all the time tend to over-apologize, and there’s no faster way to seeming weak at work.
Rejecting shame doesn’t pointing the finger at other people, however.
“Confident people accept responsibility for their lives, their decisions, and their behaviors,” writes executive coach Marcie Buxton at LinkedIn. “This means they understand that when it’s all said and done, they are responsible for the choices they have made and the life they have led.”
4. Willingness to stretch.
Train yourself to stop saying “I don’t know how” and start saying “I can learn it.” The only way to build a career that continues to challenge you is to keep learning new skills and growing into new positions. Don’t be afraid to push yourself a little in order to get to the next big thing.
5. Ability to ask for help.
Sometimes, the best way to show that you believe in yourself is to admit it when you need something. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when you don’t fully understand, or to recruit helping hands on a project that’s too much for one person to handle. Confident people don’t worry that needing help means being weak.
The best part about faking confidence? If you fake it till you make it long enough, it stops being fake. Eventually, you’ll create habits and behaviors that encourage you to develop real confidence, and all the good things that go with it.
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