Confidence is an important ingredient for success. You have to believe in yourself and your ideas in order to get others to believe in you, too. But when you're just starting out or you're in a new and unfamiliar situation, it can be hard to feel self-assured.
"Creating confidence happens in a cycle and it requires intentional action," says Marni Battista, CEO of Dating with Dignity, a Los Angeles-based dating coach. "You can't think your way out of your fears, or you would have already been successful."
To create confidence you need to identify the core message or belief that contributes to your hesitation, says Battista. "Is it that you aren't smart enough? Too old? It's an old boys network and you just don't feel respected?" she asks. "Whatever it is, get clear on it."
Ask yourself the following three questions:
1. Where did I learn this? Trace it back and identify how the belief came to be. Sometimes beliefs come from comments or events that happen when we're children.
"Often we realize the context of where we learned it is dramatically different from the professional situation we are in, and that we are different from the person now than in the original situation," says Battista.
2. How true is it really? "When we ask ourselves this question, we find that our belief is not rooted in fact," she says. "It's merely a false assumption of a certain truth. It's our truth; not universally true."
3. What is the unconscious gain? If you're holding on to the belief, often it's because there is a root gain that keeps you safe, says Battista. A lack of confidence can stop you from taking risks, which helps us avoid failure.
Then Take Action
Once you identify the root of your fears, Battista says you have to act on it. Ask yourself what could be your new belief if you let go of the old one? Who would you become?
"Everything -- from our thoughts to our body language and appearance -- can reflect the new belief of being powerful and effective at work," says Battista. "Once you make a small change, acknowledge it by expressing it either in writing or verbally. Then, set a new goal and take action to achieve it using the same process."
Confidence can also come from the relationships you build at work. "When you are in a meeting, seek out the person in the room who can support you most in your professional goals," says Battista. "Then, make an effort to connect with them on a personal level."
Build rapport by using eye contact and by being genuinely interested in who they are as a person. Strive to create a win-win relationship.
"Relationships at work that are mutually beneficial will support you in moving forward in the most enjoyable and fastest way possible in your career," she says.
Stepping into a place of confidence takes time and willingness to stretch, says Battista. "Don't let fear get in the way of your biggest dream," she says. "Even if your biggest dream is your biggest fear."