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Building confidence to improve performance at work

Do you identity with any of the following behaviors at work, which can be indicative of lack of confidence and which may undermine your performance ?

– always play it safe : avoid exposing yourself to being seen as ‘wrong’
– avoid confrontation : dodge issues if you feel that to do otherwise will lead to conflict
– avoid certain situations : presenting to groups, client meetings, networking
– doubt your judgement : immediately change your mind when challenged
– stubborn: refusal to change a point of view once publicly expressed
– control focused : difficulty delegating to others
– perfectionism : ‘should’s’, ‘must’s’,  ‘aught to’s’ and impossible standards
– indecisive : delay or avoid making decisions
– blaming others : difficulty taking responsibility for actions
– discount the positive : difficulty accepting praise or acknowledging achievements
– make distorted assumptions : mind reading, predictions, magnification of problems

Behind each of the above behaviors is a core belief, probably unconscious, which drives auto responses to situations. If you can identify this belief and challenge/change it you can immediately enhance you confidence. The following are examples of some of the beliefs that might be behind the above behaviors :

‘I am a loser’
‘people don’t like me’
‘I am no good at…….’
‘It is never my fault’
‘Conflict should be avoided at all costs ‘
‘I must understand everything before I decide’
‘I have to get it right all the time’
‘I will be a failure if I make a mistake’
‘People will dislike me if I challenge them’
‘I must be liked by everyone’
‘Everybody is out to get me’
‘I can’t trust anyone to help me’
‘My contribution makes no difference’
‘My opinion counts for nothing’

See if you identify with any of the above beliefs. Then look for evidence as to why these generalizations/assumptions might NOT be true. You will find it, and this will help you to begin changing beliefs that are ‘getting in your way’.

Beliefs that served you well earlier in your career might not be helping you now. For example, if you were in a technical role which demanded very high standards of accuracy then a belief that ‘ I must get it right all the time’  might have gained you early promotions but will work against you now as you move up the management ladder and decisions have to be made based on limited information. This is a reason why some people who were previously confident in their work suddenly feel stressed, fearful and unsure of themselves and experience performance issues, possibly for the first time.

Remember that it is typically not a particular situation which causes us difficulty but the meaning we attribute to it and we can change that ‘meaning’. You will have observed how different people react in very different ways to the same situation.

As what needs ‘fixing’ is often far from obvious it can be useful to work with a career coach to explore what beliefs are behind your emotional responses and behaviors.

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