Career Confidence: Why It Matters (And How to Obtain It)

Career Confidence

People often think its competence makes for a successful career – if you’re good at what you do, you’ll be rewarded with greater opportunities. While competence is certainly vital, there’s another C-word that’s just as important: confidence. 

Talent won’t get you far if you don’t trust yourself to use it. Ultimately, you’ll only ever be as good as your self-confidence says you can be. Tell yourself you’re bound to fail, and you’ll never exceed your expectations. Remind yourself daily why you deserve to achieve your goals, and there’s nothing stopping you from reaching your full potential.

Understanding the importance of career confidence is easy – actually developing it, not so much. Doubting yourself comes naturally, while believing in your abilities requires hard work. Luckily, there are strategies you can employ to make a habit of self-encouragement. Once you apply these key confidence-building techniques, you’ll be well on your way toward a more productive, satisfying career. 

Why a Confidence Boost Could Reinvigorate Your Career

Research has shown that self-confident people will earn $28,000 more per year than their less-confident counterparts. This might seem like an impossible statistic, but it starts to make sense when you consider all the little ways that insecurity can impede your progress.

Maybe you’re exceptionally gifted but you never had any advanced training, and your lack of credentials makes you pass up on career advancement opportunities. Perhaps you’ve struggled with overthinking, coming up with all sorts of reasons that an ambitious plan could go wrong. Whatever your personal struggles, you’ve probably noticed areas where a lack of career confidence is holding you back. 

When you bury those insecurities and become your own biggest fan, you can push yourself into more advantageous positions. Instead of doubting your ability to complete a new type of project, you’ll remind yourself that you’re talented enough to figure it out. Rather than accept your inherent weaknesses as fatal flaws, you’ll look for ways to capitalize on your strengths. Eventually, these powerful mental habits will pay off in the form of higher earnings and increased opportunities. 

How To Develop The Career Confidence You Need

Career confidence doesn’t build itself. You need to make a conscious effort to cultivate confidence through a series of best practices. By employing these strategies with conviction, you can lay the groundwork for a better career. 

Acquire New Skills

Skills might not translate directly to confidence, but they can definitely help you feel self-assured in the workplace. Not only will the new abilities themselves make you a better, more confident worker, but the educational process will reinforce your sense of self-worth. Confident people recognize their ability to adapt. When you learn new skills, you remind yourself that you’re always capable of growing as a person. 

Push Beyond Your Current Boundaries

Nothing will stunt your career more than a fear of leaving your comfort zone. You’ll never find an opportunity that perfectly matches your skill set and preferences. Every step forward involves an element of risk, and you’ll have to try new things if you want to get ahead. Pushing your boundaries might be uncomfortable at first, but it helps you build both resilience and self-belief. When you take a new job in a different industry or accept a promotion that tests your skills, you show yourself just how much you’re capable of. 

Find a Mentor

Most people tend to be their own worst critics. Sometimes, all it takes is an outside opinion to make you see how harshly you’ve been treating yourself. Look for people at your workplace or beyond who seem willing to take an interest in your career. Then, cultivate a relationship built on honesty and mutual trust. The expert advice will help you feel more assured in your decisions, and the occasional pep talk – filled with reminders that “you can do it!” – will help you overcome self-doubt. 

Face Challenges Head-On

Self-confidence is often at its lowest in the midst of a procrastination-fueled crisis. When you’ve got some major problem or herculean task looming, it’s only natural that your mind starts to exaggerate the difficulties before you. There’s a reason NFL teams call timeout before the opponent takes a big kick – that extra waiting period creates more time for paralyzing doubts to settle in. The next time you have a challenge before you, don’t “ice” yourself by letting it sit. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish – and the sooner you’ll realize that you were capable all along.

About the Author: Ben Clabault is a freelance writer from Sandwich, Massachusetts. He has spent much of his adult life traveling through Latin America. He currently lives with his fiance in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. His areas of expertise include travel, marketing, SaaS, and global cultures. You can find his work on Copyfolio and reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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