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How to be more confident at work: Advice from personal experiences

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August 12, 2021

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Whether you just got hired into a new organization, recently earned a promotion or have been in the same role for 30 years, it is completely normal to feel unconfident in the work you are doing.

Trust me, I have been there before. After making simple mistakes or when joining a new team, it was difficult for me to break out of the cycle of negative thinking and let my positive, fearless personality shine through.

There are multiple things I focus on to be more confident at work and end my week on a positive note - whether that be not being nervous to ask questions, offering to help my coworkers or cutting out negative self-talk.

My advice on how to be more confident at work

1. Don't be nervous about asking questions.

No one expects you to know everything, which means it is completely OK to ask for help when you need it. I think most can agree that it’s easier to ask a question and get a task done accurately, than to have it done wrong and need to go back and fix the mistakes.

Often, you are not the only one on your team who is questioning what needs to be accomplished. Plus, asking clarifying questions can facilitate further discussions and help you and your team learn at the same time.

If you worried about asking the question incorrectly while on-the-spot, formulate it in your brain or write it down on paper ahead of time. This will ensure you ask the right question in order to get the information you need.

Asking questions and expanding your knowledge now will help you feel more confident when handling similar situations in the future.

2. Treat every day like a fresh start.

Mistakes happen. We all have the occasional bad day.

Use your mistakes as lessons to learn from and do better in the future. If you spend your time being afraid of messing up, your thoughts will be clouded, and you’ll increase your chances of making more errors.

To truly reset, you need to let mistakes go, leave them in the past and tell yourself you will do better next time. Simply put, you just need to move on.

3. Say hello to everyone you pass.

When I began my journey at Schneider, I noticed I walked around with my head down. I was afraid to network and meet new people.

Then, I received some life-changing advice when I was told to say hello to everyone I passed, and it’s crazy how something so minor has minimized my insecurities so much.

I challenge you to walk through the office with your head up and greet those who you pass. Have those uncomfortable exchanges in the break room with people you don’t know; you never know who you might have to work with in the future.

4. Eliminate negative talk.

Cut out the negative language about yourself and others, both the negative language that runs through your head and that you say out loud.

Encourage yourself and others to do better. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that,” start asking yourself, “What can I do to successfully accomplish that?” When others say they can’t do something, provide words of encouragement or even offer whatever assistance that you can.

Finding solutions to problems rather than hindering yourself and giving up will not only help you be more confident, but it will help you look more confident as well. And helping others boost their confidence will grow yours as well.

5. Walk away from your desk if needed.

It’s important to take breaks throughout your day. Get up and make some coffee, step outside, buy a snack, use the restroom – it’s very important to step away and recharge, even if it is only for five minutes.

You will find yourself frazzled and burnt out if you refuse to take breaks during your workday. I have found using my lunch break for walks has helped replenish my mental health, charged my brain for the second half of my workday, increased my mood, as well as, you guessed it, improved my confidence.

6. Offer help when others need it, but don't spread yourself too thin.

One way I increase my confidence in my work ethic is by volunteering to tackle projects and offering to help those on my team when they need support. It makes me feel as though I am positively contributing to my team’s success which ultimately boosts my confidence.

It is important to not overdo it and put too much on your plate, though. Don’t let your personal workload and tasks fall through the cracks in order to help those around you. Your responsibilities are your priority and assisting others must come second. Knowing how to prioritize your workload is a must.

By following these six pieces of advice, I am certain you will find yourself like me – not only more confident in yourself at work, but more confident in yourself in your day-to-day life.

In need of more workplace insight?

Get more office-related advice, including tips on how to ask for more responsibility at work, how to better prioritize your workload and how to be a better communicator.

About the author
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Tara is graduate of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay who started at Schneider in 2019 as a Customer Service intern. She is currently a Senior Corporate Recruiting Specialist who primarily hires diesel technicians to keep Schneider trucks moving effectively. In her free time, Tara loves spending time with family and friends, singing, painting and four-wheeling.

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