Wednesday, 17 April 2019

How to be brave at work and face your fears

There’s a saying that goes: why fit in, when you were born to stand out! However, many of us have a deep-rooted fear of failure or criticism in the workplace, which means we are more than happy to stay beneath the radar and remain unnoticed. While this may work for a time, there are occasions at work – when negotiating pay rises or promotions, for example – that we have to stand up and be counted.

It’s not uncommon to have sleepless nights at the thought of having to give a presentation in front of a crowd or when faced with the prospect of being more assertive with a colleague to resolve an issue. But in order to move forward it’s absolutely necessary to overcome our fears and step outside of our comfort zone for time to time.

Fortunately, there are strategies that you can practise to build your confidence and give you the courage you need to be brave and assert your ideas.

What’s the worst that would happen?

The moment you choose to overthink and imagine outcomes of a situation, you fill yourself with fear. Let’s face it, you’re unlikely to lose your job just because you’ve expressed a well-thought out idea or asked for a pay rise. So sometimes, it really does help to think about what the worst outcome would really be – and it’s never as bad as your initial emotional reaction. When you approach any situation from a calm, logical perspective, you’ll realise the outcome is usually much more positive than you imagine. Practise this and you could save yourself days of stress in the process.

Building confidence

In order to be brave at work, you need to build confidence and have self-belief that your ideas are worthy and that your opinions matter. Begin by expressing your thoughts clearly and make sure you back up your views with research – people can’t argue with facts! Practise the conversations in your head – or engage your friends and family members in some role play exercises. Remember, not everyone is going to agree with you all the time, but everyone brings a unique perspective to their work, so chances are your opinion might address something that others hadn’t even considered.

Attitude is everything

Our automatic reaction to addressing a colleague who doesn’t agree with our opinions is usually to become defensive. We take criticism personally, when it’s usually not intended to be. The best response is to give people the opportunity to address their issues with you personally and answer them as best as you can – calmly. Remember, it’s about working as a team for the best interests of the company. Defend your views confidently but be willing to listen to others’ views at the same time. No-one gets it right all the time. One of the best ways to overcome your fears is by accepting constructive criticism. Sometimes, it can be a hard pill to swallow but it’s a great way of increasing your confidence. When we accept our own flaws and mistakes, we learn how to improve ourselves and will find that people will begin to respect us more as a result.

For some more tips on how to build confidence, read one of our previous blog posts here.

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