Wednesday 17 June 2020

How to grow your self esteem and start taking risks at work

Some might consider this a bit of a ‘chicken and the egg’ scenario. Which comes first? Do we grow our self esteem prior to taking risks or do we take risks to grow our self esteem? Well, if the truth be known, a little bit of both can work wonders.

I hear you saying “I’m too scared. What if it all goes wrong.” But you’ll never know what is possible until you do take risks. But, okay, let’s work on improving your confidence first.

For whatever reason, many people lack self esteem and this can act as a huge barrier when trying to progress in all areas of our lives, including work. When we lack self confidence, it can leave us with negative emotions, which can influence the path we map out for ourselves in life. Too often we opt for the easiest or simplest route as we are too afraid of failure, anxiety, and stressful situations, but does that make us truly happy? A recent study undertaken by My Confidence Matters revealed that women are affected most by the lack of confidence and it is holding them back from moving forward in their jobs.

Sometimes we lack self esteem because of past relationships, and how people have treated us in our past can have a huge effect on how we treat ourselves. Just remember that whatever other people tell you or say to you isn’t always the truth, so you shouldn’t let it dictate how you see yourself.

5 tips for improving self confidence

1. Be kind to yourself. You know that you have positive qualities and skills, they just seem to go unnoticed. Remind yourself every day – write things down or just say them to yourself – about everything you like about yourself. It might seem difficult to begin with but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll start to find more and more things that you love. Don’t forget that when you run yourself down, your body and mood are negatively affected and likewise when you recall all your good points, your body and your mood improve.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Remember that everyone is different and has their own unique traits, qualities, and skills. Not everything is always as it seems – some people are just much better at ‘bigging’ themselves up than others. This doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone how great you are but if you believe in yourself, then this will show in your demeanour and attitude and you’ll find that people will start to think differently about you when they see that you feel confident about yourself.

3. Surround yourself with people who boost your self esteem rather than knock it down. If you don’t already have friends or family who you can rely on, try to find a new support network. Mind has lots of peer support and Elefriends is an online community where you can meet like-minded people wanting to support each other.

4. Set yourself challenges.  Challenges will help you take steps towards growing your self esteem. For example, learn a new skill such as a language, take up a sport or do something creative and you’ll see just how amazing it feels to achieve something, no matter how small.

5. Set yourself some work goals. Make a list of all the things you’d like to achieve at work, prioritise them, and then break them down into smaller goals. If you’d like to go for a promotion at work, what steps could you take to achieving your goal?
  • Show initiative by taking on a small task without checking in with your manager first. Most bosses like to see an employee using their initiative.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills by perhaps asking a colleague to undertake a part of your project that you feel their skillset would be better suited to.
  • Speak up in meetings. Don’t be afraid to offer your opinions and accept that not everyone will agree with what you have to say but it doesn’t matter so long as they give your thoughts some consideration.
  • Is there something in the company that you feel could be done better? If so, why not address it and offer a solution to the problem. Problem solvers are often looked upon favourably.

Once you start taking small steps, the more your self esteem will begin to grow and you’ll become less afraid to take risks. Remember, not everything will always go your way or work out how you want it to but it’s having the confidence to do it anyway and not letting the outcome affect who you are that’s important.