On the job, Clark Kent was timid and unassuming, certainly not someone thought of as a model of swagger. It was only when he left the newsroom, shed his glasses and donned his tights and cape that he morphed into Superman and moved with confidence.
The lesson here? Don't act like Clark Kent at work.
Super powers aside, you can learn how to showcase your best self in the workspace and let your coworkers and managers recognize your contributions even if they fall short of saving the world.
First, you need to believe in your skills, knowledge and expertise. Stop investing in self-doubt. Back away from indecisiveness and walk into the light of positive thinking. Your belief in your ability to succeed is the first step toward self-assurance.
The good news? You can nurture and build this over time. For women, this is especially important as studies show a confidence gap exists between women and men.
Women tend to underestimate their performance while men overestimate their abilities and subsequent performance. The bottom line? The actual performances were consistent and did not differ in quality, according to multiple studies. Talent is not just about competence. Confidence matters if you want to excel.
Ready to work on developing your confidence to change your prospects in the workplace?
11 ways to find your inner confidence and get the respect you deserve
Here are 11 ways to boost your belief in yourself on the job and get the respect, raise, evaluation or promotion you covet:
1. Reframe your attitude. Focus on positive self-talk. Build your confidence one day at a time. How you think is a choice. A Hewlett Packard internal report found men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications. Women apply only if they meet 100 percent of them.
2. Tackle a new challenge. Whether you seek a new role or want to be viewed differently, stepping outside your comfort zone can be unsettling. To keep from being overwhelmed and feeling even more nervous, create checkpoints leading up to your goal or new project deadline for a sense of control.
3. Eliminate comparisons. Being comfortable in your own skin will keep you from looking at someone else’s life and feeling envious or superior.
4. Focus on progress, not perfection. Placing too much emphasis on executing a flawless plan or delivering an exemplary speech lead to unrealistic goals that could fill you with such anxiety you may decide not to do anything at all.
5. Speak up. Presenting your opinions, ideas and vision is the only way others will know what you believe in or what you’re capable of. If you have trouble speaking in front of others, there are organizations you can join to practice, such as Toastmasters.
6. Toot your own horn. This is easier to do when you know you’ve done a good job. Consider it an act of self-respect to highlight your successes even if the thought makes you sweat.
7. Review past accomplishments. Doing so reminds you of your capabilities and lessons learned from performing well. Knowing you’ve delivered results before will help boost your confidence about doing future tasks.
8. Ditch the mask. Know who you are and what you want. Be authentic while facing your fears and taking action. When you know yourself and the direction you’re headed, what others say about you will have less of an impact.
9. Ignore the naysayers. Best believe your your positive demeanor will attract “nattering nabobs of negativism,” a phrase coined by former Vice President Spiro Agnew. Your change will make others uncomfortable. That’s life.
10. Champion others. Your confidence is on display when you celebrate the talent and wins of your coworkers. So cheer on your colleagues as well as competitors.
11. Take action. Doing so will help you stretch and grow as you gain experiences. If you do make a mistake, note the lessons learned and the skills needed to succeed. Consider this: every setback can strengthen you and increase your chances of success. Courage and action go hand-in-hand. When you believe you can succeed, you are more likely to take action.
Don’t overlook the power of confidence. A lack of faith in yourself can be like Kryptonite, sapping your career of its ability to take off. Shed self-doubt and view each workday as an opportunity to show your best self. Don’t wait until that phone booth changeover to shine.