“If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

Sam Walton

Self-confidence is one of the most important qualities to have in every aspect of our lives. Whether this is in a personal context or a professional one, belief in oneself is often the difference between success and failure. Yet so many people struggle to find that confidence, and if that applies to you then don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The problem with self-belief, and self-confidence, is that there is no ‘one fits all’ solution. Being able to develop confidence in yourself can depend on a number of factors. It all depends on what motivates you, what makes you happy, who you look up to, your personal experience and a variety of other factors. What is certain is that self-belief is essential when it comes to success in anything we do in life.
One of the most important areas where self-belief plays a role is in our professional lives. There are various aspects where believing in yourself can play a part during your career. To start, let’s take the case of an increasingly large group: the recently unemployed.
Often, when someone loses their job, their confidence goes with it. Of course it’s normal to be disappointed, but the problem lies in the belief that losing your job is a direct indication of your value (or lack of value) as a professional. Getting fired or being let go then creates the illusion that every success you have ever achieved is cancelled out, but that is totally untrue. Just because you’ve lost your job it doesn’t mean that that’s the end of the line. And even though deep down the job seeker knows that, the loss of confidence provides an obstacle large enough to block them from seeing it and believing it.
After all, a lack of confidence can be the largest obstacle for job seekers. If you lack the confidence to believe in yourself then the likelihood is, it shows. Candidates like this tend to ‘forget’ their past accomplishments and concentrate much more attention than others on their limitations. And often this occurs sub-consciously, so they don’t even know they’re doing it. But as you can imagine, a candidate who focuses on negatives rather than positives is unlikely to succeed. If you can’t get excited about your former achievements or show interest in your work experience, then how do you expect the employer to? Resolving these self doubts is essential.
But how do you do that?
Well, the chances are you have had some success in your life. You’ve achieved things and you’ve felt confident. The key is remembering this. I know this sounds simple, but in all honesty, it is. Review your past and focus on the times you’ve been successful. You can even practice talking about it. Even though that too may sound simple, a lot of people have difficulty talking about their accomplishments, so try to get used to it! Try talking to former co-workers who can relate and acknowledge your qualities. One of the worst things you can do if you lose your job is to feel embarrassed and withdraw from professional relationships – so don’t do that! Everyone understands the importance of networking, and you never know – one of your former co-workers may just be able to help you out.
If you are someone who has lost their job, then make sure you don’t lose your confidence and self-belief with it. Ultimately it is very likely that if you don’t believe in yourself, it is very likely you will not find a job. In a professional context, if you don’t believe in yourself, then no one will. Everyone agrees that looking for a job is hard, especially in the current job market. It’s a stressful and often long-winded process. The key to success is self-belief.
The chances are that you will not succeed straight away. There will be obstacles and you will experience failure and, as I will go on to discuss, that doesn’t just apply to job seeking. The most important thing to do is to recognize failure as an opportunity to start again and do it better. In the case of a job seeker, you have to make sure not to take things personally and not to give up and stop trying. After all, if you don’t try, you cannot succeed.
‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall’.
But, as I said, it’s not just the job seeking community who require self-belief to succeed. If you are going to succeed in business, or in any other context, you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, the chances are you will miss out on opportunities and you will not get to where you want to be in your career and in your life. But how can you build your self-confidence?
Well, there is no one right way of learning how to believe in yourself, nor is there an easy way. However, whilst it is something which takes work, it is not something which you cannot achieve. It isn’t something which happens overnight and if you have had your confidence knocked in your life by teachers, employers or anybody else then it is a difficult habit to break. But with practice and commitment you can change your outlook on life, you can believe in yourself and you can achieve something great.
Here are 3 steps to help you on the road to building self-confidence:
1. Preparation
Think about what you’ve achieved in the past, what strengths you currently possess and where you want to go in the future. Where do your passions lie?
2. Set off
Build up your knowledge, set yourself some goals and manage yourself, accepting failures along the way. By giving yourself goals or targets you can gain a real sense of accomplishment when you reach them and therefore grow your confidence.
3. Strive for success
Your self confidence has gradually been growing, so now it’s time to stretch yourself more – set bigger goals, complete more challenging tasks and extend your skills. However, be careful not to become over-confident as this is just as undesirable a trait as a lack of confidence.
One of the keys to self-belief is happiness. You need to do things that make you happy and things that you can be proud of. Show passion in what you are doing and gain that sense of accomplishment when you complete something. Get rid of that frown and that negative attitude and actually smile. Life’s a lot more pleasant when you let yourself enjoy it. Don’t let the little things get you down and keep your head held high. It’s incredible the difference it makes when you can achieve self-belief and confidence. You will notice people treat you differently. If you believe in yourself others will believe in you, respect you and listen to you more. You’ll actually enjoy the work you are doing and finally, life will get better.
Even though I have included a 3 step process, in reality there is no ‘quick-fix’ solution. What’s important is that you know self-belief is achievable, and with it everything else becomes more achievable too. I’ll leave you with a last quote which you can say to yourself before you face any challenge, whether it is a job interview, a business target or a personal goal:
‘It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.’
Muhammad Ali

James Williams is Community Manager for TM International, a Paris-based recruitment agency specializing in the recruitment of bilingual Secretaries and Personal Assistants. With a background in e-marketing and social media management, James works with a ... (Read More)

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