With many young professionals entering the workforce this spring, competition for positions is fierce but there’s one trait that will set any new-grad apart from the pack: Confidence. Lea McLeod of TheSaavyIntern shares some tips on confidence for young professionals below.
Young Professionals: 5 Tips to Early Career Self-confidence
The other day a friend was telling me about a recent grad nicely settled in a lovely duplex in a big east coast city. Her parents were going on about how successfully she had landed a job, and was now fully launched as she ramped up her career.
It looked like this gal had it all and was well on her way. Gosh, she made it look easy!
I thought, wow, there are a bunch of 20-somethings out there holding temp jobs, living with parents and going on interviews who would look at her and think, “Why can’t I make that happen? What’s wrong with me?” Can you relate?
If you can, you probably think you’re the only one. But let me assure you, you’re not. We’re all susceptible to crises of self-confidence that can arise for any number of reasons. They can happen at home, at work, in relationships — in all parts of our lives.
Self-confidence is your belief in your ability to do something.
Right now that “something” might be: start your career, perform like a shining star in the job, find “the” relationship, or live independently. When our progress towards these things falters, we can start thinking we’re a failure. Our self-confidence erodes.
The good news is that what you believe about yourself, and your abilities, is wholly within your control. When you’re in a self-confidence slump, you can change that. Just get into action to get back on track.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
There’s a phrase that’s been floating around for a while in this regard: “compare and despair.” That nails it. When you compare yourself to others you tend to focus on the ways in which you are disadvantaged. Then you feel badly about yourself, and give others too much credit.
You can never tell just by looking at someone, what they’ve been through to get where they are, or how tenuously they are holding on to it. This is a bad habit at any time in your life. Learn to overcome it now.
Kill Your Negative Thinking
Someone once said, “There is a tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be.” When you think negative thoughts, your nervous system doesn’t know if the scenarios you dwell upon are real or imagined. So your negative thoughts can create a physical reality. In the same way that you can make yourself sick with your negative thoughts, you can improve your life, and your destiny, by embracing positive thoughts.
Create 10 positive thoughts that target your self–confidence issues. Write them, say them, repeat them and shift your energy away from your self-doubt.
Focus on the Gifts You Have
Ok so maybe you are not in the job or relationship of your dreams. But you’ve got other good things going for you.
You have a degree; you’ve got skills and abilities that make you unique. You have friends, family, strengths, experiences, health; whatever. Focus on these things.
Make a gratitude list, every day.
Do something to inspire and uplift you: a class, a networking meeting or a volunteer gig. Work out, start an art project or organize your workspace. Set some goals for simple, doable things (like making conversation with strangers in the latte line) or try something totally new.
Direct your energy into positive, constructive actions that will give you “small wins” to help change your thinking.
Connect with Others
I used to think it was best to isolate in times of crisis. But I learned that talking it through with others and spending time in the company of people who care for me is one of the greatest antidotes to self-doubt.
Reach out to meet with others who believe in you, who challenge you, who inspire your thinking. Often others see great qualities in us that we cannot. Find an inspiring few and find out what they see in you.