Self-doubt can be a major obstacle in the workplace, particularly for women in a male-dominated environment. In order to get ahead, it is essential to exude confidence and to silence those nagging feelings of inadequacy that can plague us. Jennifer Webb, a motivational speaker, coach and author of four books, offered advice for banishing feelings of negativity and displaying confidence.
The U.S.-based founder of Magic Communications has found that women can be prone to suffer from the “imposter syndrome” which causes a dialogue of self-doubt to cross our minds.
“Remind yourself of what you’re good at and argue against the belief that you shouldn’t speak up,” said Webb. “Argue against negative feelings about yourself. We can be very supportive of other people but often we are our own worst enemies when it comes to criticism.”
Webb also recommends exploring where your self-doubt has come from, to try and overcome opinions developed in childhood, a syndrome known as “premature cognitive commitment.”
“People are often conditioned from childhood. If a critical comment was made by a teacher or a professor or a family member at a time when you were vulnerable, it can have a lasting impact,” she explained. Webb also recommends letting go of mistakes you have made in the past.
“Nothing is a waste if you learn from it” she said.
Modelling the behaviour of someone you admire in the office can be a useful strategy, in Webb’s opinion, and she recommends finding a mentor to be your cheerleader and give advice. Reading books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In can also help to build a confident mindset, she suggested.
Being mindful of your non-verbal cues is another critical element of success.
“Stare like you care,” said Webb. “Maintain eye-contact and stand with good posture because perception is reality.” She added that speaking with sufficient volume is important to create a confident persona. “People rate your non-verbal cues before your verbal cues,” said Webb.
Empowering other women around you will help to build a culture of strong, confident women in the workplace.
“Be sure to appreciate and compliment other people who are doing a good job,” said Webb.
Webb is a business communication specialist with a masters degree in psychology who has helped thousands of businesses increase productivity by teaching people how to communicate and work more synergistically together.