Standing up for yourself: Having more confidence in the workplace

There is power in being proud of what you do, especially when you've worked hard Click To Tweet

Have you ever noticed yourself submitting work to your supervisor and uttering the words “I hope you like it”? I know I have and as the words came out of my mouth I hated it. Why? It sounded as if I was unsure of the quality of my work and above all, myself. The truth is I was confident, I had done the research and written multiple drafts but I felt lowering expectations would make my supervisor like my work more.

But ultimately I was cheating myself under the guise of humility but rather I was showing a lack of confidence in my work. I knew I had put in the work but I didn’t feel that it was good enough or that no matter how good I thought it was my supervisor wouldn’t feel the same. So feeling and showing uncertainty was the better option to feeling great to only receive disappointing feedback.

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Confidence is key

Basically, I was scared to show pride for my work in case it was not well received. I’ve come to realize there is no room for that in the workplace, confidence is key. There is power in being proud of what you do, especially when you’ve worked hard.

Supervisors are more receptive to work that is submitted without a doubt on your behalf. Their reliance on and expectations of you rise, and that’s a good thing. This is great when you are gunning for a promotion or raise. Your actual work will speak for you but your presentation is just as important. Sell your work as well as letting the work sell itself.

There is no shame in promoting your game. It is a lesson I have come to learn. But knowing isn’t as easy as putting into action. It takes small steps. So when it comes to talking up in meetings, I no longer shy away. If you’ve got a good suggestion, don’t hesitate. Speak. It’s important that we speak up in meetings with clients or colleagues when you know the work.

It will push you further and build stronger bonds with your client and show your boss exactly why you are in the position you are in. Speaking up can lead to standing out. Don’t shy away from raising your voice, especially when it counts.

If you've got a good suggestion, don't hesitate. Speak. Click To Tweet

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Changing your language

Confidence is also necessary when you have to defend your work. We all have that one colleague who likes to push and challenge you. That shouldn’t back you into a corner. You know your work, there’s no reason to shy away when challenged. This doesn’t only make you a force to be reckoned with, it will also bolster your ability to address tough situations when the need arises.

Another small step? Changing your language. Take out phrases such as “I would just like..” or “I wonder if” and replace them with stronger more self-assured words. The point of this is to come across as more self-assured with regards to your request. People are likely to respond positively to a statement that is said confidently.

When sharing an opinion say it with conviction, “I would like to talk to you about..” or “I suggest that…” This enables you to get what you want when you say what you need. It yields better results in terms of ensuring efficiency from colleagues and getting your point across.

Being more confident isn’t just to gain the respect of your colleagues of supervisor, it is also great for your personal and professional development. When you believe in yourself, it will show in the way you carry yourself, and your professional outputs. The more you feel this way, the brighter you will feel and that will reflect in everything you will do.

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Accepting compliments

Accept compliments with pride. When you hear the words “Well done”, what is your immediate reaction? Shonda Rhimes states three reactions to receiving compliments in her book Year of Yes; dismissal of the compliment; shyness; and laughter/embarrassment at being complimented.

At the root of this is the little voice saying, “not me, I don’t deserve this. I was just lucky”. Humility is great and all that but it honestly doesn’t hurt to show your pride when someone recognizes your awesomeness. It is not overconfidence when you accept a compliment with a thank you.

We have internalized the fear of appearing confident because it appears cocky. But you’re awesome and that is okay, actually, it is better than okay. It is pretty damn great and its okay to stand in your shine. You’ve worked hard and being recognized for putting the work in is a great feeling so don’t shy away from it.

Humility is great but it doesn't hurt to show your pride when someone recognizes your awesomeness Click To Tweet

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So what does it mean to be a confident woman to me now? It means speaking up when I know I have something valid to say. It is being able to back up my work when challenged. It is me acknowledging that I have reached where I am, not by default or mistake but because I am genuinely smart and talented. You are exactly where you are because you deserve to be, don’t ever doubt it.

About Ruva Samkange

Ruva is a Junior Technical Officer at the International Labour Organisation after completing her Masters in Shipping Law. Ruva is an avid book reader, a series junkie and loves a strong cup of coffee. Constantly inspired by the women around her, she believes that the future is female, hers and most importantly yours too.

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