If the lamp felt worried about the wind, it would never shine

Confidence at Work Places

I read this inspiring two-line story about confidence and faith recently. It spoke about how people of a particular drought-stricken village were conducting some rituals to appease the gods. Only one small child who had faith and confidence in the rituals brought along an umbrella.

I have also been the villagers and the small child, many times in my life.

When young college graduates face each other in group discussion, as part of the hiring process, you can’t miss these observations. Some start with very great enthusiasm, while others take time to open up. Some of them keep contributing, even if they are unsure of the topic, while others contribute carefully with precise answers. How do you we decide who among them is confident? Those who go first or those who think and respond?

There is no hard line to define Confidence. Some of us have the skill to fake it cleverly while others naturally ooze confidence.

What defines our confidence? Different people have different measures of confidence. For some it is being able to take a decision without confusion while for others it is the assurance of remaining in control even when hell breaks loose around them.

I admired a friend of mine, who would not yield to any number of tantrums her sons threw. I, on the other hand was a volatile mother ready to scream even at the slightest provocation. Today, life has mellowed me enough to not react much to the happenings around, rather observe and introspect most events. This is my idea of confidence. Confidence that comes from assurance that all will end well. Even if it doesn’t then, I shall have learnt a new lesson from this event.

At Work places, confidence is measured by how well you adapt to change and how effective you are performing your tasks. Your confidence also reflects on how you influence important decisions by voicing your opinions.

Having interviewed and worked with many prospective candidates for different roles, I have noticed these few behaviors or attributes across employees who are confident and are able to survive the pressures of work.

  • Confident employees always have this relaxed air around them. They feel at ease in most situations. This makes them easy to work with.
  • They were assertive and a sometimes argumentative, when they wanted to lay stress on their views. It also meant that they knew their area of expertise well. It was maybe the assurance in their knowledge that gave them confidence. It is true that self- confidence is not fully dependent on being competent or knowledgeable, yet it lends support to expressing your views without hesitation.
  • They were aware and observant. They took responsibilities for their actions and accepted the consequences. This also made them sturdy players when the results of the task completed were mixed.
  • They did not let the results affect them in any way. If they succeeded, they were happy and if not, they were brainstorming for better ways to work.

These are just some of my observations. Over the years, I have come to realize that Self-Confidence can be acquired with conscious and continuous practice.

  • When we try to mentally picture a confident person, the first thing that comes to mind, is that of a person standing straight, relaxed yet attentive. Try to mimic the pose to the best of your abilities. Use a mirror and check how you look and feel. Every time you hesitate and are not sure about speaking up confidently, go back to your image in the mirror. It takes time to practice but eventually, you will start feeling confident.
  • When we are not aware of the results of doing some tasks, we keep doing it without much thought. Confidence is similar to this assurance, that there will some outcome to the task being performed. When the outcomes seem immaterial to you, you develop confidence. Just be assured that there will always be expected and unexpected outcomes to every event. You will have to go through it. Confidence helps you to sail through a bit easily.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others. You are unique and so are your abilities. Self-criticism only damages your confidence. Being boisterous and loud is not the only way to portray confidence. Your silent resolve also exudes confidence.
  • Read, learn and enrich your knowledge. Treat every experience as a learning one. It always helps you to offer your suggestions without much hesitation and with conviction.

There are many other techniques that one can use to build confidence. It definitely takes effort and regular practice. To end, I can think of one inspiring quote from Madam Curie

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

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