This guest post is by Megan Hicks. Megan is currently working as a writer at Write This Essay. She enjoys reading, traveling and loves finding new ways to stay productive.
It’s okay, you can admit it. You know you need a confidence boost. There’s no shame in it. We all do. It’s when you admit you would like to grow in this area that you place yourself a step ahead of the majority. Your belief in your ability to do your work well has a direct effect on the work you produce. If you would like to be more productive, having a healthy level of confidence is essential to your success, no matter what your profession.
Through working with other writers on a daily basis I’ve seen the effects of confidence on productivity first-hand.
Isn’t Self-Confidence the Same Thing as Motivation?
Let’s examine one presumption you might be making. In many cases, you are making the assumption that confidence is the same as motivation. While confidence can correlate with motivation, which increases your ability to perform, know that confidence is not a motivational force in and of itself.
Confidence can be defined as a judgment about your capabilities for achieving a goal. When you have high confidence, you believe that you are very capable of successfully completing the task at hand. You dive right into the work without your inner critic causing you to hesitate. You trust yourself.
But if you have a low level of confidence, it triggers questions such as: “What if I make a mistake?” or “Can I do this as well as he did?” These questions then make you skeptical of your capabilities. Knowing the differences between your level of confidence and motivation, you can move forward to the ways in which confidence really enhances your experience and leads to more productive behaviors.
What If Overconfidence Is Actually A Good Thing?
An assumption is a mental program you can afford to let go of. It is based on unconscious beliefs that you hold, set in place by personal associations that have no base in reality. An assumption that many people have is that overconfidence is something you should avoid. You do not want to be known for being too “cocky” or “brazen.” Instead, you likely humble yourself to the point of cowardice. One sign of this is when you have a habit of apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong or constantly questioning your abilities.
Finding a healthy balance between humility and overconfidence is key.
In order to find a healthy balance between having too much self-conviction and distrust in your abilities, it is more important to understand the pros of a set of beliefs that lean in the direction of the first. According to this study by UC Berkley, here are the ways in which overconfidence plays positive roles in the lives of those that exhibit it:
- Overconfidence leads to higher social status in short-term and longer-term groups.
- Overconfidence makes an individual appear competent to others.
- People may believe they are better than others because it helps them achieve a higher social status.
While social status should not be a primary motivator in your work—you’re looking instead at increasing productivity here—this information gives us some groundwork which reminds you that you can give yourself permission to trust your inner voice that tells you that you are simply amazing. Yes, it is alright.
The Role of Self-Confidence in Personal Productivity
Now that you have an idea that can help you boost your confidence levels, here are a few more facts to consider. Research shows that high confidence, as an isolated set of beliefs, has a direct correlation on personal performance. It is also strongly suggested that individuals judge themselves with more scrutiny than others do. So, your responsibility to yourself and your organization is to take accountability for your own confidence.
If you’re lacking in confidence, here are some ideas to help you let go of negative assumptions about yourself and get back to where you need to be:
- Have a mantra. I remember finding my stepmother’s self-talk cassette when I was in high school. I popped it into my boom box and immediately burst-into a fit of giggling at the sound of her voice, “I am enough. I am beautiful. I am capable [repeat].” I didn’t understand the concept of mantras at the time. I even thought it was plain silly. But as I’ve watched her change and grow throughout the years, I often think back on that day with humility. There is a reason people practice mantras; they do work. You don’t have to record yourself, write yourself a note and stick it on your computer screen to keep yourself on track.
- Take a course. Each time I take a writing course, my confidence is reborn. There is always something to learn; this approach applies to any industry. If you feel like you’re capable at the technical side of your job, there may be another subject you want to study: emotional intelligence, marketing, management, conflict resolution, and the list goes on. Never stop learning. Not only will this help you with confidence, but it will keep your mind fresh as well.
- Manage your stress. This is one of the most important and often overlooked tasks you owe to yourself. Stress can induce illness, disrupt sleep, and even kill your confidence. Find out what it is that helps you keep your stressors at bay, and make it happen. Now could be a great time for you to participate in yoga, meditation, or to simply take more time to be present. Do whatever you find works for you. Stress management will help increase your overall confidence and boost your performance at work and in your personal life.
- Surround yourself with positive people. The people in your circle are a direct reflection of you and vise versa. If you find yourself in the company of several “Negative Nancys,” it will start to rub off. Positivity breeds positivity, so the more you time spend with people who have a healthy level of confidence, the more confident you will become.
- Give yourself permission to be great. Sometimes there are deep-seeded issues that cause us to hold negative judgments about ourselves. Once you identify the psychological barriers holding you back, you can let go of them. When it comes to your work, no one else is going to lose anything when you start showing up as the confident, competent person you know you are. In fact, it is just the opposite. As you start showing up fully, the people around you will become motivated to do better as well.
When you start to apply some of these techniques above, your level of confidence will grow. When your confidence levels rise, your productivity levels increase. You will be less likely to quit and, in many cases, you will be able to accomplish more than you thought you could. Keep learning as much as possible and then apply what you have learned whenever you can. Confidence comes when you practice good habits and healthy attitudes over time. There will be times that you do not feel confident, and that’s okay. Figure out what encourages you the most and go to that resource when you are struggling.
What is something you do to give yourself a confidence boost? Please share in the comments below.