Updated: Sep 2, 2019
One of my mentees reached out and asked me, “Do you have any recommendations on your blog about how to manage insecurities. I’ve been insecure all my life, and this is affecting my job now. How can I get over being insecure?”
She has been struggling with lacking confidence at work. Now in a new role, she has more responsibility and wants to succeed. However, it has quickly become apparent to her manager that she's showing up insecure in her role, despite her qualifications to do an excellent job.
The reality is that even when we’re qualified, if we’re not able to express “certainty” to others about the work that we’re responsible for performing, their perception of us will be that we’re “insecure,” and negatively impact how they perceive our abilities and what we can accomplish. In other words...
Our insecurities project lack of confidence and certainty in what we do, thus significantly hindering our ability to reach our full potential.
When we experience low confidence and certainty, we hold ourselves back from going after what we want. We fear to put ourselves out there and take action, which impacts our results and the value we add, and inadvertently ignore our potential. From my perspective, this is the worst loss of all and the highest "opportunity cost."
After thanking her for sharing this challenge with me, I gave her some suggestions which I’m sharing with you in this week’s article.
Insecurity and confidence are inversely correlated. The more insecure you are, the lower your confidence level. The antidote to insecurity is to embody the emotion of confidence.
So, how do you boost your confidence?
#1 Manage your state
Many of us believe that our emotions dictate our behaviors. We may feel we're merciless facing whatever feelings arise throughout the day. With mindfulness, we can transform this perception once and for all.
I learned that to create a behavior, put yourself in an emotional state where that behavior is automatic. If you want to crush your presentation, what emotions would help you accomplish that? Confidence, determination, curiosity, cheerfulness, and contribution would be a few to consider.
How do we get ourselves in such an emotional state? Here's an example.
To be more confident throughout your day, when you wake up in the morning, make a declaration as simple as, "Today, I'm going to feel confident."
This statement doesn't mean that you're going to "know" everything. What it will do is that when you don't know something, you'll be confident in asking the right questions. Your physical posture, communication, and choices will exude confidence.
#2 Understand Your Worth
The second step in boosting your confidence is understanding your worth and the value you bring as the person that you are and the skills you contribute to your organization and business.
During one of the training that I facilitated at my mentee's company last Fall, I shared one of my signature exercises. I teach private clients and partner organization training groups how to identify their Unique Value Proposition (UVP). And like them, it will help you articulate how you are innately unique in your contributions to the organization.
Discovering your UVP requires that you answer three critical questions, which I’m explaining here quickly: What are your superpowers? What is your Why? And What are your marketable skills?
What are your superpowers?
Your superpowers include what you are great at, what you love, and what you can do so well, you can do it in your sleep.
As an example, some of my superpowers are being trustworthy, curious, and having an ability to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated concepts. As a coach, I listen intently to my clients on multiple levels.
These superpowers enable me to ask my clients empowering questions based on the connections that I'm making and the information they are sharing.
The benefit is that my clients experience epiphanies and realizations to accelerate achieving their goals. They understand unhealthy patterns, lead from a place of personal power, and transform roadblocks holding them back or blocking their creativity and resourcefulness.
What is your Why?
Your Why includes what inspires and motivates you, and what you believe the world needs the most from your perspective. Another way to identify your Why is to ask yourself these questions, answering honestly.
Why do you want to be successful in life?
Level 1: Why is this important to you?
Level 2: Why is this important to you?
Level 3: Why is this important to you?
Level 4: Why is this important to you?
Level 5: Why is this important to you?
Level 6: Why is this important to you?
Level 7: Why is this important to you?
When you get to the bottom of it, on a visceral level, we all have a very specific reason why we do what we do.
To illustrate using a personal example, I believe the world needs excellent, inclusive leaders who care as much about their employees as they do about the company’s bottom line.
In full transparency, when I answered the seven-levels again as I write this article, my Why wasn’t so evident from the start, and what I discovered truly resonates for me. My driving force, my BIGGEST Why is LOVE.
The life I've designed reflects this discovery. I'm experiencing a new level of self-love, as opposed to being very hard on myself during my 20s, 30s, and even my early 40s. Similarly, I feel an expanded level of self-compassion and love for my clients, peers, friends, the people enduring tough situations, and of course, my family.
What are your marketable skills?
As the last question in the triad toward discovering your UVP, this is the most straightforward. Why? It's your resume. These are the skills you possess and what you do and have done to get paid. Maybe not all of it is on your resume, LOL, but you get the gist.
What's not apparent are those skills you know and can get paid to teach others, even if you've never done it yet.
A quick example of my marketable skills is coaching, motivational speaking, leadership training, project management, and strategic planning. I've gotten paid to perform all of these. However, I love and can plan parties and events in my sleep and could potentially teach others how to do it.
How does knowing your Unique Value Proposition boost your confidence?
Your UVP is the intersection of the answers to these three questions. No one in this world—no one—will have identical responses to all three questions. This fact makes your UVP as distinct as your fingerprints.
Let's focus on your role at work. There will be others in the same position as you. However, what is the chance of someone else having the exact set of superpowers, the identical Why, and background of marketable skills as you?
In addition to leapfrogging your confidence level, knowing your UVP is a tool to position yourself for a role or assignment you want. Knowing your talents, combined with what you love, and skill set, you'll know when to raise your hand and when NOT to raise it.
This self-awareness will help you create the most value for your company while simultaneously leveraging your strengths and making the most of your potential.
I understand and can empathize with each of us having different reasons for feeling insecure or having low confidence. Our upbringing and life experiences can undoubtedly translate into stories and meanings that can be the source of great suffering.
Without belittling the past, with an open and curious perspective, today we get to choose how we want to move forward, regardless of what happened to us as kids or as adults.
Compassionately, we're not kids or victims anymore.
We are mindful and conscious beings with Self-leadership. Today, we can recognize when things are off and we can decide to do something about it.
We can shift our perspective and increase the level of "certainty" and confidence with which we choose to perform our roles. Getting clear on how we impact the people and our work environment, and the value that we contribute is a starting point.
What to Do Next
The bottom line is being willing to do the work. As we focus on doing the work required to transcend our challenges, we'll overcome them. Once we get past “cognitive awareness,” let’s get into action mode and do the work required to surpass them.
Create micro-steps, micro-goals for yourself, and celebrate as you complete and attain those small milestones—they add up.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with your network and leave us a comment.
Finally, here's a related blog that’s helpful on How to Crawl, Walk, and Run to Success in Your Life.
In the meantime, be fearless! (act despite the fear)
With love and appreciation,
About Dr. Ginny A. Baro
Dr. Ginny Baro is an international executive coach, speaker, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. She is the CEO and founder of ExecutiveBound™ and Fearless Women @Work™ and the creator of the innovative and proven method, C.A.R.E.S. Leadership Success System™.
Ginny specializes in helping executives develop leaders, maximize performance, and increase profits. As a career strategist, she partners with talented individuals who are navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their professional careers.
She has successfully facilitated leadership training and coaching programs for global companies with over 65,000 employees and delivered keynotes impacting international audiences larger than 7,000 people.
For over two decades, Ginny held multiple Director and senior leadership roles in financial services and technology. Her academic degrees include a Ph.D. in Information Systems, an MS in Computer Science, an MBA in Management, and a BA in Computer Science and Economics. She's a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) accredited by the International Coach Federation. For more information, visit www.executivebound.com.
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