Each week one of our community members submits a question, and we answer with our advice on the subject. This week we heard from Mike, who is struggling with self-confidence after a recent knock back at work.
Q - I recently went for a promotion at work and lost out to somebody else. I worked really hard for it and I’m gutted that I didn’t achieve my goal. It’s left me feeling embarrassed in the office, and like I’m not doing as well as I thought I was. My self-confidence has plummeted. Do you have any tips to help build up my self-confidence again? - Mike.
A - Hi, Mike. I’m so sorry that this experience has left you feeling so disheartened. It’s always difficult when we work hard for something and then it doesn’t happen, and I completely understand how this can affect your self-confidence. However, knowing that you worked so hard should make you feel proud of yourself, no matter the outcome. I have a few tips for how to get your self-confidence back, and get yourself back in the game.
- Ask for feedback and get closure
When you lose out to somebody else at work, it’s understandable that you will question yourself and your abilities. However, there are a number of reasons the other person may have been better suited for the position, and they will most likely have nothing to do with you or your performance.
The best way to get some closure and move on in a positive direction is to ask the hiring manager for some feedback. Tell them that you’re feeling disappointed because it’s something you really wanted and worked for, and ask them what it is that gave the other person the advantage. They will appreciate you asking as it shows good initiative, and that you value their opinion, something they will keep in mind for next time.
Take the feedback and use it as something to focus on. If they tell you that there was a skill they needed and didn’t think you quite had yet, focus on honing that skill so that when another opportunity comes up, you’re ready and equipped with the right tools for the job.
Knowing you have used the experience as an opportunity for growth will help you feel more positive and even though you didn’t take a step up this time, that you’re laying the groundwork for the next opportunity.
- Learn to trust yourself
The starting point of having self-confidence is being completely comfortable with who you are. Take some time to really get to know yourself. Be brutally honest; you have nothing to gain from lying to yourself, so be dig deep and be really truthful about who you are.
One way to do this is through writing it down. Get a notebook, and first spend some time writing down your strengths. Being able to see the things you’re good at will help you feel more confident in yourself. Next, write down your weaknesses. This may sound counterproductive, but it is important for your self development. When you’ve written down your weaknesses, spend time on each one, focusing on what steps you can take to overcome them.
Once you have been completely honest with yourself about who you are and what you can do, you will be able to trust in yourself and your abilities, which will greatly impact on your self-confidence.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
This may sound ridiculous in situations such as yours, when you’re competing for a position. However, comparing yourself to other people is a sure way to make you feel low in confidence.
Everybody has their own strengths, and just because somebody else may be better than you at something, you’re also likely to be better at something else than they are. As they say, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’, so try not focus on others, and instead focus on yourself and your strengths.
- Fake it until you make it
It may sound like a cliché, but sometimes the best way to really feel confident is to act it. If you act like you know what you’re doing, people will be more likely to trust you, which will in turn give you an instant confidence.
Take for example your situation now; you feel embarrassed because you didn’t get the promotion, and that you and other people believe you’re not good at your job. Chances are that the other people at work haven’t even considered this, and the only person thinking it is you. However, if you go into work believing you can’t do your job, this vibe will spread to the people around you, and they will start to believe the same thing.
The best thing to do is to hold your head high, and get stuck back in. Show that although you weren’t quite ready for a new position just yet, that you are still excellent at the job you do now, and soon you will feel back to your old self and ready to get back in the game for the next opportunity.