The Power of Believing in Yourself
Career management takes work, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes you’ll make decisions or choose a course of action that those around you – even including family and friends – won’t fully support or have the same thoughts and feelings as you. But if you’re owning your career, doing the work, focusing on learning and improving every day, maintaining a positive attitude, and living your values, you’re putting yourself in the best position you can to reach your goals and create the life you want.
It’s still possible that all of the pieces won’t fall into place exactly the way you want. Even superstar athletes don’t always get to play on championship caliber teams and they themselves may have poor games or even “down” seasons.
There is an up-and-down nature to every career and an element of luck involved in every success story (no matter what those successful people might have you believe). One of the greatest assets you have in your career journey is the incredible power of believing in yourself.
It will undoubtedly be hard at times; it is for everyone. You’ll have self-doubt – we all do – but don’t lose faith in your abilities. Don’t let yourself go to that dark place where a nagging doubt sparks a downward spiral in your mental health. To avoid that risk, try one of these tips for maintaining your optimism and gaining confidence:
Practice Self Affirmation
Practice a daily self-affirmation, which according to mindset coach Catherine Beard, encourages you to think positive thoughts about the important things in your life.
It’s also important to focus your self-affirmations on positive qualities you actually believe about yourself – it’s not helpful (and potentially harmful) to tell yourself things you don’t really believe to be true. Practice positive self talk and say your affirmations out loud or write them in a journal. You can also share them with family or trusted friends when you need a “reflection” back.
Reflect on Good News
Spend time reflecting each week on good news: what you accomplished and what went well. Career coach Beth Benatti Kennedy suggests putting a standing block of time – 5, 10, or 15 minutes – in your calendar each week for this purpose.
Choose a day and time that works for you, one you’re usually able to keep and one that allows you to be in a growth mindset to step back and reflect. Fridays work for many people, but it could also be over the weekend, or any other day and time that suits.
Celebrate your successes, even the small ones. Share them with someone close to you. Explain why the achievement is important and what led to it. Thank those that contributed to the success.
Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to feel confident in your progress and boost your own mindset.
Don't Make Comparisons
Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Inevitably some of your family, friends, schoolmates, or other people in your life are going to achieve a greater level of success relative to some measure, be it wealth, seniority, fame or whatever. But if you spend too much time comparing yourself to the "good life" of others, you’ll just make yourself crazy.
As the expression goes, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” Remember that even the most “successful” people face struggles and hardships. You just don’t necessarily see them. Start shifting towards personal goal setting instead, so you know when, how, and why you achieved your goals.
Control What You Can
Focus on what you control. You can’t control everything around you. Things happen – both good and bad – so focus on maintaining a positive mindset and on executing your plan.
Hire a Coach
Hire a coach to keep you focused. Just as in sports, it’s helpful to have someone with you along the way, to provide an outside-in lens on the situations you’re facing and your performance. Good career coaches can make a huge difference in helping you with what you’re aiming to achieve.
No matter which of these approach(es) you choose, they’ll help you keep the faith, particularly when you encounter obstacles, face difficult decisions, or encounter other challenges along the way. Success starts with believing in yourself and you will invariably put yourself in a better position to accomplish your career goals.
Sources and recommended further reading:
Positive Affirmations List - Beard, Catherine.
Don't Compare Your Back Stage - Cairns, Julie Ann.
Career Re-Charge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout - Beth Benatti Kennedy, Capucia Publishing, 2018.