Thursday, 6 September 2018

How to Feel Confident When You Feel Anything But

I know I'm not alone in occasionally suffering from the Imposter Syndrome or generally feeling like a big, fat, faker of adulting. My mum has always said to me, "Fake it til you make it!" which is a rule I do live by, since oftentimes when I'm in new situations I can be overwhelmed with thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism.

Starting a new job, as I am doing, these same negative and harsh remarks make their way to the forefront of my brain and I begin to question EVERY MOLECULE OF MY BEING.

Not wanting to completely derail my first week of work when I should be excited and looking forward to new experiences instead of not being able to focus on things because the voice in my head shouting, "You can't do this!" is too distracting, I headed for Pinterest and researched some ways to make me feel more confident and comfortable in unfamiliar settings.

Clothes make the (wo)man
As in the old expression, "The clothes make the (wo)man." Originally it meant that, one could tell one's status by what someone wore and although this is still true, the idiom has also come to mean, dress comfortably and confidently and you will be comfortable and confident. That's why all those career advice articles tell you to dress for the job you want, not the job you have or that if you work from home, still put on real clothes, which will make you more productive than if you stay in your pajamas all day.  Also, after spending several years in uber casual clothes that are great for giving tours and getting physical, but not so office appropriate. I'm totally looking forward to a lady trouser in my future.

Positive Affirmations
Beyond the typical positive affirmations--my current fav, "I can do all the things", be kind with the way you speak to yourself. The world can be harsh enough, no need for you to pile it on too. Instead of criticizing, remind yourself that you are enough and that you got this!
A few years ago, I was starting a new position at work and I was feeling overwhelmed. A friend of mine told me that in Dutch, they say the word "sterkte!" to wish someone the strength to persevere whatever challenge they are facing. I really liked this and still say it to myself today.

Power Poses
Pseudoscience or not, I love the idea of practicing power poses to help boost my confidence. With fists on hips like Wonder Woman, I can't help but feel like I can conquer the world! Or at the very least, the small task in front of me. And even if it doesn't give me the little boost I'm looking for, body language speaks loud and proud and others will see you as confident. Just don't confuse the Wonder Woman pose with the Superman pose.

make a list
I have a bullet journal and one of my favourite things to do in it is to write a weekly inventory of achievements I accomplished that week. Sometimes the list includes major achievements like absolutely nailing an interview and other times it's the little wins, like woke up before 9am, that are celebrated. Creating a list of things you are good at and things you've accomplished is a good way to remind yourself just how much you rock.

Speak with Confidence
Rephrase how you speak, to instead speak with confidence. It's no longer, "I don't know", now it's "That's a good question, let me look into that and get back to you."

Rally Crowds
I once attended the London Marathon (merely as a spectator) and as runners passed by my friend and I noticed the name bibs on each participant. The crowds around us shouted and cheered people on, calling out their names even though they didn't personally know them. As an aside, I noticed a lot of Dave's running and called out to them each time with a hearty, "YEEEEEEEEEAAAHHH DAAAAVE!" Wouldn't you love to have a crowd should out encouragement to you everywhere you went?
When you need them, call on your personal cheerleaders, those people that are super supportive and say encouraging things to you and who have absolutely no doubt in their minds that you will be a success. It couldn't hurt.

These are some of the things I'm doing to trick myself into feeling more confident than I actually am just yet. Gaining real confidence will only come with time, as I become more comfortable with my surroundings, more familiar with the history of the organization and more informed about the industry.

Update: After posting this I discovered the newly launched The Insecure Girls' Club by the bad-ass blogger Liz Purvis. She's developing her club for women who need to be reminded "that you can be successful, outgoing, good company and confident and still be insecure at times...[the club is] a place for girls who want to kick ass, but still feel a bit wobbly at times." We aren't alone in our moments of insecurity even while being awesome and capable. Sometimes it's just nice to know we aren't alone, it's not all instagram perfection out there.

Do you 'fake it til you make it?'

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  1. "Questioning every molecule of my being" - YES! This is my current state as well. Repatriating (particularly to the exact same city I left from 5 years ago) has been far more challenging than I ever expected. I've never dealt with as much self-doubt as I have been lately. It's not a great feeling, and I definitely needed this today. :)

  2. I'm sorry your feeling the same way, but I'm glad to have helped and also it's nice to know I'm not alone!
    Repatriating is so hard (I've written a post about it when I was doing it myself years ago) *cheeky plug*.

  3. I love it! And can identify with a lot of the feelings you wrote about in that post as well. If only we could get a dog... :) They really do make everything better!

  4. To be fair, a dog would be on any list I make. :)


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