Starting a new position, signing a new client or launching your own business are celebration-worthy occasions - and they’re also incredibly nerve-wracking. Everyone experiences onboarding differently but going through the “you don’t know what you don’t know” phase can be very stressful.
And that’s okay! Understanding what’s expected with your new role and responsibilities, and meeting new personalities in a potentially unfamiliar environment means you’re constantly learning new things. Your brain is taking in so much information that you reach cognitive overload quickly. You’re trying to understand, memorize and associate all this new data. Learning new policies, processes and procedures - not to mention new faces and names - exhausts your mental resources.
Here are five ways to bypass your nerves and go into these early days feeling your personal, confident best:
1. Don’t try to prove yourself to everyone on Day One. Shift your focus from making an impression to getting an impression of the people you’ll interact with. Observe their work style, how they communicate and like to be communicated to. The more information you gather, the more certainty and confidence you’ll have about how to engage with them going forward.
2. Extend an invite for lunch or coffee to someone you’ve already connected with. Not only will you get a boost from the mental break, but informal socializing helps build a sense of belonging. If someone else invites you to lunch that same day, show your gratitude and see if they can do it the following day so you can continue to build on that confidence and belonging.
3. Schedule an end-of-week-one meeting with your new boss or client. Tell them in advance that you’d like to get their initial feedback and additional info you need to speed up your learning curve. Ask them to help you set some short and long-term goals that can guide your work priorities and expectations.
4. Ask for help early and without apology. The faster you are confident and productive, the better it is for everyone! Even the best onboarding might skip over those confidence-shaking things like the best place to park, what lunch places should be avoided or if it’s okay to knock on closed office doors.
5. Remind yourself that with every week that passes, it will be easier. Soon enough you’ll feel comfortable and confident strutting your way into whatever comes next.