When your confidence is challenged at work - whether by an intimidating boss, difficult customers, stressful responsibilities or new coworkers - your brain sends a signal to tell your body you’re under a physical or emotional threat so you can prepare and protect yourself.
HERE COMES THE BRAIN SCIENCE: This signal is sent from the part of your brain called the amygdala, which can cause you to feel uncomfortable, anxious or sweaty… within a matter of seconds! Our amygdala is often triggered by three main fears - fear of failure, fear of regret and fear of rejection. When we don’t recognize how our amygdala is trying to help us, we panic. But when we’re aware, we allow this signal to empower the part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex, so we can act more thoughtfully, strategically, and productively.
Techniques such as “count to five” or “take a deep breath” are what I like to call confidence carbs. This is because yes, they’re good and can get you through the moment but they don’t provide the long-lasting fuel you need to have REAL confidence. Real confidence is a skill that you can learn at any age and at any point in your career. It supports you through the constant string of confidence challenges that can happen in any workplace.
Confidence killers can show up at work in many different ways and are sometimes impossible to avoid. Instead, you must strengthen your confidence by learning how to appropriately act, react and interact, in situations that feel like a confidence crisis. To do this, I recommend 5 simple, self-coaching steps that teach you how to recognize and appreciate the amygdala’s warning signal so you can handle any situation with REAL confidence:
CLARIFY → seek out the facts to remain objective.
Before you make any assumptions (such as “I’m not qualified” or “They didn’t like me” or “I’m not good enough”), use the facts to view the situation objectively.
CALIBRATE → identify the fear (failure, regret, rejection) and how it will impact your work.
Decide if the confidence crisis you’re facing is worth your emotional time and energy. If it's not going to matter in five years, don't spend more than five minutes being upset by it.
CONTROL → decide how you want to react now and in the future.
Proactively choose if you want to deal with the issue or let it roll off your beautiful back. When you act with confidence, you act with intention according to what you value, need and want.
COMMUNICATE → calmly speak to your inner critic.
Tell your inner critic you appreciate the concern, and remember we judge ourselves harder than anyone else. Flip the inner narrative and tell that inner coach, you got this!
CELEBRATE → recognize your success when you overcome a confidence challenge!
Celebrating any success, big or small, gives your brain endorphins that help you feel good & a natural neuro boost to rewire and reinforce the behavior.