Let’s be honest, a part of us grew up thinking our lives would be like Carrie Bradshaw’s, living an exciting life in New York City, sipping cocktails with our girlfriends every night and buying Manolo Blahniks on a newspaper columnist's salary. Okay, so we were really naive. Flash forward a couple years and neither life, work, nor love are that easy. Especially the work part: No one tells you how you’re supposed to act or how much you’re supposed to get paid. Whether you have your dream job, are looking for a change, or just do this working thing to pay the bills, having confidence is key. You might be super talented, have a fancy degree and a wide set of skills, but insecurities and self-doubt can really hinder your success. Here are a few ways to fight insecurities and gain the confidence you need to be a boss.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Nobody’s perfect, so it’s important to assess yourself and figure out where you excel, and where you tend to fall behind. This isinvaluable knowledge that you can use to market yourself and approach your day to day work. Take a moment to write them down or take a test, and go from there.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Whether you’re starting at a new job or you’ve been at the same place for years, you’re never going to have all of the answers. Every situation, project, client, and problem is different, so what worked before might not this time. No one will think less of you for asking questions, and if they do, they aren’t doing their job right.
SET GOALS FOR YOURSELF
Short term goals, long term goals, even squad goals. Think about what you want to accomplish in your life, figure out what steps need to be taken to get your there, give yourself deadlines and write them down! Having a physical record of those goals makes them more concrete and attainable.
DON’T FORGET TO LOOK THE PART
Never underestimate the power of looking good. When you look good, you feel good. It might take a killer haircut to give you the confidence you need to finally ask for that promotion. Wear clothes that make you feel empowered and make people on the sidewalk think, “Wow, she’s got her shit together,” because if they believe it, you’ll start believing it too.
GO BEYOND WHAT’S EXPECTED OF YOU
This does NOT mean relinquishing all of your vacation days and answering emails at all hours of the night. However, it doesn’t hurt to take initiative on projects, look for ways to make things more efficient, and pitch new ideas. If you put in the extra effort, people will start to notice.
DON’T FEEL GUILTY
Unfortunately, we still live in a patriarchal society that offers very little help to female workers in the ways of parental leave, child care, flexible hours, etc. As women, we often feel as though we can’t have it all — the successful career, the family, the social life — and we tend to feel guilty when we feel like one is getting more attention than the other. Don’t. All that matters is that you’re happy and putting yourself first.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW IT, LEARN IT
It’s never too late to learn something new, the more skills you have, the more confident you’ll be. Want to learn how to code? Take a class on the weekends or check out some online tutorials. Your new skill will make you a more valuable asset at your current job and create more opportunities for you elsewhere.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
While it can be tempting to comparing your success to that of your coworker or friends, try not to. Everyone has their own origin story, their own strength and their own problems. You can’t compare apples to oranges, so don’t. Focus on yourself, your work, and making yourself better for you.
FIND A MENTOR
You don’t have to do it alone! There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help you, all you have to do is ask. Many of them were in your shoes once, and wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of a mentor. It can be as easy as buying someone a cup of coffee in exchange for a little bit of their time and some advice.
DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE
Probably the most important thing on this list, never forget to congratulate yourself on a job well done. No accomplishment is too small — so gather your friends, grab a drink, and pat yourself on the back — Ryan Gosling believes in you!