Your career and life journey is an individual one. You may begin with a cohort or particular group of people you meet that happens to begin at the same time, but in the end, it’s all on you. Stories intertwine but are never interdependent. This is an important distinction to remember because the people around you are living their own lives, reaching for the same top-level positions, and only a few can make it there. So having confidence is key!
In this article, I’ll be giving some tips and tactics on stabilizing your confidence and not letting factors like self-doubt, negative actions from coworkers(intentional or not), or anything else in between, take it away from you.
You Are Your Own Team
Don’t mistake this for me suggesting you shouldn’t work with others. On the contrary, rising above to new levels requires being well-liked and having healthy working relationships. This statement illustrates that you have to take control of your own career trajectory, and not rely on anyone else to put you in positions where you can grow beyond where you are. At the end of the day, we’re all performing in hopes of reaching that next level. IC or manager, everything is for self-growth. Remember that.
Don’t Allow Yourself To Be Minimized
It’s funny how “understanding” we’re expected to be of each other, yet in reality, it’s all a facade that only negatively affects people that didn’t grow up in the best of environments or in cultures that are just deemed lesser. It’s an uncomfortable truth, most people either don’t know or refuse to acknowledge, because it highlights a varying nuance in how the world really is structured. That’s ok though, it is what it is.
I say all that to say, you have to make your voice heard. In meetings when someone is trying to talk over you, make sure to carve out time to get your points across. When working on projects, make sure your contributions are organizationally visible, not just inside the working group. Be your own cheerleader!
People Aren’t That Much Smarter
On average, you’ll rarely run into someone at a high level in corporate America that is miles ahead and smarter than the next person. What they’ll likely have though is a higher degree of self-esteem, knowledge, and experience. All things that people acquire with time and being in the right place at the right time. That’s all.
So when interacting with people, keep that in mind. Don’t be the person that is star-struck by their presence or the asshole that thinks you’re superior and unable to be humble. Be secure, while at the same time, curious.
Confidence in your career is a mix of limiting the amount of doubt you place in yourself and blocking out the varying sources of doubt trying to minimize your growth from the outside. This doesn’t mean being an overconfident prick or allowing yourself to be meek in hopes of having people like you more. It means being sure of yourself, and understanding that people benefit from you being cocky(unlikeable) or meek(doubting yourself). Be strong, secure, and faithful.