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Confidence helps us find success in our endeavors and it helps us enjoy life a little bit more, no matter what we’re doing at any given moment. But while it may help us become better skiers, stand-up comedians or party hosts, there’s one key arena where just a little bit of confidence brings big returns: the workplace.

Just a small uptick in self-assurance can make us less afraid of the opinions of others, and this can trigger a positive cascade. When we aren’t afraid, we make more mistakes. Then we learn from those mistakes, innovate, create, and find new solutions.

When we aren’t afraid, we hit the ground harder and bounce back faster. We also walk away from exploitation, low pay, and questionable employers. And we protect ourselves from these things, we become better prepared to protect others. Our bank accounts grow, we earn the trust of those around us, we excel at our careers … and the list goes on. It all starts with a tiny bit of confidence. So, what can you do to launch this positive cycle? Try these moves.

Know your strengths.

Work on your weaknesses later. First, recognize you are an ordinary person, no better or worse than anyone else. Then, build on this foundation (you are fine and adequate just as you are) and recognize that there are at least a few things you do exceptionally well. Identify these things. These are the things that take you from ordinary to essential. You add something to the team that nobody else can. What is it?

Treat yourself like a friend.

Do you look down on strangers and acquaintances for absurdly petty reasons? Would you think less of the person next to you for minute flaws that most people can barely see? Of course not. When you feel the urge to criticize yourself — or wilt under the criticism of others — imagine a friend in your position. Be as hard on yourself as you would be on that friend. Which is to say, offer yourself the same encouragement, hope, guidance, and respect that you would offer to another person.

Change your body language.

Your body language adjustments may be so subtle that others don’t even notice them, but YOU will. Keep your gaze level—your resting sightline should stay at the height of your head. Look everyone in the eye when you speak to them, no exceptions—even counter clerks or strangers. Keep your shoulders wide and your chest high. When you sit in a chair, sit in the entire chair, don’t perch at the edge.

Ask questions boldly.

When you need information, get it. Educate yourself. Never let a fear of someone else’s opinion keep you in a state of ignorance. If you’d like to know more, ask. Don’t apologize for asking, just ask. At the same time, when you have information that could help or educate someone else, speak up and share it.

Working these moves into your day can bring big benefits over time … just watch. For more, contact the employment team at Extension.

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