Confidence is something we all crave—and with good reason. When you’re confident in your abilities as a project management professional, it becomes easier to do great work. It also becomes easier to build excellent relationships, to steer projects in the right direction, and to empower your team. When you’re confident in your abilities, you stop focusing on yourself and acquire the energy to tune into people around you which means excelling at collaboration and teamwork.
But if we don’t yet have the level of confidence we’re aiming for, how do you get there? Here are five ways to build your professional confidence—so you can do great work and thrive in the process, too.
1. Improve your business acumen.
One of the biggest factors that can lead to a lack of confidence is the feeling that you aren’t as senior or knowledgeable as those around you. As a result, you might hold yourself back when you speak to the client, to colleagues or to subject matter experts. To overcome this you’ll need to learn as much as you can about your client’s business and the subject matter you work with. Ask questions, read papers and see if you can shadow someone or find a mentor. Don’t be shy. Improving your business knowledge can have a tremendous impact on your performance and in turn, your confidence.
2. Take the PMP® exam.
Another way to increase your skills and your confidence is to formally study the topic of project management and to sit the PMP® exam. Studying for PMP® is not a small endeavor but it will give you a fantastic grounding and enable you to better plan and manage your projects. Not only will it improve your competence and confidence, it will also make you more attractive to potential employers. Don’t ignore the areas where you feel your skills are lacking. Take action and empower yourself to do something about it.
3. Focus on the positives.
It’s too easy to focus on the negative and what you think is missing. We all do it. But over-emphasizing the negative will hamper your confidence. Whenever you’re being overly critical of yourself, stop for a moment and reframe the situation. Challenge yourself to see the positives and what you have to bring to the table. At the end of each working day make it a habit to notice all of the great things you achieved and take credit for the tasks and activities you did well. Write your strengths and achievements down in a notebook and find new areas and capabilities to appreciate every day.
4. Do a five-minute confidence meditation.
Confidence is a state of mind that can be created and maintained if you’re mindful and put yourself in the right state. You can do that by centering yourself for five minutes every day before you go to work. Close your eyes and imagine being strong and confident. Really feel it in your body. Imagine yourself in conversations with your team or your client and see yourself behaving in a natural and confident way. Don’t leave the house until you feel this positive and confident sensation in your entire body.
5. Seek input from positive people.
Another great way to improve your confidence is to get exposed to positive people, mentors and coaches who will support you and encourage you to keep going. Ask your support system what they believe your unique talents are and how to approach situations you feel unsure about. You can also get your daily positivity boost from inspiring books, podcasts or videos (TED videos are a good place to start). There are an endless number of people who have transitioned from being foundling project managers to confident leaders and who are more than willing to share their experiences with you. So get out there and open yourself up to new impulses. You can do it!
Nothing boosts confidence like possessing the right skills and then turning them into habits that become second nature. Get some tips by reading our eBook, “5 Practical Habits for Today’s Project Manager.”
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