How Does Your Confidence Affect Your Work?

confidence-beautyI want to thank a reader (Melanie sent me a lovely email) for picking me up, giving me a pat on the butt and making me smile.

My point is this…

Confidence Affects My Work

“In order to recognize our self-image, we can no longer identify with it. In other words, we have to learn how to objectify our own mental processes.”
- Matthew Flickstein, Journey to the Center

When we have confidence in who we are, we feel like we are on top of the world. The problem is these fleeting feelings are all a big chase. I know that I’m advocating solid ideas on Work Happy Now, but sometimes I do give in to self doubt. I worry that I could be giving more value. I worry that people will get bored with the content.

These are natural feelings, but sometimes they are very hard to deal with.

Our Interpretations

We create stories, ideas, and problems that can hurt our confidence. It’s up to us to pick and choose what helps us become stronger people, but we can’t let our personal interpretations dictate how we feel. We need to be able to stand back from the negative and positive and just smile. Both give us value. Both teach us.

Your problems and personal stories aren’t necessarily good or bad until you decide that they are so. Finding your own mental/emotional strength will help you take your career and life to a new level. You don’t need your boss to compliment your every move. You don’t have to let a negative comment bring you so far down that you question your choices.

You can stand back from the push and pull of petty and sweet comments. You understand that many comments can be interpreted as political, skewed, and confused. Nothing is ever as it really seems. There are always layers beneath layers.

Thank you, Melanie, for showing me my weakness in a new light. While your compliment helped me, there are times I rely on others too much. It helped me reconnect with the strength that I have inside myself that can’t be touched by the way that other people treat me on any given day. Melanie might love what I do, but I don’t rest my confidence on her. I can’t. If I expected a wonderful email every single day to keep my confidence soaring high, I would be unhappy on most days.

Emotional Strength

I’ve developed a lot of emotional strength in my fifteen year working career, but sometimes I still fall into the bad habit of taking someone’s comment too seriously. In reality, what people say doesn’t define me. Nothing defines me, not even me. (I know that sounds a little existential, but interpretation is a tricky thing.)

That is why interpreting thoughts is an art, not a science. There is no black and white, only various shades of emotions.

I’m learning to step away from my thought process and the feelings that result from my thoughts. Once you learn to stop allowing your interpretations to dictate how you feel, you will begin to improve your emotional intelligence. The last time you were in a good mood and you heard something negative, how did you react? You probably didn’t let it affect your confidence, but how about a similar comment when your confidence was on shaky ground? I bet it was more likely to send you into a tizzy, an emotional whirlwind, because you interpreted the person’s statement depending on how you felt at the time.

Perceptual Contrast

When we interpret comments and actions based on our own or someone else’s feelings, we get a distorted perspective. This ends up happening every time someone makes a comment because we are always in some kind of mood. This perceptual contrast dictates our feelings. We often fool ourselves because we believe what feels good. When we are able to recognize this, we can adjust accordingly.

If you have an argument with a co-worker about a controversial subject like abortion rights, then you must be willing to understand that the person may have a history that you don’t know about. Don’t be so stubborn that you can’t acknowledge their feelings. When you can learn to use emotional intelligence, you will win friends instead of creating enemies.

You may feel that the other person is wrong, and that’s ok, but it’s important to understand that it’s their perception of their own personal experiences that has brought them to their conclusion.

You shouldn’t get too attached to your own thoughts either. Once your ego decides to defend your feelings, it’s tough to let go and move on.

You should listen to others, but don’t let it touch your soul. The “core you” that knows what you are trying to accomplish should be strong and stay strong. It’s when you aren’t sure about what you are trying to do that negative comments tend to shake your foundation if you feel your foundation weakening then reassess. If you decide that you are on emotionally shaky ground but your idea is solid, then just continue on. If it feels more like these comments hit your “core you,” then maybe you were fooling yourself into believing a lie in the first place.

Only you know where your confidence is grounded. That’s why reflection is so important. It helps you separate the comments that really matter from the ones that can be let go so you can get back to doing work that matters to you.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that confidence affects your work? Do you feel that the “core you” should be fluid or solid?

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Need help with your career? Check out Miriam's blog Keppie Careers. One of my latest favorites is Tenacity in the job hunt – does it define you?

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Image courtesy of bejealousofme

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