Where For Art Thou Confidence?
Today as I write this blog post, I’m smiling ear to ear about a conversation I just had with a client. She just landed a job that she is truly excited about. As I listened to her enthusiasm and gratitude, I reminded her that her new employer is also “winning.” She is qualified, hard-working, and she is going to bring a unique set of skills to the position that will benefit everyone in the company. Even after she accepted the position, I still find myself reminding her of her unique value.
I’m sure there’s a healthy blend of internal and external sources of confidence but I wonder how many people are more familiar with a celebrity’s dating woes or an athlete’s contract than their greatest professional accomplishments. Some of that information is impossible not to know just by being awake in public, but you owe it to yourself to know exactly why you are worthy of the jobs you’re applying for.
At a recent dinner with a friend of mine who is a chef, he spoke about his love for the process of cooking from start to finish. He was positively giddy talking about seasonal produce shaping his menu, how he sharpens his knives, the creativity of crafting the dishes and arranging them on the plates. I asked how he felt about people eating his food. I wanted to know if satisfied customers closing their eyes with each mouthful was part of his joy. It wasn’t. He said, “Once it leaves my kitchen, I have no control over the outcome. Taste is subjective. I know what my talents are and seeking validation from other people’s tastebuds doesn’t serve me.” Of course, I immediately related his story to my own work. I wondered how different it would be if clients came in and said, “I know what my talents are and I’m looking for an opportunity to utilize my skills – but having a job or not having a job doesn’t impact my worth. ”
Confidence comes from an intimate familiarity with your worth: accomplishments, hard and soft skill sets, personality and other factors. How long does it take you to complete the following phrases?
My 3 greatest professional achievements are. . .
My colleagues would come to me for. . .
My friends would say my best qualities are. . .
One of the biggest challenges I faced at work was . . . and I resolved it by. . .[Company Name] would benefit from hiring me because . . .
If this is challenging, take it out of job search mode and just focus on the reasons why people enjoy being around you. Take stock of all that you have to offer and then sort out how it applies to your professional life. And hey, it’s not easy to go it alone. If you need some support, give us a shout.