When it comes to productivity, there hundreds of ways for you to step-up your game. You could learn how to prioritize, manage your energy, or spruce your workspace. Unfortunately, we often neglect to discuss the role that confidence plays in this game. Here is the relationship between confidence and productivity.
But, what exactly is confidence? Well, depending on your ask, that definition can vary. However, I think that Kathy Kay and Claire Shipman have a solid explanation in their book The Confidence Code; “confidence is life’s enabler – it is the quality that turns thoughts into action.”
The authors add that being confident “isn’t about throwing your weight around or talking over people or always being the first to jump in.” It’s not even an attitude of faking it until you make it. Instead, it’s all about taking action — even if you stumble along the way.
Richard Petty, a psychology professor at Ohio State University who has studied confidence for decades, told Kay and Shipman “that confidence is essentially the stuff that turns our thoughts into action.” Or, to put it another way, “it greases the wheels for action.”
What’s more, research from Cameron Anderson, a University of California, Berkley professor, found that confidence improves a person’s social status. It also provides them with psychological benefits. These include self-esteem, task motivation, and persistence.
Additionally, a lack of confidence can hold us back from succeeding and forging forward. That’s because this keeps us locked-up in our comfort zones. We also ruminate about failing, what we can’t control, and how we measure against others. As a consequence, we procrastinate or obsess over being “perfect.”
The good news? It’s totally feasible to become more confident. And, when you build this up, you’ll bolster your performance and productivity.
1. Commit to fear and failure.
In his book, The Mindfulness Solution, Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Siegel recommends:
“Think about your worst fear. Spend time with it. Now make your fear worse by getting closer to it. Imagine the worst that could happen. Now focus on your breathing. Feel your body relax. See, you didn’t die, did you? You’re on your way to conquering your fear.”
You don’t exactly have to dive in headfirst. The idea is to do something that scares you in implemental steps. For example, if you’re petrified of public speaking, take a class, improve your communication skills, and practice in front of friends or family.
As for failure, you don’t want to make a monumentally bad decision. Instead, start small. For instance, send an email without proofreading it. Just like facing your fear, you’re still alive to fight another day.
More importantly, failure allows you to learn and grow from your mistakes. In my personal opinion, failing is the best teacher you’ll have in life.
2. Pay attention to your speech, posture, and body language.
Close your eyes and visualize someone whom you consider to be confident. They’re probably well-dressed and have a clean workspace. What’s more, they don’t slouch and seem to always remain calm, cool, and collected.
That’s a tall order to fill. But, you can follow in their footsteps by:
- Dressing for success. What you wear definitely affects your productivity. That doesn’t mean that you always need to be dressed to the nines. But, if you need a little confidence boost, putting on your “power” outfit can do the trick.
- Keep your workspace clean and organized. Besides emitting a sense of professionalism, this is simple to reduce stress. The reason? You aren’t scrambling around searching for misplaced items.
- Speak slowly and loudly. It gives the impression that you know what you’re talking about. And, it ensures that everyone hears what you have to say.
- Strike a pose. If listening to the Madonna song helps, go for it. Additionally, studies show that open, expansive postures make you feel more powerful.
- Pay attention to your body language. Stand up straight, make eye contact, and control your breathing.
3. Focus on the bright side.
The thing is, we have a tendency to harp on what could go wrong as opposed to what could go right. “Think about how you’re going to nail your presentation and how pleased your coworkers will be to hear it,” adds Robbins. “What you focus on becomes your reality – and that includes what you focus on within your own mind.”
To start, scrap negative words from your vocabulary. Next, replace them “with positive ones and start seeing the bright side of situations,” he suggests. “By changing your focus, internally and externally, you’re changing your state. And by changing your state, you’ll change your life.”
4. Raise your curiosity.
“Curiosity is at the base of all intelligence — without the desire to learn things, there is no advancement, innovation, or growth,” writes Laura Winter over at Thrive Global. “It drives creativity and innovation, fills us with wonder, and is a source of intrinsic motivation,” adds Winter. And, this “desire to know pushes us beyond fear and towards our goals.”
How can you achieve this? Ask questions and be open-minded. Find opportunities to learn and experience new things on a daily basis. Meet new people. And, dabble with different interests.
5. Manage confidence-killing thoughts.
It’s normal to be paralyzed by negative emotions when stepping out of your comfort zone. However, Angie Morgan, cofounder of the leadership consulting firm Lead Star and co-author of Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, suggests that you challenge these negative feelings.
“If it is real, decide how you would manage it,” Morgan says. “If you’re manufacturing the danger, let it go.” The best way to go about this? 20-minutes of daily meditation.
6. Take care of your health and well-being.
In my opinion, taking care of your health and well-being is self-explanatory — but it’s not self-explanatory to some people. If you don’t feel good emotionally, mentally, or physically, then how can you be confident in your performance?
Mainly this is because physical activity releases endorphins. It also boosts your energy and reduces stress. And, one study found that it can improve body image and self-esteem.
7. Rethink your inner circle.
How can you become more confident when you’re surrounded by negative individuals. You know who I’m talking about. Those toxic, naysaying folks who hold you back.
Instead, spend more time with those who are supportive and inspiring. They should also be the ones who will build you up instead of tearing you down.
8. Implement a “Daily Success Review.”
According to Meg Sigler in a piece for Psychology Today, this is similar to the gratitude exercise “Three Good Things.” For those unfamiliar, this is where you list the awesome things that you experienced during the day. To make this stick, however, you also need to explain why.
In this case, though, you want to “focus on three successes, large or small, that you had on a particular day.” Next, set aside just 3-minutes to reflect or write down your accomplishments.
Sigler clarifies that you should bask in both major accomplishments and small wins. “By focusing on daily victories, you reinforce your constructive actions and thoughts,” writes Sigler. As a result, you’ll be more likely to repeat this behavior and become more confident along the way.