We all have times when we don’t feel confident or are even worried about what we’re supposed be doing. Often the reason for the worry is that we’re not certain what we should be doing.
For example, when you first start a new job, it’s hard to feel confident, particularly if you don’t know much about the job and what’s expected of you. The same goes for self-employed people as well – whether starting a new project or building a new website or creating a new piece of art, there’s that moment when your confidence deserts you because you’re not sure what the next step is. The less we prepared we are, the harder it becomes to feel confident.
The solution is simple – Have a plan. Be prepared.
Do what you can to be prepared for the situation.
The action of preparing alone will make you feel more confident because it gives you a feeling of control. If you know how you will respond in certain situations, then it becomes easier to at least look like you know what you’re doing. And the new knowledge you learn and the skills you’re acquiring while you’re planning and preparing doesn’t hurt either.
Start by learning more about what will be expected of you.
If we go back to using the example of a new job, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself in advance.
- Talk to the person in charge of hiring you for the new job,
- chat with future colleagues,
- have the person currently holding your job give you a quick rundown, and
- take a tour of the new job site
All of these actions will leave you feeling more in control of the situation and confident that you can handle whatever comes up because you have a general idea of what to expect.
You can do this same “initial information gathering” in any other situation where being more prepared will be helpful. Here’s a few more examples:
- If you’re building a new website, start by researching the topic and checking out the competition.
- If you’re starting college, tour the campus, figure out where your classes will be, and get a course syllabus for each.
- If you’re becoming a new parent, take classes, read books, hang out with parents of babies, and do a little babysitting yourself to gain experience.
- If you’re getting ready to spend time in a new country, learn some of the language, meet a few people from there, study the culture, and try some of the food.
You’re getting the idea, right?
Figure out what you don’t know yet.
Once you have that information, it becomes easier to determine what you need to learn, and then start studying and gaining experience. This whole idea goes back to what we talked about earlier. The fear of the unknown is much greater than when we sit down and figure out what we don’t know precisely. Once you know what you don’t know, you can start to take action and that’s always one of the best confidence boosters.
Give it a try the next time you’re in a situation where you don’t know what to do. Instead of letting fear and worry take over, take charge by figuring out what’s expected of you and start learning as much as you can about it. It’s a strategy that’s served me well over the years, and I’m sure it will work for you too.