What To Do When Your Confidence is Shaken

Low feelings of self-worth and lack of confidence can undermine your potential to find a new job, get a promotion or ask for a salary increase. These limiting beliefs and negative mindsets often find their roots in old wounds and scars that haven’t fully healed or from negative experiences at a current or former job.

Perhaps you were laid off, or let go of for reasons you don’t fully understand? Or worse, you were harassed, discriminated against or experienced workplace conflict beyond your control?

It could take months or even years to recover from these kinds of negative experiences and as a result, you might find that you talk uncomfortably about while networking, or that you fumble in a job interview, feeling even more vulnerable and exposed to criticism and judgement.

If this has happened to you, it’s important to do the work to heal from the experience and regain your confidence.

Here are eight ways to regain your sense of self-worth when something happens in your career that is beyond your control:

1. Talk to someone
If a negative experience is shaking your confidence, talk to someone right away. See a therapist, talk to a close friend, or work with a coach but get the story out of your system. Tell it to trusted confidants, analyze it, rehash it, and do whatever you need to do to give it some room to breathe and to let the energy move through you.

2. Journal
Journaling is a great way to process feelings. Write out the story and start moving the energy on paper. Then write down the thoughts or beliefs that you have about yourself as a result of this negative experience. Finally, brainstorm at least three to five reasons those limiting beliefs and thoughts aren’t true.

3. Write a letter
Write a letter to the person who wronged you. Tell them how they made you feel and elaborate on your side of the story, but don’t send it (obviously). Burn it, tear it up or keep it for reflection.

4. Work on forgiveness
Do the work towards finding forgiveness for the person who wronged you — not for their benefit, but for yourself. If this experience has a hold over you, forgiveness is a pathway towards allowing it to ease its grip. Practice acompassion meditation or do Hoʻoponopono, a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness where you imagine the person who hurt you while repeating the mantra, “I love you, please forgive me, I am sorry, thank you.”

5. Practice, practice, practice
Rehearse before going into a networking event or job interview. Practice the part where the vulnerable feelings start to arise, so that you can move past them without getting triggered in public. Remember, you don’t have to give all the details in a story about yourself — just the highlights will do in the beginning.

6. Surround yourself with support
Know who your champions are and go to them when you need support. My friends are amazing cheerleaders who I go to when I need a pump-up or a confidence boost. Perhaps it’s your family or your mentors? Just go to them over and over for support during this time or imagine them standing behind you like cheerleading squad when things get tough.

7. Work with a coach
It’s hard to figure out how to tell your story when you’re struggling with difficult feelings or emotions, so getting an objective person to help you craft your messages can be very helpful. Consider hiring a coach or consultant who can help you write copy for your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter that exudes confidence. This person should also be able to help you practice your elevator pitch and your career story in a way that allows you to feel more empowered.

8. Practice self care
During this time of uncertainty when your self-esteem is compromised, your biggest job is to take care of yourself. Take a bath, take a nap, go to yoga, or for a run. Whatever makes you feel loved and cared for is your biggest priority. Perpetually practice the art of self-love.

Ultimately your success in the workforce depends on your moving past these negative experiences, back to a place of confidence.