5 easy ways to boost career confidence at Christmas – Birds on the Blog

5 easy ways to boost career confidence at Christmas

How’s work? More specifically, how’s your career confidence doing?

66% of women experience a slump in career confidence in the run-up to Christmas.

Curious isn’t it. 66%* of women experience a slump in career confidence in the run-up to Christmas. Why is that, you’re wondering.

Maybe you didn’t get the bonus you expected. Your payrise was disappointing. Or work is slowing down so you have more time to sit and reflect. Or the whole work-life balance juggling act feels harder when you are trying to negotiate the last-minute-school-Christmas-jumper-requests alongside writing Christmas cards, sorting out pet sitters, and figuring out whether you’ve got enough plates for everybody coming to Christmas dinner.

*By the way, for the sake of transparency, I should point out that the 66% is based on a small randomised study of 3 women I talked to this week.

You don’t want to go through Christmas and New Year feeling, well slumped. A bit wobbly in confidence. No, you want to start the New Year feeling feisty, positive and confident.

5 easy ways to boost your career confidence at Christmas

Let me share 5 easy ways for you to boost your career confidence at Christmas and into the New Year. My coaching clients love these strategies and I hope you’ll love them too. Pick just one or two of these ideas. You don’t need to do them all. And then bookmark this page to come back to the other ones a few days later.

1 – Celebrate your achievements

As we rush from one project to the next, one urgent report to the next, one client crisis to the next, it’s easy to forget what you have achieved through the year. We tend to focus on what went wrong rather than what went well.

Take time to list out all your achievements for the past 12 months. Everything that’s gone well. The little things as well as the big wins. What are you proud of? What did your clients love? What did your team finish on time and on budget? What are the highlights of your year?

It’s good practice to keep a running roll call of your achievements through the year. This gives you added confidence at review or appraisal time – whether it’s your appraisal or the ones that you conduct for your team.

Once you have your list, take time to reflect on what you have achieved and how you have done it. If this was somebody else’s list, what would you be thinking about that person? Give yourself credit for a job well done.

2 – Review feedback and testimonials

There’s nothing like an unexpected email from a client or a comment in a meeting from a colleague singing your praises to give you a little boost. What do you do with those emails and comments? Do you keep them? Many years ago when I was at Arthur Andersen, my manager seconded in from Chicago, taught me to file all those emails and comments in a “Kudos” folder.

Now is the time to review all those positive heart-warming words of praise. Read through them all. If you haven’t kept them in a separate folder in your email, create one now. Or print them out and keep a paper copy.

Go into your LinkedIn profile and read again the recommendations written about you. Don’t have any? Now’s a great time to ask people for recommendations. Not sure how to go about this, check out this article on the 7 essentials to get right on LinkedIn. Essential no 5 is all about asking for recommendations.

3 – List your strengths and talents

Women in particular seem to be shy away from identifying, acknowledging and taking credit for their own strengths and talents. Write down a list of everything you are good at doing. If that’s tricky, think about everything you find really easy. What are the skills and talents that you just LOVE to spend time on? If you asked your manager or a colleague, what would they say you have a reputation for?

Get really specific. If you are brilliant at marketing, what is it specifically about marketing that is your strength? If you are good with clients, what is it that you do that’s different? Do you find it easy to strike up a conversation? Do you notice the shifts in body language? Are you able to capture the words and language that they prefer?

One great way of seeing your strengths and talents is to ask friends who know you well or work colleagues, for feedback. Now that might feel a little awkward or a bit uncomfortable. It doesn’t need to be. You could send an email (though take care to be concise without too much fluff otherwise they’ll send you fluff back!). Ask people you trust and who can be objective and honest. If it feels weird, you can tell them you are following a career development programme or a personal development course – whatever feels right for you.

If you’re not sure of what to say, I’m going to share the wording that has worked for some of my Career Confidence clients. I always find it easier to tweak somebody else’s words.

Hi there, I’d love a quick favour from you as part of a career development programme. Could you give me some feedback.
What do you think I am good at?
What do you think I could do more of?
What do you think I could do less of?

It only needs to be as simple as this. The important thing is that the questions relate to these areas.

4 – Identify your learnings

What are your learnings from the past year? What new skills have you learned? What have you learned about yourself?

Maybe you have attended formal training courses or workshop. Perhaps you have gained greater insights into your leadership skills and potential through coaching. Have you attended a conference or a networking event? What about articles you have read, TED talks you have watched, podcasts you have listened to?

What have you learnt about the people you work with? Your management team? Your clients? Your industry?

What mistakes have you made and what have you learnt about you, your team or your organisation as a result? Don’t just focus on the mistakes – look back at that list of achievements and pick out the learnings there too.

What has happened unexpectedly and how did you deal with the situation? Is there a lesson to learn?

The more you learn and understand what you have done, and how you can improve, the more your confidence will grow.

5 – Observe someone you admire

This last ideas might feel a bit ‘stalker-ish’. Bear with me. Think about somebody in the workplace or outside work that you admire and respect. Over the next few days, pay closer attention to how they behave, what they say at meetings, how they prepare for client reviews, the way they respond to feedback etc.

What do you notice? What similarities are there in the way this person behaves and the way you behave? What are the differences? What can you learn from this?

I’m not for one moment suggesting that you model your behaviour and attitude on theirs, however sometimes we can learn from simple observation.

I love watching anybody who is brilliant at their job – whether it’s Customer Service Assistant at Santander who was so helpful and friendly earlier in the week or the speaker on stage whose presence filled the room.

Over to you

Even though you might be feeling a slump in your career confidence, pick one or two of these ideas (or even all five) and you will experience a boost that will set you up for New Year.

If you want some help on this and what to do next in your career, whether it’s a small step or a giant leap, let’s have a conversation. My 30 minute clarity calls are completely free of charge (daytime and evening appointments available) and gives you an opportunity to talk about where you are, what you want, and your next steps.

p.s. if you are curious about my Career Confidence programme, find out more about this 6 week course here. There’s a special Christmas bonus for bookings before Thursday 22 December.



About the Author Sherry Bevan

It can be hard to balance career and family. Sherry helps ambitious women get clear on what they really want, then find the confidence to do it. If today's the day, you want to put your head in your hands and cry, know you are not alone. Why not check out these tips on how to cope with overwhelm. Coach | Author | Speaker | Dog sitter

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