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Feeling Insecure at Work? Join the Club (And Overcome It)

Feeling insecure at work? Join the club!  Here's how to overcome it.

Webster defines insecure as not confident or sure. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt insecure at work. Whether you are new to a company or a veteran, it is completely natural to feel insecure. Being a millennial in the workplace can particularly increase this feeling.

By definition, insecurity is based on confidence; here are some tips to increase confidence and decrease insecurity  at work.

1. Change your body language.

There is a TED talk by Amy Cuddy called “Your body language shapes who you are.” It is about twenty minutes long, and worth every second. Amy has researched and proven that our body language governs how we think and feel about ourselves. She has done research on power poses and how they affect and change your mindset.

Power is associated with confidence and assertiveness. In the short TED talk, Amy shows some power poses that can be done before a job interview, big meeting, or when you are feeling less than confident.

2. Find a work ally.

Confidence can be built through an encouraging conversation with a friend or colleague. Find someone at work that you can trust and when you are feeling insecure, go to lunch or coffee with them and talk through your feelings.

3. Seek out feedback from your supervisor.

A mentor of mine once told me and a group of twenty-something women to constantly seek out feedback from your supervisor.

If you are doing a great job, their words should make you feel more confident in your work. If you have areas that need improvement, you can work on those and get better at your job.

Set up quarterly meetings with your supervisor to find out how you are doing and how you can improve at your job. Additionally, your initiative will impress your supervisor.

4. Learn from other great leaders.

When I am feeling insecure at work, I try to learn from other leaders. For me, I try to seek out advice from leaders I know, and from more prominent leaders. I have talked about this before in Why Learning Shouldn’t End with Graduation, but learning from others can make you feel confident. It can also teach you things to do to increase your confidence. Mentors in particular can be an outstanding resource to help decrease your insecurity.

5. Fake it ‘till you become it.

During the TED talk I mentioned earlier, Amy talks about the idea of faking it until you become it. We have all heard “fake it ‘till you make it” but she goes further. She talks about the idea of doing something that scares you so much that it becomes natural to you and a part of who you are. Doing something that scares you until you are good at it will absolutely increase your confidence.

6. Be an asset to your company.

Finally, be really great at your job. When you are an outstanding employee who adds to your team and company, your supervisors will notice it. When you add value to your company, you should feel confident knowing that you are an asset.

This won’t completely take away feelings of insecurity, but when you are feeling insecure remember you are an asset to your company.

Here are a few other ways to increase your confidence at work:

  • Join an employee resource or interest group
  • Join a professional group based on your age or career
  • Ask questions
  • Dress the part

We will also have moments of insecurity at work. It may come with a promotion, new job responsibilities, a big meeting or presentation. Regardless of why you feel insecure, work on increasing your confidence to help you be better at your job.

About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.