By: Katarina Kovacevic
Need a quick professional confidence boost? Here are 5 tips to help you step into your power and take your (deserved!) seat at that table.
- Ask For What You Want—And Stop Apologizing For It
It’s easy to believe that if you just work hard enough, bust your ass enough, show enough gratitude along the way, that you’ll just be recognized for it. It’s easy to assume that someone, anyone will recognize your effort the next time a big promotion or client project comes along. But, deep down, we know that’s not the way this world works. Dream big. Go big. Ask big. Be open and honest about your career goals. Ask. For. What. You. Want. And, stop apologizing. There’s no need—absolutely none—to be apologetic for having ambition. You hear me? Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Say No More Often
Do you really have time to take on that new project? Does that new client really fit in with your offerings, work philosophy or long-term business goals? If not, then say NO. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get completely clear on your work or business direction, and learn to turn down the projects—especially the “extra credit” ones, if you work for a larger company—that don’t fit in with this direction. Own your worth…and your time.
- Set Boundaries Around Your Time
If you’re an employee of a company, it can be difficult to set clear boundaries around your time and communication preferences, but it’s important to do what you can. The more you show people that you’re available anytime, via your personal cell phone, over messenger, etc., the more they’ll come to expect it. As a business owner, I’m strict about my boundaries. I don’t answer emails, phone calls or text messages outside of business hours, and I don’t work over the weekend. Period. If a client isn’t OK with this, it’s not the right client for me. Your boundaries may look different than mine and that’s fine. Just set them and stick to them.
- Stop Expecting Perfection
Perfectionism is a major confidence killer. Don’t expect it from yourself, your colleagues or your employees. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. Most often, it’s the situations where we fall short that present the greatest learning opportunities. Learning opportunities create experience, which builds confidence. Be a leader who turns losses into lessons.
- Don’t Use Qualifiers When You Speak
I am so guilty of this. It is a constant personal struggle. When you start sentences with qualifiers like, “I’ll have to double-check, but I’m pretty sure…” or “I believe the answer is…” it projects a lack of confidence. Of course I’m not saying to pretend you know the answer when you don’t. If you do need to check on something, it’s definitely OK to say, “I don’t know the answer to that. Let me check on it for you.” But when you know your sh*t, own it. “The email went out on Tuesday.” “The reason that headline won’t work is because it’s not a fit with brand standards.” “I chose that graphic because it’s the best example of our work and it fits into the submission guidelines.” Allow yourself the space to be direct!
Katarina Kovacevic is the owner of Redefined Communications, a company offering blogging and ghostwriting services for women in leadership, and female-focused and purpose-driven businesses. She’s also the founder and editor of RUBY Media, a digital media company that promotes female camaraderie, supports sisterhood and inspires women to make a difference in the world. You can connect with Katarina on Instagram or LinkedIn, or with RUBY on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.