“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't—you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
Self-confidence is believing in yourself. It is knowing that you have the ability to get the job done. Being able to articulate your strengths and abilities to your potential boss is the key to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Most people advance in their careers because they know what they want and they go after it. If you do not believe you can get the job done, how will you be able to convince the person in the interview to hire you? Good sales people are confident in the product they are selling. You are your own product—sell it well!
Study your craft
If you are new to an industry and feel a little intimidated, this is natural; however, you will have to study your craft to become great at it. Some people feel that learning ends once they have graduated from college. Continuing education and personal development should never end. In the legal world, things change constantly. Judges’ requirements and laws are constantly updated and it is extremely important to keep up to date with these changes. Seeking out learning opportunities on your own will be one of the best things you can do for your career. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert. Sometimes you will have to be the first one in and the last one out. As a newbie in the legal field, I used to volunteer for everything at my firm whether I knew how to do it or not. I wanted to be on every project even if it meant coming in on the weekends and staying late at night. After overhearing a conversation, I remember volunteering to prepare title claims and deed in lieu documents. At the time I did not even know what they were—I had never seen or heard of them before. It was a steep learning curve and I made a couple of errors along the way, but I had a great boss who enjoyed my enthusiasm and desire to learn.
Self-Doubt and Pep Talks
Self–doubt is inevitable—everyone feels this at some point in their lives. Questioning yourself and your abilities will occur occasionally. The problem is allowing self-doubt to linger. Napoleon Hill once said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve.” You will have to learn the value of self-talk and become your biggest cheerleader. Do not allow self-doubt to eat away at your self-confidence. As a way of overcoming self-doubt, some people say affirmations in the morning or read scriptures that help to center their thoughts and renew their confidence within themselves. It is about changing your mindset. Even if you have family and friends cheering you on, if you do not believe you can do it you will not. It starts with you.
I am currently in transition from being a paralegal to becoming an HR professional. This is new to me and I often feel I am starting over. Sometimes this comes with a lot of self-doubt—I am leaving something I am familiar with to enter a world that is new to me and, while it is challenging, I love HR and the passion drives me. Ultimately the biggest battle you will have to fight and win is with yourself.
Creating a Good Support System
Find an advocate at work, someone who is willing to mentor you in your professional development. They can help you navigate the workplace and give you tips on how to improve. It is always great to build connections within your place of employment. Having external mentors is essential to your career development as well. This gives you someone you can vent to about what is going on at work and never have to worry about it getting back to the boss. When you are down, it is wonderful to have people around you to remind you of how great you are.
Starting a new career and/or looking for new job opportunities can be scary, but self-confidence and perseverance can take you far. I was encouraged by an interview I saw with Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. In his interview he spoke about the importance of not giving up. He is quoted as saying, “I failed 3 times in college. I applied 30 times to get a job but I have always been rejected. When KFC came to China for the first time, we were 24 to apply and I was the one to be dismissed. I wanted to go into the police and 5 postulants, I was the only one not to be accepted. I applied 10 times to return to Harvard University USA and I was rejected.” It takes a lot of self-confidence to be able to pick yourself up and move forward after being rejected so many times. It all starts and ends with you. Had he given up or allowed self-doubt to take over, he would not be enjoying the success of Alibaba right now.
Tashania Morris, ALS, CDF, CPC, started her career as a paralegal. She has over six years’ experience in the legal field specializing in the areas of foreclosure and bankruptcy. She recently completed her master’s degree in human resource management which has equipped her with the tools needed to think strategically and develop creative solutions to problems in the workplace. As a Certified Professional Coach and Career Development Facilitator, she loves all things career and personal development. She is able to recognize people’s skills and abilities and enjoys working with individuals to figure out their “why.” Her mission is to engage, empower, educate, and promote change from within. If you have any questions about any of the articles written, suggestions about something you would like Tashania to write about, or enjoyed reading the article, send her a quick note. You can reach Tashania at firstname.lastname@example.org.