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The Confidence to Go For It!

Table of contents for "Ask Kimberly" English Journal II

  1. Meaningless Meetings
  2. The Confidence to Go For It!
  3. Becoming Global-minded
2012-08-14 22.57.51(This article is part of a series originally published in Japan by ALC Press English Journal, and is written in “Global English”. CLICK HERE to see the accompanying video, spoken in “Global English”.)

QUESTION:  “My biggest problem is I lack the confidence to take on more responsibility at work. Now I’m watching less qualified people get promoted, and I’m jealous! Help!”

ANSWER: Watching other people get promoted into a job you believe you could do better can be a bitter experience. Do you really want to be promoted? According to neuroscience, human beings naturally compete for status, even when it’s meaningless. But if you really do want a promotion here’s my advice.

The Impostor Syndrome. Many perfectly normal people suffer from a shortage of confidence. The “Impostor Syndrome” refers to a tendency among successful professionals to believe that their successes are accidental and their achievements are due to luck.

Don’t Wait for Confidence. Fear of failure is the #1 reason people all over the world hesitate to accept new challenges. Taking on more responsibility at work carries the possibility of failure. But, confidence is not required – commitment is. Confidence is an unpredictable emotion, and not always desirable. In some situations it can be interpreted a lack of humility, and in extreme circumstances can seem like arrogance. Yuk!

Commitment Beats Confidence! Confidence implies that we are certain of success. But how can we possibly know for sure that we’ll be successful when we start something new? Commitment, on the other hand, is a promise that we make to do what is required to succeed, even though we may not currently know how to proceed.

Be Willing to Be Uncomfortable. Stretching outside of our comfort zone creates anxiety. Is being comfortable your #1 priority? If so, you probably won’t be willing to take risks to achieve your goals. What’s more important to you than your comfort? Be willing to be uncomfortable! Start by setting inspiring goals for your career, then make a plan of to achieve those goals. Make sure that you are excited enough about your future that you’re willing to take some risks to make it happen.

“Act As If”. Acting as if you already are the kind of person you want to be is a proven approach to becoming that kind of person. A popular way to say this is “Fake it ‘til you make it!

Find a Coach. The “little voice in our heads” utters many negative messages. It’s often easier for other people to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. Find someone who appreciates your gifts and is willing to encourage you. Meet with them regularly to discuss your goals and plans. And when your confidence falters ask them to remind you of how wonderful you are!

Being promoted isn’t the only sign of professional success. If you decide not to take on increased responsibility at work you might just end up working for a much less qualified person. But if you want a promotion don’t wait for confidence! Create your future through the power of your commitments.

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About the Author

Kimberly Wiefling is the author of one of the top project management books in the US, "Scrappy Project Management - The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces", and the founder of Wiefling Consulting, LLC, a scrappy global consulting enterprise committed to enabling her clients to achieve highly unlikely or darn near impossible results, predictably and repeatedly. Her work focuses on keynote speaking and workshops on practical and sensible business leadership and project/program management scaled for the size of the company and the project. She has worked with companies of all sizes, including one-person ventures and those in the Fortune 500, and she has helped to launch and grow more than half a dozen startups, a few of which are reaping excellent profits at this very moment. She spends about half of her time working with Japan-based companies that are committed to developing truly global leaders. Kimberly holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics from Wright State University and a M.S. in Physics from Case Institute. She spent 10 years at HP working in product development project management and engineering leadership. She worked with several startups, including a Xerox Parc spinoff where she was the VP of Program Management. In 2001 she launched her consulting practice and never looked back. She holds a certificate in project management through UC Santa Cruz Extension, where she is an instructor in the Project and Program Management Certificate Program. Kimberly spends about half of her time facilitating leadership, communication and execution excellence workshops for leaders of Japanese companies committed to becoming truly global. Thousands of people have viewed the hysterical video documenting the final phase of completing her book at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDCJBu3rdvk. You can reach her via email at kimberly@wiefling.com
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