The Everyday Guide to Workplace Confidence: Work Hard & Yes, Feel a Little Entitled


Confidence is one very tough customer.

If you’ve ever stood tentatively in front of an audience — or felt like an impostor in the face of a new Challenger — I would place a wager that those nagging feelings were rooted in your level of confidence. When considering workplace confidence, there are many platitudes but few really ring true. How do you truly believe in yourself when faced with the moments that matter most? Those situations simply cannot be tackled by adages or quotes to “Fake it until you make it.”

So…how do we build confidence?

Well, I’ve stumbled upon one perspective that hit a nerve of truth (reading it stopped me cold).

I don’t often read magazines. Yet, when visiting the hair salon I often thumb through the pages of Glamour, Vogue, Allure — and they all offer their own brand of career advice. One particular career column in Glamour was guest authored by Mindy Kaling. (She is not your traditional career writer. However, she has managed to accomplish career-wise what few have in her industry.)

Her thoughtful response to a question posed by a nervous young girl at a speaking engagement says it all.

“How did you build your confidence?”, the attendee posed.

She was resolute that she fumbled the answer in the moment— offering her stable, strong upbringing as the reason. But, her revised response was both direct and unapologetic. It went something like this (an apology for the word choice, they were hers and would prove diminished by an edit):

Work very hard. Know your $hit. Show your $hit. Then feel entitled.

I absolutely agree — that confidence is rooted in mastery. Not in fluff or empty quotes.

Confidence us rooted in experiences. In owning what you bring to the table. Confidence comes from feelings of self-efficacy in a wide range of situations. It requires challenge, guidance, sponsorship, balanced exploration and failure.

True confidence acknowledges that we are not entitled to rewards simply because we desire them. Rewards come with time and work. Confidence comes from putting forth smart, selective effort.

  • It requires patience — and the belief that you can learn something from every person and situation.
  • It requires both feedback and reflection.
  • It requires an unfiltered look at our strengths and weaknesses.
  • It requires the deep sense that you can handle the problems (and people) that stand before you.

When you embrace these elements  — confidence becomes your entitlement.

  • Seek broad experiences and “challenge assignments”.
  • Develop a deep knowledge of your industry and its current experts.
  • Push yourself. Get up when you fall. Alter your course.
  • Find an individual who helps recognizes and invests in your talent.
  • Be aware of the competencies required to stay ahead of the “disruption curve“.
  • Continue to learn.
  • Grow.

And then — yes — feel entitled to some measure of success.

Through all this, I suspect that confidence arrives unannounced — with little fanfare.

It takes hold and lives in your workplace soul and cannot be measured by the sum of your individual experiences.

It’s more akin to letting a gorgeous, glistening wave roll over you.

Thanks Mindy.

That clears things up.

What are your thoughts on building confidence? Share them.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

4 thoughts on “The Everyday Guide to Workplace Confidence: Work Hard & Yes, Feel a Little Entitled”

  1. By learning, sharing, teaching others you build a confidence. Your attitude & level of acceptance, patience, compatibility flourishes the confidence. This short & sweet guide has helped me a lot. Thanks. Keep it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. i totally agree with mindy. But what stood out the most i think is about knowing your stuff. Thus, knowledge and skills are very much important in gaining and reflecting confidence. once u know ur stuff nothing else matters.

    Liked by 1 person

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