There comes a point in every woman’s career where she feels unimportant, inadequate, or just plain lost. It can feel impossible to get out of a career slump when nothing seems to be going right, especially when others can tell you feel uneasy about your abilities and position.
There are loads of strategies to help you find your footing, like networking with the right people and forgoing Netflix during the week, but every “next step” has a prerequisite — regaining your confidence — and that’s what’s on the agenda for this article.
Here are four concrete recommendations that helped me find my footing and get ahead in the many industries I have worked in. These tips are things every woman should be doing in the office to show everyone, including and especially themselves, that they are capable of that next level they are working toward achieving. Hint: they all revolve around being an effective and fearless communicator.
Speak up in meetings
Do you view meetings as boring and unproductive sessions that do nothing but waste your time — a.k.a. opportunities to daydream about weekend plans? You’re not alone. A lot of meetings actually are unnecessary, and the majority of employees dread attending them. Unfortunately, skipping that mandatory Monday meeting is never a good look, and it’s a missed opportunity if you are trying to get your groove back.
Bring energy to these meetings. Walk in with a smile, take notes while your manager is speaking, and ask questions as he or she wraps up. Engage yourself in what’s being discussed and offer insight into whatever it is that you find most interesting in the conversation.
Showing those higher up on the corporate ladder you have a voice that should be heard loud and clear conveys to them you have what it takes to deal with important tasks. Distinguish yourself from your coworkers and make it known that you are different (in a good way).
Propose new project ideas
Nothing says, “I’ve got this!” like suggesting a project at work.
Whether your role is minimal, major, or somewhere in between, your perspective matters. And the more often you do this, the better the chances of your suggestion being carried out, and the more respect you’ll receive from your superiors.
Doing things to make your boss notice you is a strong way to get you to that next level and give you a leg up in the company. Are you the boss? Encourage your team members to be creative and speak up. Create an environment that fosters innovation by sparking an open dialogue with them, making sure they feel welcome to bring new ideas to the table.
Be nice to your clients or customers
This one sounds too easy, but are you actually doing it?
We tend to get very lax about our daily routines the longer we work somewhere, going through the motions of getting back to this person or dealing with this customer complaint. But apathy will not get ahead in your career (or in life); instead, you’ll become stagnant.
Go out of your way to send a client a thank-you note or a “How are you?” email. Pick up the phone and call a loyal customer to tell them about a new product or feature your company is rolling out.
If you’re thinking about starting your own company or are in the middle of doing so, first of all, congrats! Second of all, get out of your comfort zone. Reach out to everyone in your network to tell them about your new venture — and not through a mass social media post. Take the time to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. Make the time to meet new friends and potential future customers.
Trust me. Striking up conversation with people is an incredible (and incredibly easy) way to feel good about what you are doing and good about yourself in general.
Ask (a lot of) questions
There is always something new to learn from the company you work for. If you aren’t asking questions, start asking them today. And if you’re already asking questions, keep asking and ask more.
Ask questions about everything to everyone. If you’re curious how your coworker made a mega sale, ask them how they did it. If you want to gain a better understanding of how the marketing department works, ask the marketing manager how they connect the statistical side of things with the consumer side of things.
Being curious and asking questions is an unshakeable way to feel more confident about your company’s mission and bottom line, which leads to feeling more empowered in your own role.
Takeaway career confidence tips
Take the initiative to speak up in the office
Never be afraid to propose new ideas (the bigger the better)
Constantly ask questions
Assert yourself in your workplace consistently and respectfully
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Ashley Alt is a creative writer specializing on topics all self-driven women can relate to. She is known for her fashion forward sense of style, obsession with healthy snacking and honest life advice. Her dream of living in NYC will become reality when her toddler goes to college. https://www.ashleyalt.com/