Looking back at your career to-date, are there any pivotal moments that had a significant impact on your career trajectory?

  • Perhaps it was when you developed a meaningful relationship with an influential mentor.
  • Perhaps it’s when you raised your hand to volunteer for a special project that you knocked out of the park.
  • Perhaps it’s when you went on stage and completely failed.

That last one was one of my pivotal moments.

Early in my career as a brand manager at Kraft Foods, I was asked to give a formal presentation at the national sales meeting. I was honoured to be asked, and I prepared thoroughly.

When I finally got out on stage, my fight or flight response went into hyperdrive. My face turned red. My hands were clammy. I had sweaty armpits. I was shaking. I walked across the stage, grasped the podium, and read my presentation word-for-word from my written notes. All my preparation, expertise and confidence disappeared. It was a disaster. Remembering this experience, I feel so badly for my younger self.

When I got off-stage, my boss, Sandra asked, “are you OK?”

“No! I am definitely not OK.”

So what did I do? I found a quiet place to collect myself. And I made myself two promises:

  1. I will volunteer to give formal presentations every chance I get. Practice makes perfect, right?
  2. I will create a list of confidence hacks to help me boost my confidence.

This week’s Talk About Talk podcast ep.158 lists the top 7 “confidence hacks” that have worked over the years for me and my clients. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - Title Card

 

 

  1. Breaking the imposter syndrome cycle
  2. The (Magnificent) Seven
  3. Your personal brand is a confidence boost!

 

1️⃣ Breaking the imposter syndrome cycle

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - Imposter spelled out using word blocks

A while ago, when I was doing some reading on imposter syndrome, research paper after research paper highlighted that almost everybody experiences imposter syndrome; men, women, young, old, successful, and unsuccessful.

And it often causes a very stressful, and exhausting cycle of events.

People who feel like fakes or that they aren’t good enough will often work extra hard. This makes them feel better….temporarily. Then, they work harder to reach the next level. And so on.

This cycle is different from ambition. Ambition can play a role in the imposter syndrome cycle, but imposters have an underlying feeling of self-doubt, low self worth or self esteem, and feel very out of place, no matter what their accomplishments might indicate.

So how do you break the cycle and start to overcome imposter syndrome? You learn techniques to boost your self-confidence and establish your credibility.

2️⃣ The Magnificent Seven

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - Magnificent Seven - Seven cowboys lined up, aiming their guns

Any Quentin Tarantino fans out there? Or perhaps you’re a fan of the classic 1960 version?

For those of you not familiar with the movie, seven gunslingers are recruited to protect a town from either Mexican bandits or a villainous industrialist – depending on the version you’re watching.

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of “the power of three.” But sometimes three simply isn’t enough.

This is my Magnificent 7 – seven things (gunslingers) I work on with my clients so they have the skills to defeat self-doubt (the bandits/industrialist) and boost their confidence and credibility.

    1. Adopt a growth mindset – Focus on your genuine curiosity and desire to learn. It’s really hard to fail when you’re learning, isn’t it?

 

    1. Focus on your unique strengths. When you take the time to develop your personal brand and list your strengths and passions, your confidence will soar!

 

    1. Breathing – Slow your exhale. It’s easy and it works. (This is what I do first when I feel that shot of adrenaline!)

 

    1. Reframe your nerves as a positive – The shot of adrenaline you’re experiencing is the fuel that you need to perform. Instead of ruminating about those jitters you’re experiencing, relabel them as the positive energy that will help you shine.

 

    1. Copy someone else – When in doubt, copy someone else’s confidence whom you admire, or maybe copy the confidence you experienced in the past when you were successful.

 

    1. Positive self-talk – Provide yourself with a mental pep talk in second person, the way a supportive friend with would would talk to you. (“Andrea, you got this!”)

 

    1. Focus on your main point – If you’re standing on stage and lose your place, restate your main point. If you’re in a meeting and things are going off track bring people back to the main point on the agenda. Other people will appreciate it, and it will refocus your thoughts away from negative rumination towards what matters.

 

 

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - Framework Plaque

 

Your challenge is to identify which one or two of the 7 things you will try to boost your confidence in high stakes contexts.

 

3️⃣ Your personal brand is a confidence boost!

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - In a career context, building our personal brand is about establishing our professional identity. Once we've articulated our personal brand, our confidence grows, we establish credibility, and ultimately we can create real impact.

After coaching thousands of executives on developing their personal brand, I’m so pleased to have witnessed many benefits of this process. When you are disciplined and you take the time to articulate your unique strengths and passions, you can introduce yourself effectively, take control of your narrative, and benefit from improved focus and direction.

These are all significant benefits. But the most significant benefit of developing your personal brand is this:

Articulating your personal brand is a confidence boost.

The executives whom I’ve coached on developing their personal brand often talk about how the process of identifying their unique strengths and passions boosts their confidence in a variety of contexts, including answering interview questions, introducing themselves, making decisions about what projects or career prospects to pursue…

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - Ep 158 - 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence and Your Credibility - June 2024 Professional Identity and Personal Branding Bootcamp

If you’re interested in joining me in June and developing your personal brand, I’d love to have you join our bootcamp. More information here.

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:

  1. Breaking the imposter syndrome cycle
  2. The (Magnificent) Seven
  3. Your personal brand is a confidence boost!

Now, I have an announcement. After 158 episodes and more than 250 newsletters, I thought it was time Talk About Talk had a makeover.

You’ll see the results in the next newsletter. Stay tuned….I’m so excited to share with you what’s to come!

Until then, talk soon.

Dr. Andrea WojnickiDr. Andrea Wojnicki

Executive communication coach

 

 

P.S. – I have another newsletter on LinkedIn, called “Talking About Talk” with different coaching content than this one. You can join other ambitious folks and learn more by signing up here.