Working Towards Confidence

After I published a post last week on the importance of asking for what you want, I heard from a lot of you about your own experiences in the workplace. I heard from ladies in London, Paris, Bucharest, and Australia who told me about things that they wanted but didn't know how to ask for, or maybe were afraid to ask for. 

It got me thinking about confidence and how it relates to your professional life. From the post I wrote last week, it might seem like I have a lot of it. Spoiler alert: I don't at all.

When it comes to work, I'm very confident in certain areas. I know when I've written a witty, spot-on line for a fashion mag, and I know when I send a good e-mail. (I give good e-mail, I think.)

But I'm incredibly self-conscious in other areas. One big one thing that I've never really told anyone until I said it outloud to my husband last week is the way that I speak: I'm really self-conscious about it. I don't have an impediment or anything like that, and if you've ever heard me talk before you might be surprised to hear me say this because I try to give off a confident vibe.

KULE Preston Cashmere Sweater | Thrifted Necklace

I'm a jittery type who loves coffee, so my brain moves way faster than my mouth. I'm constantly concerned that I don't speak 'professionally' enough, that my vocabulary isn't big enough, or that I'm too bubbly in professional environments and won't be taken seriously.

This is one of the reasons I like writing, because I know I express myself much more clearly when I write than when I speak. In-person brain storming sessions are a nightmare for me because my mind goes blank. But give me a quiet room, a cup of coffee, and a blank Google Drive page and I'm your girl. 

That's my sore spot professionally. No matter what impression others might have, I can never get over how insecure I feel speaking out loud.

Now, back to you guys: I heard a lot from women looking to take next steps in their career, either in a different industry or just for a job that they've wanted but been afraid to ask for. I spoke to a fellow blogger who had concerns about leaving the startup and freelance world and going back into corporate world – she was afraid that her skills might not transfer from one environment to the other but in the end decided to apply for the job she was right for, not the one that she was overqualified for.

I guess my point is that we all feel this way. You hear the statistics: women only apply for jobs they feel 100% qualified for, while men apply if they feel 60% qualified. While we may never fully get over our insecurities, we need to throw caution to the wind and learn how to at least live our lives with them. It's become obvious that if you don't go after what you want – and quickly – someone else will. 

I've already heard from some of you, but I'd love to hear more. What confidence issues do you face at work? Are you worried that you don't speak professionally enough? Or that you're not doing a good job? Afraid to ask for a raise, or to negotiate? Let me hear it, via e-mail or on social media. Let's talk this out.

Lower photo by D Watterson III