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


Confidence — one very tough customer to master.

If you’ve stood tentatively in front of an audience or felt like an impostor after being praised or promoted, I would place a wager those nagging feelings were rooted in a lack of confidence.

When you consider confidence in the workplace there are many platitudes, but few ring true.

How do you truly “believe” in yourself, in the workplace moments that matter most to your future? That simply cannot be addressed by rehearsed advice. However, I’ve stumbled upon one perspective that may hit home — and it stopped me cold.

I don’t often read magazines. Yet, when I visit my corner hair salon, I leave my phone at home and I unplug. I thumb through Glamour, Vogue, Allure most of which offer career advice. One column in particular  Glamour was authored by Mindy Kaling. I do realize she is not a traditional career writer (as she’s an actress). However, she has managed to accomplish career-wise, what few have in her industry.

Here is her thoughtful response to this question (posed by a nervous young girl at a speaking engagement), that she admittedly got all wrong in the moment:

“How did you build your confidence?”

Her eventual (revised) answer was direct and unapologetic. It went something like this (So sorry for the choice of words, they were hers and would lose something with an edit.): Work very hard. Know your $hit. Show your $hit. Then feel entitled.

I agree 100% that confidence is rooted in mastery. In experiences. In owning what you bring to the table.

Confidence comes from building feelings of self-efficacy in a wide range of situations. It requires challenge, mentorship, guidance and exposure. True confidence includes the notion that we are not entitled to rewards, simply because we desire them. Rewards come with time.

  • Confidence comes from working hard and learning from those around you.
  • It requires patience and the belief that you can learn something from every person and every scenario.
  • It requires adequate feedback and reflection.
  • It is the deeper realization that you can handle the problems (and people) that stand before you.
  • Confidence is earned.

When you practice your craft — confidence is 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. Rebound.
  • Master the competencies, you may require ahead of the curve.
  • Always continue to learn.
  • Grow.

And then — yes — feel entitled to some measure of success. Seek the opportunities that reward your hard work.

Thanks Mindy.

That clears things up.

What are your thoughts about building confidence? Share them.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, consultant and coach. She holds the role of Director of Organizational Development at Allied Talent, bringing the principles of The Alliance to organizations worldwide.

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

  1. Good article. Readers who enjoyed this might also enjoy…
    “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” 2010
    by Shawn Achor

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