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How can I develop self-confidence at work?


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 28th October 2017, 7:07 PM   #1
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How can I develop self-confidence at work?

I started a new job about 6 months ago, and when I first started, I was filled with enthusiasm and excitement about the new project that I'd be working on. I got to know my colleagues, and I had a certain sense of vigor. Around the time that I started, another guy joined the team as well, and my boss let me know that we'd be working pretty closely together on the project.

A few days into the project, I realized how incredibly knowledgeable, competent, and intelligent this guy really is. He not only seemed to know everything about the subject like the back of his hand, but he picked up new concepts and topics with such ease that it seemed like he had worked on this exact same project many times before. I knew right away that he was brilliant.

Because we were working so closely together, I sort of unintentionally and unfairly started comparing myself to him--I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't help myself. I know this comparison was extremely unfair because he had over 6 years of prior work experience in this field, and this is my very first job in this field--I'm an entry-level employee, and he's much more senior.

As time passed, he started going above and beyond, impressing everyone on our team with all his suggestions and hard work, and assisting all the other teammates. Our boss recognized him with an award, and starting giving him more opportunities. At this point, I should have known that comparing myself to him was utterly nonsensical, but I still couldn't help myself.

I still work hard, read up on the subject outside of work, ask questions when I can, try to take initiative in my own way, and learn from this guy as much as possible, but somehow I just get this nagging feeling that what I'm doing is not enough. I feel as if my input and ideas aren't as valued as his (maybe that is true to an extent--considering he has much more experience). Whenever my coworkers have an issue with something, they always go to him before they come to me. Whenever they have important news to share or a question to ask, he's the first person they go to. I'm not sure if this is normal, but in a way, it's making me feel drained and worthless.

Many weeks ago, my boss came up to me and told that I'm doing a very good job, but I had a difficult time believing him. Perhaps I'm being hard on myself, but I'm not sure.

How can I stop comparing myself to him (and to everyone else), and get over this feeling? Realistically speaking, I know that I'm not my coworkers--I am myself and I shouldn't be comparing my performance to that of anyone else's. But it's just so difficult.
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Old 28th October 2017, 8:02 PM   #2
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there will always be someone at work who is better than you at something and someone below you that sees you as enviable and put together. you might not even know it, but i bet some of your co-workers look up to you the same way you look up to this other guy. imagine yourself as a role model to other people, because you might be. maybe look for ways to mentor and share knowledge with people below you as well - perhaps sharing your knowledge base will give a greater sense of accomplishment b/c they will see you as you see this other guy. some people do have natural abilities in some areas, but no one is a complete package. this guy might have it 100% together at work and be at 0% in his personal life, and you might be the opposite. you have to always remember that no one has it all and despite outward appearances he might suffer from insecurities too. it sounds like you're a valuable employee as well, and instead of being in awe of this person look at the skills you have that make you different from him. comparisons are a funny thing b/c they do make us feel inferior and the person you're usually comparing yourself to isn't worth the energy you could be devoting to yourself
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Old 29th October 2017, 3:30 AM   #3
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let go of that ego

humility comes with experience. instead of trying to play the one up game, listen. listen to how he interacts. how he comes to conclusions. listen to why other's respect his opinion. as you gain knowledge and confidence in your work, emulate the good things you see in him and strive to improve upon what he can teach you.
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Old 8th November 2017, 3:15 PM   #4
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I'm an academic, and we call this "imposter syndrome" - the belief that you are secretly a fraud and everyone is going to find out. The thing is - everyone has it, and nobody is actually a fraud - at least in the way you fear.

This guy probably comes across as really smart because he's well-spoken and confident - not necessarily because he's smarter or more capable. Confidence comes mostly from self-talk. You have the training, the education, the skills to do your job and do it well. YOU are the brilliant one. You just have to believe it. And until you believe it - pretend you believe it. ACT confident and you will appear confident and eventually you will be confident.

Also remember that this guy probably feels the same way at times - everyone does. Everyone has doubts about their capabilities, but they are just insecurities - not actual measures of your competency.

Fake it until you make it. It works, I promise.
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Old 30th November 2017, 3:10 PM   #5
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one way to stop comparing yourself to others is to widen your view so that you, and the others in the group your'e within, are part of the bigger world picture.

I don't know if you'll stay in this particular office forever. But assuming that you do not, then this brilliant coworker is actually part of your work experience. The future you, when entering other, future workplaces, will bring the experience with you of having worked closely with this experienced and intelligent person. And the future bosses won't know this current, bright coworker, they'll only see those things in you and in your work that rubbed off from the coworker's skills, if you watched and learned.

I would think that's the value of being someone who compares yourself to others-- you can also learn closely from them. Turn your painful tendency around into a valuable one.

Even if you develop your entirely unique way of doing the job, it feels less painful to be "coming from" or even "part of" a place with brilliant people. And if you get used to working with highly competent people, that probably shows. You'll be able to get along with, possibly one day manage, and appreciate a competent workforce. Maybe you're really into assessing and sizing people up-- again, that could be a strength if you let it.

Good luck!
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Old 10th January 2018, 10:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakrbbt View Post
one way to stop comparing yourself to others is to widen your view so that you, and the others in the group your'e within, are part of the bigger world picture.

I don't know if you'll stay in this particular office forever. But assuming that you do not, then this brilliant coworker is actually part of your work experience. The future you, when entering other, future workplaces, will bring the experience with you of having worked closely with this experienced and intelligent person. And the future bosses won't know this current, bright coworker, they'll only see those things in you and in your work that rubbed off from the coworker's skills, if you watched and learned.

I would think that's the value of being someone who compares yourself to others-- you can also learn closely from them. Turn your painful tendency around into a valuable one.

Even if you develop your entirely unique way of doing the job, it feels less painful to be "coming from" or even "part of" a place with brilliant people. And if you get used to working with highly competent people, that probably shows. You'll be able to get along with, possibly one day manage, and appreciate a competent workforce. Maybe you're really into assessing and sizing people up-- again, that could be a strength if you let it.

Good luck!

I can't stress how true this is. I actually just got transferred to a different location where I'm no longer working with this coworker. But I've learned a great deal from him, and feel like a much more competent employee because of it.
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Old 10th February 2018, 6:34 PM   #7
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You should not stop comparing yourself. You should gauge yourself off of this guy, just don't Grade yourself on a curve compared to him. Apparently he is the go-to guy and very good, he is what you should aspire to be. It's a great way to grow and become the go to person like he is down the road.


It all comes with experience and effort. Every job I have ever had it took about 6 months before I felt like I really belonged there. Usually in about another 6 months, I feel like I own the place and can pretty much do anything.


The current job I have now took me about 1.5-2 years to feel confident. I work with a group of people where any one of them is a star in the field we work in, as in you go around the country and people in the industry know their names from word of mouth. I had 3 people that were like the guy you described in different areas and I latched on to them, learned from them as much and as often as I could. If they were working their own project where I wouldn't get paid for it, I'd ask if I could help after hours and work on things in my free time to help them out in exchange for getting free training and I learned a ton. (When you tell them you are going to buy them lunch for helping you, follow through and buy lunch. Always works).


I guarantee if you judge yourself against this guy and strive to be at his level, learn everything you can from him and compare yourself to him only to see where you need to improve or learn, in another 6 months or maybe a year or even 2 you'll think about it and realize you rose to his level or even higher. You might also look back and realize you got somewhere in 2 years that took him 6 years.
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