How to Be Confident in Life and Your Career
Every single day we’re subliminally sold the idea that we’re not enough. We’re not pretty enough, smart enough, outgoing enough, you know the drill.
It can be a serious struggle to shake off these negative beliefs engrained in our minds year after year. Although I'm a pretty positive solution-oriented person, I won't pretend that I went unnoticed by the bullies and negativity my entire life.
I was bullied in elementary school.
One day the bullying got so bad that I have vivid memories of my mother picking me up and driving me home after an 'incident' on the bus.
This was the tipping point for me. Something changed within me that evening.
That day, I learned a very important lesson about projection, reframed my way of thinking, and made a major change in my life. This shit has changed my life and skyrocketed my confidence levels.
Projection is a self-defense mechanism characterized by a person unconsciously attributing their issues onto other people in the form of denial and delusion.
As a young 3rd grade student, I decided that I was going to continue to be my unfiltered self, and anyone who doesn’t like me, my personality, or my quirks could honestly screw off in the nicest way. I grew up with a live and let live mentality. As long as you’re not hurting anyone or being mean, do you fam!
But not everyone follows this logic.
So over the years, I’ve had to develop and redevelop confidence in all aspects of life, and today I want to share my best tips for feeling confident so that you can be yourself and live your best life. None of these are an over night fix, but they're lessons that helped me along the way.
In high school, when I asked other students what they were going to study in college or where they wanted to attend, I would quickly be alerted that a person is going into a certain field because it guaranteed a certain pay right out of college. Being that we had just survived one of the largest financial crisis of our time and unemployment was hovering 10% at the time, I found it a little odd that anyone thought their four-year plan was guaranteed.
To be honest, I was going to college to study fashion design. I knew my future salary wasn't impressive, and I didn't care. I just felt very strongly that if nothing is really guaranteed in 'the real world,' I wanted to study something I loved and knew I'd figure out the financial side in due time.
I ended up dropping out of college and headed straight into the workforce when I was 21. Being the youngest person in the office and without a college degree, I certainly faced some stigma.
I think the best way to become more confident in your career is to always be learning. Even if you don’t have the job you dream of today, it doesn’t mean you can’t be learning new skills to get you there. Learn more about your industry, like really dive deep. If you’re in the startup world, know how much your company has in VC funding or if you were bootstrapped, learn more about what that really means. Learn about recent investments in your industry.
Know what’s going on around you. It’ll make you a better employee, well rounded, and more confident in networking and professional settings.
Do the research and learn how to get to where you want to be in today’s age. Looking at the resume of people you look up to is great, but understand that things change, especially if you’re working in digital marketing, development, or design. Know what’s popular and the industry standard now. Know how people are progressing, learning, and getting to new roles and heights in their career.
Set new goals for yourself and your career. Challenge yourself to learn one new thing to apply to work a month. Set bigger and better goals.
Network online, I don’t even network offline anymore.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a mentor, your boss, or friends that are succeeding in your industry.
Don’t trap or limit yourself by trying to live into the expectations you think you’re supposed to be living into. lHonestly, no-one cares.
To learn more about coding and web development: Treehouse
To learn my best professional development advice: Millennial Workforce Survival Guide
Blogging, creating, and releasing personal projects
Something that held me back from starting and launching a successful blog was always my fear of what other people would think. I would carefully craft posts and statuses based on what I thought other people wanted and expected of me. Instead of growing a successful blog, I ended up with a generic and basic blog with little to no traffic. The second I started being myself and using my name, that’s when things changed. I felt more confident, more offers came my way, and way more people were visiting my blog on a regular basis.
One of the many things that also held me back was the fact that my hometown peers would see my work if I advertised it on Facebook. What would they think? Am I trying too hard? To be honest, I don’t give a fuck and neither should you. I’m creating content that helps people live their best life, if someone wants to judge me for that, I’ll call it projection of the insecurities and fear they have and block them.
Another important thing to remember is, regardless of whether your project is online or in person, you have to learn how to take feedback, both positive and negative if you expect to grow as an individual and a professional. Learning how to take, hear, and respond to positive and negative feedback is a huge part of developing into a well rounded adult.
Another thing I hear people do is they place crazy timelines on projects. Launch today. Launch right now. Launch with what you have and continue to build on that later.
On being yourself
It's important in life to decide what's important to you and who you want to spend your time with. Spend time discovering the types of people you want to surround yourself with.
If someone is negative, you don't necessarily need to keep them around or go out of your way to hangout with them often.
If someone doesn't support you, they’re not your people. Not everyone will support you, and that’s ok. You don’t need to hold on to friendships and relationships that don't serve you.
On our relationship with our body
I'm officially at the point where I don't give a shit about anyone's opinion on my body, what I wear, or where I wear it. But that wasn't always the case.
I ran track in middle school and high school. The second I stopped running, the mix of shitty diet, lack of movement, and birth control made my body explode.
After I managed to make it back down to my natural weight, I started to notice myself becoming 'hippy'. My boobs were larger and so were my hips. I wasn’t necessarily fat, but I found myself no longer fitting into my clothing even though I was technically the same weight.
I loved my new body, but I couldn't understand why my dresses were suddenly too short and why my body seemed to fall out of my clothing. What's worse is throughout my weight changes, I was also being sexually harassed in the workplace by both men and women.
It's super important to accept that our bodies are unique and will change over time as we age, change our eating habits, activity levels, or produce children. Self-care and show yourself love. Talk to yourself with care, love, and respect.
Most importantly, never project your insecurities onto another person because of their body type.
Know that money doesn’t equal happiness and that owning things isn't a sign of wealth or success.
In 2014, I left NYC with a bag and a few thousand dollars. I rented out my apartment and decided to travel within the US. I'm from Long Island, NY and hadn't really explored outside of the state before. Living and working in NYC was all I had ever dreamed of, I had found myself in a really awesome apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with a job that paid me well enough to be a social human in a major city.
Although I was learning and earning the most I had ever made at the time, I hated my job. My co-workers were uninspiring and I hated the idea of growing with the company I was working with. When I quit my job in NYC, I decided to test out freelancing again. I had freelanced when I was 19 making $500 a week writing for a small business on Long Island, so I figured I could find a way to make money on the go.
During my travels, the second I stopped worrying about money everything started to happen.
I was traveling without a laptop since I had a beautiful iMac at home and always had a laptop provided to me for work. I decided to drop $150 (a total splurge at the time) on a Chromebook and used it to purchase a ticket to my next destination.
A few days later I received a call from a client that wanted to work with me on a few projects, which meant this girl had cash coming her way again for the first time in almost two months!
At first, I didn't make nearly as much money freelancing as I did at my job in NYC, but nothing could change the feeling I felt every day waking up knowing that I wouldn't have to drag myself into the office that I didn't like, where I wasn't accepted.
Recommended reading: No B.S. Wealth Attraction In The New Economy
Lets talk about feelings of uncertainty, scarcity, and negativity.
If you’re negative, you’re going to attract negative people in your life. End of story.
If you’re a freelancer and you think you’re in competition for work and that there’s not enough work to pay the bills, you're probably going to lead yourself to have a stressful freelance career.
I didn’t grow up with money growing up, but I always knew that I would always have exactly what I needed. If I needed more hours at work, more money, more knowledge, more space, I knew I could figure it out if I wanted to.
There has nothing that’s changed my life more than changing my mindset. Don't get me wrong, life, jobs and businesses take a lot of work, but it feels a lot different when you're thinking about it all in a positive light.
As always, if you like this advice, I share my best tips on negotiating your salary, finding a job you love, growing your network and working remotely in my Workforce Survival Guide.
What pieces of advice helped you in gaining confidence in your life and career?