Are you a woman who works outside the home? If so, do you feel that a lack of confidence is holding you back in your career?
If so, then you are not alone. According to a recent UK survey 48 per cent of women believe this to be the case. And it is not an exclusively female problem. Many men too have confidence issues.
Natasha Fennell, who is originally from Salthill and is co-director of Stillwater Communications, maintains confidence can be learned and developed.
She has spent many years training people for media appearances, job interviews and presentations and noticed that a lack of self confidence was all too common among those who sought out her skills. After months of research Natasha is on a mission to make Ireland confident and is giving workshops on confidence building. She will deliver her “Build your career with confidence” talk at the Image magazine networking breakfast at the g hotel on Thursday next
“A lack of confidence is contagious,” she says. “We can see how lack of confidence in the economy impacts on all aspects of society, right through to the individual. Where I see it most on a day to day basis is in the workplace.”
When leaders and staff lose confidence in themselves and in their ability it sets them back, often to a point of paralysis, she outlines.
It can spread like a virus among a team or even an entire organisation, leaving people feeling powerless.
We are being bombarded with myriad mixed messages telling us what is best for us regarding our careers and personal lives.
“Our careers are such a huge part of our lives; we spend at least one third of our waking hours working. On the one hand Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg is telling us to ‘Lean In’ and get our feet firmly under the boardroom table while Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post is telling us that there’s more to life than money and power.
“Essentially, my message is to believe in what you have to offer, as an employee or as a leader, and decide what kind of life you want to lead. Work from your own internal drive rather than from external influences. Having your own sense of self and direction is what confidence is all about.”
Fear of failure
She describes confidence as the belief that, once equipped with the knowledge and skills, you can complete a task without being paralysed by fear of failure. This fear is what stops many people from moving forwards, from taking risks and from progressing.
Natasha, who is developing confidence workshops for teenagers and young people starting out in their careers, says students’ confidence is especially challenged during their Leaving Cert year and after they finish college and enter the workplace.
“This is particularly difficult at the moment with all the uncertainty surrounding jobs. A future in Ireland seems out of reach for many people. Quite often young people won’t listen to sound advice from their parents so I work to help them figure out what drives them, what motivates them and what they feel passionate about - if anything. I help them to figure out what path will best suit them.”
She believes we all lack confidence in some aspects of our lives, no matter who we are. Some people, for example, are more confident in their role at work than they are as a parent while others may be confident among their friends but not at school or college.
She offers the following tips to help people build their careers with confidence:
Stepping stones to success
1. Define what success means to you. We get so many mixed messages about this. Identifying it is the first step to building a happy and successful career.
2. Discover what motivates you. What are the elements of your work that you feel most passionate about?
“Many of us wonder why we do not enjoy our jobs but unless we have what is called an ‘internal drive’ keeping us motivated work can be a nightmare and Mondays mornings can fill us with dread,” says Natasha Fennell.
“Therefore, figuring out what you what makes you jump out of bed in the morning is the first essential step to building your career confidently.”
3. Identify your values. Figuring out what matters to you is really important. Is it family, money, power, success, honesty? Put your values down in order of preference and choose the top three. These are your compass and should direct you towards an organisation or a profession that is best suited to you. Many people end up in jobs where their own and their organisation’s values are in conflict with each other resulting in unhappiness at work.
4. Believe in what you have to offer. Understanding the value of what you have to offer an organisation is essential to being confident at work.
“Write down all your skills (what you know ), examples that demonstrate these skills and your traits (your characteristics ). There’s nothing like seeing your competencies in black and white to remind you of what you can bring to an organisation.”
5. Master your skills. Once you’ve identified what you really enjoy doing and are good at the objective then is to strive for excellence. They say that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Perfecting your skills can bring you to another level of confidence and enjoyment at work.
PLEASE BOX BELOW
Natasha Fennell has developed a series of workshops and talks under the banner “The Art of Confidence”. These include “The Art of Confidence at Work”, “The Art of Confidence for Leaders” and “Build Your Career with Confidence”.
She will speak on “Building Your Career with Confidence” at the Image magazine networking breakfast at the g Hotel on Thursday September 12 at 7.30am. She will be joined by Joan Mulvihill, the chief executive of the Irish Internet Association and former Image Professional Businesswoman of the Year. She has a background in retail, manufacturing and professional services.Vicki O’Toole, the managing director of JJ O’Toole Ltd, suppliers of branded packaging and Image Businesswoman of the Year 2011, will complete the line up. She will share her inspirational story of how she dramatically restructured her company’s business model saving it from collapse.
The event is one of a series of nationwide Image networking breakfasts which aims to bring professional women together to exchange stories and experiences.
Natasha’s talk will provide the audience with steps to help them review their careers, challenge themselves on what matters most to them and provide a path to help them get to where they really want to be.
To book a ticket for the Image breakfast in association with Brown Thomas contact (01 ) 2719616 or email [email protected]
Natasha will be giving workshops on “The Art of Confidence” throughout the country this year. For further information telephone her at (01 ) 6770630 or email [email protected]