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Boost your confidence to reach the stars

Developing skills to maintain and lift your personal confidence could tip the scales from failure to success.

Whether you want to change jobs, influence stakeholders, implement new ideas or challenge the status quo, confidence is important.

Personal confidence is often a more important asset than any skill, knowledge, or even experience. For example, at a job interview, confidence – or a lack of it – will set you apart from others who are equally qualified.

Never before has confidence been more important in the NHS. Trusts are merging, jobs are being cut and many people are being redeployed – often having to reapply for their jobs. Confidence can be the difference between success and failure.

I am working on developing some of these skills through the Nurse First programme, a 12-month leadership initiative to help health professionals (not just nurses) working with patients or clients in the community. It is aimed at those who are not in senior managerial positions but would like to promote change or challenge the system.

So how can you develop your personal confidence? In the box are 10 tips that can help you grow in confidence.

Tips to develop your personal confidence

  • Take stock of where you are, plan for where you want to go and commit to your plan.
  • Visualise and set goals, as they help track success. Start with goals you know you can achieve – reaching them will boost your confidence.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. Do not try to do things all by yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who share your vision and will encourage you to grow.
  • Get a mentor/coach. Useful for sharing your vision and asking the questions that will enable you to fulfil goals, they will also hold you to account. Shadow more experienced professionals to observe different approaches you can try.
  • Seek out new opportunities and commit to your action plan. Hold yourself to account – it is through action that confidence grows.
  • Record and regularly reflect on what is working and what you must change. Congratulating yourself on small successes gives you the confidence to try bigger things.
  • Failure is not failure until you stop trying. Many who have achieved success had several failures along the way. The key is to learn from failure – review and fix it until you succeed.
  • Self-doubt is normal when trying new things. Deal with negative self-talk immediately. Don’t ask yourself why you should take on a new challenge, ask why you shouldn’t. If there is no evidence for not trying, then progress.
  • Believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. Be willing to take calculated risks, stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Remember, you fail in 100% of the opportunities you don’t go for.
  • Let others develop their confidence. Teaching new insights helps you to embed them so help others develop their confidence.

Ruth Oshikanlu is a nurse, midwife and practising health visitor in London. A coach and managing director of Goal Mind, she also works with individuals to uncover and analyse their key motivators, and coach them to perform at their best

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