Whether you’re an intern, a mid-range employee, or a co-founder and CEO, we all feel the work blues sometimes. Work-related or not, it’s your responsibility to pull yourself out of your funk and get your confidence brewing again.
So here are some tips to help you feel more confident, professional and powerful in your workplace.
1. Stop justifying yourself
It’s a proven fact: women apologize more than men. But while some think that it is because women are simply more polite than their male counterparts, studies show that’s not necessarily true.
For women, success comes with conditions. They are told to be confident, but not bossy; assertive, but not mean; smart, but not condescending. Oftentimes you see women professionals in leadership roles struggling to earn credibility and respect from their workers because of their gender. And while that’s a bigger problem we must fight together, there are some smaller battles for you to fight, and win, on your own.
Start with the simple solutions: stop apologizing and own your accomplishments. A former female Google and Apple executive also suggests that women stop using the word ‘just,’ as this is also a term that is apologetic in nature and using it may cause others to undermine your authority. If you fix your vocabulary and begin to respect your accomplishments, others will too.
2. Power pose
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a TED Talk on how changing your body’s position can actually change your body’s chemistry. She conducted research at Harvard University and concluded that power poses (poses in which one opens up their body to be as expansive as possible) can actually increase testosterone levels, making you feel (and appear) more dominant and powerful. These power poses can also lower your cortisol levels, the hormone in your body responsible for stress.
Some of these poses include the “Superman” pose (standing tall with your feet shoulder-length apart, your hands on your hips and your chest puffed out) or leaning on your desk with your hands when speaking to a co-worker. Both effectively making yourself feel more dominant and powerful.
3. Dress to impress
A study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology claims that the better you dress, the more productive you will be at work. This is because not only do others take you more seriously based on your professional appearance, but you will in turn take yourself more seriously.
Another study proved that you can actually perform cognitive tasks better depending on what you wear. This was demonstrated by students who wore doctors’ lab coats and performed better on cognitive tasks than students who wore regular clothing.
So, dress to impress everyday, and you will no doubt feel more confident.
4. Instead of sipping caffeine, eat green
When you’re feeling down on yourself at work, chugging an espresso may not always be the best way to fix your slump. Instead, try eating foods that are known to increase your brain power.
While coffee may give you an instant boost, you will either need to continue drinking it to maintain that boost. Or if not, allow yourself to crash later. However, if you invest in eating healthier snacks when you’re feeling down instead, you can sustain your productivity, alertness and energy even better than coffee or energy drinks can.
5. Stay Organized
Even if you are a naturally messy person, an organized desk or work space can help your mind feel less cluttered, too. Not only will the appearance of organization feel more impressive to outsiders, but it may also help you stay on task and deadline.
Research suggests that when people work in a space that is completely comfortable and casual (think: employees who work from home), they are less productive because of their environment. Whether you work from home or not, make sure your workplace is organized and separate from distractions.