~ Nadia Sayeh
Over the last seven years, I’ve noticed that even the most accomplished professionals will suffer a crisis of confidence — and that crisis often hits when the stakes are the highest.
For example, I recently met with someone who was preparing for a second interview with a company. Although she’d made it to the second round, she felt her first interview hadn’t been her best and now the pressure was mounting in her chest as she prepared for the second. Instead of feeling excited about the opportunity — this was her dream job — her anxiety about it was spilling into other aspects of her life; she’d been arguing with family over minor issues and she was experiencing awful heartburn and sleepless nights.
I see many powerful Muslim women who lead with great humility and gratitude. Ironically, I see some of the same Muslim women suffer from self-doubt when they want more for themselves. The good news is that these situations don’t have to result in a nail-biting, high-drama outcome in which one lives happily ever after or is banned from the dungeon of failure forever. With increased self-awareness, we can find confidence and power in these important situations and thrive regardless of the outcome. Here are three ways to do that.
PICTURE ALL ROADS LEADING TO SUCCESS
People who manage stress well know they have the power to have a great life regardless of a single outcome. Remembering that, for successful people, each road in life leads them to a different experience but all roads lead them to greater success.
Spend a few minutes highlighting where you bring great value to others in your life. Highlight some of the things that remind you that you are valued (include thank you letters from employees, testimonials, notes from loving kids and family). This helps remind us that our self-worth is not hinging on a single outcome.
WATCH WHAT YOU SAY TO YOURSELF
When self-doubt creeps in, oftentimes we indulge in thoughts such as “you’re not good enough for this job,” “what kind of answer was that?” “what’s wrong with you?” and “maybe you don’t deserve this position.” Sound familiar?
Think of the last time you were supporting a loved one as they prepared for a big moment. Your instinct was probably to say words that raised their belief system about themselves. Write down the supporting statements you’d make to that loved one. Notice which ones are true for you. Write them on sticky notes and place them in your car, desk, and on a mirror.
REMEMBER THAT BELIEF DRIVES ACTION
Imagine someone you admire who has the skills to be successful in a situation that’s causing you anxiety. Close your eyes and picture them entering the room. Picture how they move. Picture what they would say. Picture their introduction and handshake. Now, picture what they would believe about themselves at that moment.
Normally, confident people believe something different about themselves than self-doubters. Confident people might believe “I’ve got this!,” “This is easy!,” or “This is no problem!” Choose one belief and make this your mantra.
To circle back to the powerful executive, she invested heavily in getting support to grow her confidence through this interview process.
Unfortunately, after multiple interviews, it came down to her and one other candidate and she was not extended the position. I expected her to be more upset, but she said that given how good she felt during the final rounds of the interview process, she knew she had put her best foot forward. She also realized that she was excited about the idea of interviewing with other companies and couldn’t wait to see what was possible if she started future interviews with the same level of confidence.