Confidence at work

I have just updated the About this site page, which previously had said very little about what this blog was about and my underlying philosophy. Please have a read some time and let me know what you think.

Last week I was on a 5 day, 8.30 – 5.30, course – the first time I’ve been on such an intensive course for many years. Despite this intensity – it was interesting that the 45 of us on the course attended everyday, no-one going off sick, and everyone arriving on time and staying till the end of the day. Usually on one day courses starting at 9.30 and finishing at around 4.00 you don’t get that dedication!

The reason for the 100% attendance? It was clear from the outset that we were going to develop a huge amount professionally. One of the course tutors said:-

“with the new skills and insights you develop during the course, your confidence is enhanced, and you have a new language to advocate the service can deliver.”

And I have to agree. Despite working for over twenty years as an Occupational Therapist, I have come away from the course with new skills and definitely a renewed self confidence in myself as a clinician.

I should stress I hadn’t seen myself as lacking confidence at work, far from it. But its amazing how we can get into comfortable “groves” (or comfort zones) in employment, and other areas of our lives. We don’t stretch ourselves, unless pushed.

Without new challenges and the constant awareness that you are “on top of your game”, its easy for confidence to fade – or be lost quickly if things go wrong. This was illustrated last week in Confidence making bread when I talked about England, the supposed weaker team, beating Australia in the Rugby World Cup. OK, that was also an excuse to say we have now beaten hosts France and are through to the final!!!!!!!

Whatever work you do, it should be possible to stretch and develop – its not the prerogative of “professionals”. In my “About” page I list “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as one of my favourite Personal Development books – certainly the one that has influenced me most.

Csikszentmihalyi illustrates how surgeons – who are amongst the most highly skilled and respected professionals around – can become bored if their work isn’t structured to give ongoing challenges. He contrasts this with hill farmers in rural regions, working 16 hour days where work and leisure blend into one. Also, he shows how factory workers can find challenges – and “flow”- if their work and attitude towards it are well structured.

In confidence in your environment I stressed how we can make changes to our environment and change how we feel, and this affects our confidence. Likewise looking at how we can do our job better, improving our skills and setting ourselves ongoing challenges will indirectly improve self confidence. And improving skills includes personal development skills, such as assertiveness.

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