Self improvement requires an initial self assessment, and identification of those characteristics or shortcomings that you want to improve. Chapter one deals with learning to improve your self confidence, and in this chapter, you need to learn to be modest, insightful and self critical. Mostly we know those aspects of our character that we would like to change, but, modesty aside, it sometimes helps to get some feedback from someone else. So first of all, see what sort of list you come up with by thinking about what you believe you need to improve on. At work, of course, it is sensible to consider what it is you do well, but also where you might fall short a little. What is it you need to work on to give you the best chance for promotion? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the things you are good at will be sufficient. It is always worth improving your skills, and you never know how important that might be for your future. It also shows that you are not too big headed, and that you are prepared to work at things even though they may present difficulties for you.
For example, are you impatient, snappy, and too easily able to criticize others? Do you think you are always right, or more able than others? Or are you too timid or frightened to put yourself forward, always thinking that other people would do something better? Or are you worried that you are slow to pick up on things, or don’t like taking any risks, or worried that someone might laugh at your suggestions? Do you worry about the way you look, your clothes, your self presentation?
Each of the above categories reflects an area that you might want to change. Starting from the last first, self presentation is a great confidence booster, and good confidence levels will help you work positively towards your development. Check your wardrobe, check you hair style, and check your personal hygiene. All these things are just taken for granted by many, and sometimes we get a bit behind the times with our fashion sense, and sometimes slip into some lazy personal habits. However it is absolutely the case that the better you look, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more you feel capable of. Sometimes it helps to get a friend or relative to give you an honest assessment and make some suggestions. Take a deep breath, as you might not enjoy hearing that your clothes no longer fit you so well, or that you do wear unsuitable clothes to work. Ensuring that you look business like and professional is much, much more important than
trying to wear the absolute latest fashion, which might look great at a club, but not in the office! Sometimes time is tight, and things like ensuring finger nails are trim and clean take a back seat – however things like this make a real impression. If you look as if you take care of your appearance and presentation, this will influence other people when making their assessment of you too. Poor presentation can be overcome with a little thought, a little time, and not too much money. There are, however, other shortcomings that may need a bit more consideration and time to improve on. Attitude is incredibly important. A friendly, helpful and self confident attitude will always impress. However, learning how to behave calmly when under pressure is not always easy. This is, of course, just one example. Sometimes you will need to project confidence you might not feel. It may be that you are just shy and feel ill at ease with some people. Even pretty confident people can sometimes just feel as if they are on the back foot with someone who seems to exude self confidence and self belief. Attitude change is achievable with effort, time and belief that you can change your behavior. Practice your affirmations, and if possible, find someone to help you work through role play. It may feel strange at first, but it will help. Being able to apply yourself to something new and a bit daunting is sometimes difficult if you have low self esteem. One way of avoiding things you don’t want to do is to just not allow yourself enough
time. That way you always have the excuse that there just wasn’t enough time! Really though, you need to meet the challenge. Make the time to do the things you don’t necessarily want to do, but which you really know you ought to do. Nine times out of ten, these things are not really too difficult. They just need you to concentrate, to put any fear of failure aside and perhaps to break down the tasks into smaller and more manageable ones. Incrementally, you will find you can achieve everything you need. The key here is to be quite honest about why some things are difficult for you, or why you just don’t want to do them. Acknowledging that you might be frightened of not doing something well is often the only thing between your fear, and your doing away with that fear.