Are you so unhappy at work that you’re unsure what to do? Are you burnt out, anxious or depressed because of your job? If you dread going to work, maybe you’ve considered making a major professional change. Perhaps you were fired or laid off. Your confidence in yourself and in your professional skills might have suffered as a result. Many people experience these situations at some point in their careers, but not everyone experiences low career confidence.

Over time, having work-related low confidence and self-esteem can lead to a variety of physical and mental health issues. You might doubt yourself and over-analyse your decisions – not just work-related ones. Lack of confidence can also slow your career progression and affect your financial stability.

What causes low career confidence? You might relate to one or more of the following:

• feeling inadequate or like a “fraud”
• comparing yourself to others
• being under-skilled for the role
• focusing on mistakes over successes
• experiencing work-related stress caused by a micromanaging boss, uncooperative co-workers, organizational changes or new responsibilities
• having a fear of failure

Regardless of the reasons, low career confidence can be effectively addressed. Try using these six suggestions to begin re-building your career confidence.

1. Realize there is no such thing as perfect. Aiming for perfection will always lead to disappointment because it’s unobtainable – and you fail to acknowledge your achievements. Give yourself a break when you fail, make a mistake or miss the mark. Failure is a valuable part of life because it offers you the opportunity to reflect on all the lessons you learned from your mistakes.
2. Identify your feelings. Think about when your low confidence started. Was it after an event, such as a lay-off? Do you struggle in certain situations? For example, if you’re burnt out and work in a highly stressful environment, it might be time for you to find another role – one where you are engaged, passionate and confident.
3. Write down your career achievements. Research indicates that writing down accomplishments releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, increasing feelings of pride and motivation. Start by writing a list of your past career achievements – big or small. Use a journal or notebook and begin a daily practice of recording your work-related achievements.
4. Identify your strengths, skills, and talents – and capitalize on them. One of the best ways to increase your confidence is to get clear on your strengths and find ways to integrate them into what you do each day. You’ll be more engaged, energized and self-assured. Write down the things you do well and reflect on how you can use your strengths to do your job.
5. Reach out. Connect with personal and professional networks for help and support. Get feedback from colleagues. Seek advice or secure a mentor or coach to help you work through your feelings and create a plan.
6. Identify weaknesses, and work on them. If you have weaknesses that are affecting your confidence, work to reduce or eliminate them.