Your Lack of Confidence May Be the Key to Your Success — Here's Why
It’s a myth that a lack of confidence is always detrimental to one’s career. Sometimes, it can even boost it.
Lack of confidence is mostly seen as a negative trait, but it can also yield some surprising, positive outcomes. In the workplace, a lack of self-confidence can be detrimental to your career. Even if you are the most competent among your peers, if it doesn’t come through in the way you carry yourself, no one else will see it. However, this “flaw” also conditions you to do certain things that help improve your performance and relationships at work. Here’s why it may just be the key to your success.
It Drives You to You Overachieve
Among the hidden benefits of low self-esteem is it makes you aware of your weaknesses — even hyper-aware at times. This can drive you to compensate for this by overachieving and being determined to do better than everyone else because, subconsciously, your self-worth is on the line.
According to Harvard Business Review, lack of self-confidence can turn you into a pessimist programmed to expect the worst. But if this matches up with ambition and determination, it can help boost your performance. Many overachievers exhibit low self-esteem with the need to people-please and constantly achieve “perfection.”
However, the American Psychology Association (APA) notes that self-esteem drawn from external validation can be dangerous. While it can drive you to perform better at work and even attain a respectable level of success, it can also result in mental health consequences. These include stress, relationship conflicts, and health issues.
You Show Up Extremely Prepared
In line with overachieving, a lack of self-confidence in your abilities can also drive you to prepare more, especially when you are serious about your goals. Low self-esteem can be debilitating when you are also uninterested in becoming anything, but when matched with certain qualities such as having a sense of responsibility and determination, it can be an asset.
Moreover, it can motivate you to go the extra mile and volunteer for other tasks. A 2018 journal published in PLOS One cites that seeing one’s work as meaningful — that is, psychologically gratifying — is associated with behaviors that go beyond the formal requirements of the job.
You Don’t Come Across as Arrogant
On the other side of the spectrum is overconfidence, which can translate to arrogance and seeing oneself as infallible. If you have low or healthy self-esteem, you are more likely to admit your mistakes and not take credit for others’ accomplishments. It makes you and helps you contribute more to your company’s success.
How to Have a Healthy Level Self-Confidence
Still, this doesn’t mean low self-confidence is ideal because it can also lead to unhealthy habits and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. According to the National Health Services UK, recognizing your strengths, building positive relationships, saying “no” to things you don’t want, and having goals can help improve self-confidence.
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Again, it all comes down to drive. Ambition and confidence are two keys to a successful career, and they are not mutually exclusive. Lack of confidence per se is not a hindrance to success if you continue to work hard and improve your skills at a healthy level.