Know your worth
If you want others to see it, first you need to see it. This can be hard if you don’t feel confident, and it can be easier to see weaknesses than your strengths. To look for those strengths, Belinda suggests the ‘VIA Character Strengths Test’, which is online and free. “With this as a starting point, you can look at how you use these strengths, and how they manifest in your day-to-day,” she explains. “Self-awareness is the foundation, because then you can talk to these strengths and attributes you have, and have a sense of your self-worth before you convince someone else of that worth.”
Turns out people often miss out on what they want, or don’t take advantage of opportunities, coz they don’t know what they’re aiming for. “Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Timeframed – then you’ll be more likely to be able to measure yourself against them and review your progress,” Belinda says. She also suggests imagining the road to your goal as a wide path (not a tightrope) so you can get a bit wobbly, but stay on track.
Talk yourself up
Great communicators have an advantage when it comes to showing confidence and their self-worth. Not super-great just yet? If you’re trying to demonstrate your worth in writing (such as in a cover letter, or a submission for school), amp up your prep. Do a lot of drafts and get other people to read and check them for you. “Preparation at least gives the portrayal of confidence, even if it’s lacking,” Belinda says. Also, lean on some awesome examples – “they provide the evidence people may be looking for to back up what you’re saying.”
Have a core message
Belinda says this essentially comes down to saying the same thing over and over. “Distill a core message,” she says. “Drill down, understand what it is, and come back to it as a compass for your message.” For example, if your core message was, ‘You can trust me to do this thing, since I am responsible,’ you could keep playing up that message with different examples and anecdotes about times people relied on you and you came through for them.
Speak with power
The best way to do this, according to Belinda, is to use ‘I’ statements: “I think”; “I feel”; “for me”. “If you make it personal, it becomes more powerful and convincing,” she explains. “And it can be difficult to challenge, since you are talking about you and your perspective.”
Look at the part
Humans are a visual bunch, so Belinda says you can’t overlook presentation as a way to get decision-makers to see you in a positive light. So dressing the part (while also having the right attributes to back it up) most def helps.
Didn't work out? Learn from it
Soz, but success just isn’t guaranteed for anyone. Belinda says you’ve gotta see these setbacks as lessons – “seek feedback where you can, and look at areas that didn’t go as well as you’d like and how you can improve those”.