If you’re better at selling yourself short than bigging yourself up, it’s time to work on inflating your ego for a super career boost

So you’re overflowing with love for yourself already? Congratulations. For the other 99 per cent of you, hear this: according to researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business Administration, being full of yourself is key to climbing the career ladder.

Description: Find Your Inner Hotshot

So accepting your feelings, seeing them as harmless and normal and being unashamed of them is often key to being confident

People with ‘noxious self-esteem’ are apparently those most likely to get the same job you’ve applied for. ‘Women tend to downplay their skills and talents,’ says cognitive-behavioral therapist Donald Robertson (www.londoncognitive.com), ‘even when they know the portrayal isn’t accurate.’ Thankfully, there are tricks you can use them in the workplace and in your social life. Here’s our guide to getting into hotshot mode so you can ace your next interview, presentation or party.

Destroy your internal critic

You know the game-you begin to talk and that nasty internal monologue kicks in with commentary: ‘The interviewer thinks you’re talking too much,’ or ‘She thinks you’re stupid,’ or ‘I can’t  believe you just said that’ Thankfully, there’s a way to gag that frenemy by distancing yourself from her words. ‘Distancing techniques involve adopting a more detached perspective on negative thoughts, so you can move on,’ says Donald. ‘Imagine those same words written on the carpet or on the piece of paper in front of you. Decide what font and color the words are. It sounds odd, but it’s an effective way to avoid negative thoughts that might impact your behavior.’

Love your inner wimp

It’s normal to try to overcome your nerves by pretending they don’t exist, but have you noticed how that just makes things worse? Ironically, the more you try to fight anxiety the more anxious you’re likely to become,’ says Donald. ‘So accepting your feelings, seeing them as harmless and normal and being unashamed of them is often key to being confident.’ Keep this in mind for stressful social and networking events, too. ‘I’m quite shy,’ is actually a great way to start a conversation you’ll be surprised by how many people respond with, ‘Me too!’

Description: talk calm and confidently about your experience and skills and ask questions when an opening arises

Talk calm and confidently about your experience and skills and ask questions when an opening arises

Nail that interview

Believing in yourself is key to bagging your dream job, so before you head off to an interview, make sure you look and feel the part. ‘Don’t go overboard, but look smart and professional and feel good about your appearance,’ says Donald. Read over your CV on your commute to help you focus on your key skills and greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a positive, can-do attitude. Once you’re in the meeting, talk calm and confidently about your experience and skills and ask questions when an opening arises. ‘Listen carefully to the interviewer’s responses,’ says Donald. ‘It’ll show you’re interested in what they have to say.’

Give yourself a job to do

You look at the interviewer and all you can think is, ‘Have they noticed the nasty spot on my chin? Can they tell that my armpits are dripping with sweat? Argh! But there is a simple way to avoid this destructive thought process. ‘One way of tricking your brain into adopting a more external focus of attention is to set yourself the task of describing your interviewer’s appearance later,’ says Donald. ‘During the interview pay close attention to their facial expressions and their clothing, as if you’re trying to memorise all the small details to be recalled later on.’

Consider the worst

It’s tempting to try and push thoughts of disaster far from your mind but, says Donald, that could actually backfire. ‘Imagining the worst case scenario and then “waiting it out” until your anxiety subsides something that usually take 15 to 30 minutes will actually reduce your anxiety levels over time,’ he says. ‘Start practicing about two weeks beforehand, picturing what could do wrong on a daily basis. Over time not only will your physical response be reduced, you’ll also have come up with reasons why this situation is unlikely to ever occur.’

This can also work on your first date with a hot new guy. Usually the worst that can happen is that you’ll never see him again and if you arrive at the date thinking that, you’ll be more relaxed. Then it’ll be a pleasant surprise when he does call.

Make this a practice session

Success at job interview doesn’t necessarily mean getting the job you’ve achieved a lot if you’ve learned something from it. ‘Be realistic. Remember you can only present yourself at your best, then let go of what happens in terms of the final choice,’ says Donald. ‘They may already have a candidate lined up, or someone else might just be a better fit. So treat every interview as good practice along the way to finding the best job for you.’

It’s also a good strategy for dealing with quibbles with your partner. If you can figure out something you’ve learned about each other each time you row, you’ll learn how to avoid the same arguments in the future and also, importantly, how to move more quickly from arguing to making up!

Accept imperfection

You want this job so badly, but in your anxiousness to prove yourself, you come across as nervous. Time to accept that you can’t control everything. ‘Accepting the fact that you may fail, and letting go of the demand that you “must” get the job, can relieve the pressure,’ says Donald. ‘People tend to overlook trivial mistakes in others’ speech or behavior if they’re interested in what they’re saying.’ This applies to any sphere of life no one has a perfect partner, family, house, or career, so don’t give yourself a hard time if yours isn’t ideal.

3 ways to stroke your ego

Boost your self-esteem with these quick tricks

Reflect in your achievements Instead of focusing on where you’ve gone wrong, take the time to enjoy your wins – from banking the perfect cake to acing a presentation.

Walk talk You won’t feel like a winner if you’re hunched over. Stand up tall with your shoulders back and core engaged and enjoy the power of confident body language.

Exercise to your favorite track Activity is a proven endorphin lifter and adding a motivating song will boost that high

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