You may have heard the phrase “Believe in yourself, otherwise how can you expect others to believe in you?”  This is relevant for anyone seeking a new career, but particularly so for police officers and staff who are leaving an organisation that they may have spent many years in and become very accustomed to.

Self-belief tends to be your own view of yourself in the context of your skills, experience and capabilities in relation to what you are facing at any given time.  People who think they have what it takes will have more self-belief and in effect, more confidence to project.  It’s far too easy to leave the police and consider that your own competencies are not relevant in the outside world, thus putting your self-belief at risk.

When you do leave the police, and engage with others, network, meet new people, including potential employers, and end up sitting in an interview room, then it’s important that you are seen as being confident and capable.  Any doubts that you have about yourself will diminish your chances of success.

You may look at others around you whom you believe to be confident.  What is it about them that makes you see them as being a confident person? Confidence is in the mind of the individual but from the outsiders’ perspective, the confidence that is seen in others comes from what we know about them, believe about them, how they conduct themselves, the things they say and do and the successes that they have had.  Having considerable knowledge of a subject also lends itself to being more confident.

So, if you feel that you are lacking in self-belief and confidence, what can you do about it?

Well the first thing you need to do is to take control of your feelings – after all, that’s what they are.  You can look over a long and varied career and consider all the good you have done, what differences you made and what skills and abilities you have used and probably forgotten.  First on the scene at any point?  Then you took charge and displayed leadership.  Don’t forget that because many people in the private sector haven’t done that before.

You can also look in the mirror and decide what needs improving – what do others see when they look at you?  Do you stand confidently, do you look smart, are you well-groomed and turned out?  It’s surprising how looking the part can help you feel the part.

You also need to adopt a glass half full attitude.  Think positively about things and not negatively.  Instead of thinking what can go wrong, think about what can go right and how you are going to influence it.  If you have bad experiences, don’t allow them to knock your confidence, consider them as free learning.  As someone once said “There’s no greater teacher than failure.”  Fail big, learn and then crack on; don’t beat yourself up about it.  Some of the most famous people on the planet get it wrong before they get it right and it doesn’t knock their confidence, it makes them more resilient. You only should read up on Sir James Dyson, Thomas Edison, Duncan Bannatyne and Sir Alan Sugar to see how they each gained their confidence.

There’s so much else to consider, beyond the remit of a short blog, to help with your self-belief and confidence.  Speaking to others who may be able to work with you on this i.e. people who you know and believe to be successful and have that self-belief may be a good place to start.

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