Developing confidence and inspiring trust in your career

Achieving success in your Assistant career often pivots on an attribute known as executive presence. This encompasses the capacity to inspire confidence in your Executive, colleagues, direct reports, and external stakeholders. Executive presence is less about having all the answers and more about cultivating confidence in your abilities, assuring others that you can navigate challenges and find solutions.

Confidence, however, is not built overnight.

It is a product of personal growth and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone, taking on tasks and roles that may initially feel overwhelming. For instance, taking charge of a meeting in the absence of your Executive may seem daunting, but successfully navigating such a situation builds confidence. Success in such circumstances fuels the courage to take on similar or more challenging tasks in the future.

While taking risks and betting on yourself is crucial, it is equally important to remember that perfection is not always attainable.

Many Assistants fear failure and the perceived consequences, thus avoiding risk-taking and the potential opportunities it brings. In a recent session at the Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit, Hallie Warner, Co-Author of The Founder and The Force Multiplier, talked about Assistants embracing the idea of ‘failing forward’ can transform this mindset. Failing forward is understanding that you will still be okay even when things are unplanned. This acceptance fosters resilience and the courage to continue taking risks, knowing that missteps will not entirely derail your career or personal relationships.

Preparation and practice also play a vital role in cultivating confidence.

For example, if you’re leading a meeting, adequate preparation might entail understanding the meeting’s purpose, getting acquainted with the participants, and practising the meeting’s flow. Thorough preparation enhances your competence and fortifies your confidence, easing the process of tackling the task at hand.

Questions to Ask a New Executive

Use this guide to work in sync with your Executive from day one.

20 ways to impress your Executive

20 Ways to Impress Your Executive

The worksheet gives you 20 ideas to elevate you in the Assistant role.

A significant aspect of confidence-building is learning to trust yourself. It is about trusting your abilities to navigate uncertain situations or speak up, even when there is a risk of error.

Trusting yourself underlies the confidence to handle unexpected challenges.

It’s noteworthy to realise that our Executives may have more confidence in our abilities than we do.

They see our potential and give us opportunities to learn and grow, even when we might doubt our capabilities. The critical question is: can you do the same for yourself?

Engaging in personal development work, leading yourself first, and focusing on inner growth is essential to boost your confidence. They can help you understand that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are not the end of the world; they are lessons from which you can learn, bounce back, and progress.

While these may not appear as hard skills, they are integral to thriving in the future of work. They form the bedrock of executive presence, crucial for establishing a robust and strategic executive partnership. When you display confidence in handling responsibilities and challenges, your superiors and colleagues will reciprocate with their trust and confidence in your abilities.

So, here’s a challenge: undertake an activity outside your comfort zone this week. Reflect on its outcomes, understand what went well, and what could have been better. Consider whether more preparation would have helped and what changes you could make for future endeavours. Engaging in such reflective exercises will enhance your confidence, inspiring greater faith in your abilities and enriching your executive presence. Ultimately, this enables you to become a powerful strategic partner in your career and a successful Assistant.

Fostering executive presence requires a blend of personal growth, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, thorough preparation, and, most importantly, cultivating self-confidence. This journey may seem challenging, but remember, every challenge presents an opportunity for growth.

To navigate this path effectively, continuous learning and development are essential. And this is where the Assistant Mindset Online Course comes into play. This course is specifically designed to help you develop the necessary skills and mindset to thrive in your role. It encompasses strategic insights and practical exercises to enhance your confidence and executive presence.