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I want to Go Back to Work but I Have Lost My Confidence

It seems to be a common factor that when women are considering going back to work after taking time off to look after their children, a feeling of insecurity and lack of confidence overwhelms them and puts them off the idea. A long time out of the work place makes some women feel that simple tasks such as answering the phone or taking part in a meeting can be very frightening. This lack of confidence stops many women returning to work and for those who do it means they do not perform as well as they should.

Are you having these feelings? And if so why is this drop in confidence occurring? It may be that after a long time looking after your children you have forgotten about who you are along the way. You may have been a top sales exec or dynamic marketing manager able to exceed your targets and run meetings without a second thought but now it seems that person was from another lifetime and you do not know how to find her again. You need to recover the woman you were before you had children.

Confidant people are not born, they are made. Confidence is a skill that can be learnt. Rediscovering your ‘before children’ persona will start to rebuild your confidence. Confidence is such an important life skill because you need it to express yourself, stand up for yourself, negotiate, cope with stressful situations and tackle challenges. A healthy level of self confidence enables you to do these things efficiently and helps in all areas of life including family and professional. Having confidence makes life easier and more fun. If you are suffering from a diminished self-belief and confidence then there are exercises you can carry out to help you remove your fear and find your confident self again.

•    Be positive! Think before you say ‘I can’t’ about how you can change that statement to ‘I can’. You can write a list of things you would like to achieve and for all the negative excuses you can come up with preventing you from reaching your goals, write positive statements. For example you could change, ‘I cannot go back to work because of all the school holidays’ to ‘I can go back to work, I just need to find the appropriate childcare’. Then make a note of how you would feel if you achieved this goal
•    Think back to a time when you felt you were ‘firing on all cylinders’ or feeling ‘on top of your game’ and this could be before you had children, at work or more recently enjoying your family life. If you were looking through an imaginary window at yourself how were you coming across? Write a list, so you might say that you looked happy, fulfilled and confident. What skills were you implementing at the time? Perhaps you were making someone laugh, negotiating, introducing people, multi-tasking? Really recall how good you felt and try and re-feel it
•    Make a list of the skills you use on a daily basis. Many of the things you do running your family household are transferable to the workplace. You negotiate with your children all the time, you are probably highly proficient in busy diary management and you have experience in event’s organising with all the birthday parties your children have.  Having children and running a busy household has no doubt enhanced your organisational skills, creative skills and problem solving!
•    Do not be afraid to assert yourself so if that means saying no sometimes, so be it. You need to be in control of your time and in charge of your self-management
•    Look after yourself because looking and feeling great does wonders for your self-belief and confidence!

By Eirian Hallinan

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