2 ways to boost confidence in your skills

2 ways to boost confidence in your skills

January 1, 2019 By Adrienne Montgomerie

When you’re terrified of imperfection, it’s hard to market yourself convincingly. In other words, to instill confidence in your clients, you first have to have confidence in yourself. This was a challenge a recent intern was facing as she struck out into the working world: she liked the editing work, but was afraid of letting down the clients.

How do you develop confidence?

Making one giant howler in print, it turns out, is pretty effective (shortcut form of) cognitive therapy.

I'm only half joking. The first time I got a vitriolic letter telling me I was worthless because I’d used whose where who’s belonged, I was mortified. But later, when a coffee cup shot across the new car, spraying brown stains over the entire interior, I thought “Well, at least that’s out of the way.”

Here are two real approaches you can try, if you don’t want to go the self-therapy route:

Work with colleagues to do sample edits then compare your approaches. This can boost your confidence. It can also reveal to you the areas you need to brush up on. And you get to see other solutions you hadn't thought of. This sort of editors’ round-table is very affordable and effective professional development. You might try setting this up via video chat if you don’t have local editors to invite.

Second, try some “brain hacks” to make yourself see the words in a new way. Pick a piece of writing and try each trick in turn. See how many new fixes you identify each time, and pay attention to which were most effective for you. The benefits are similar to those of the round-table, and you can use the hacks at work.

Header photo via Joyce McCown, Unsplash.

This article was originally posted on the Copyediting website, Oct. 20, 2014.

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