Everyone’s a rookie at some point in his or her career. In our management training program at Sparta Consulting Group, our team members are regularly finding themselves in new roles as they move up in the company. As with all things in life, there are good ways and bad ways to handle new experiences. Today, our Hollywood team would like to share some tips for “the new guy” that are actually useful!
1. Fake it ’til you make it” actually does work.
Whether you’re new to a field or just starting your career, it’s virtually impossible to feel confident in your abilities — especially when you compare yourself to those who have been there long before you. However, it works really well to pretend to be confident before you actually are confident! How do you do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Pretend you’re an actor in a movie playing a dominant role.
- Picture the temperament of your favorite mentor and try to emulate her tone and body language.
- Give yourself a pep talk before your next presentation.
- Listen to your favorite song really loud until your blood is pumping.
- Call a friend or family member who you know will give you a push in the right direction.
There are so many ways to get in the zone, you just have to pick what works best for you. The reason this actually works is because most people won’t know you’re faking it! They will respond to your pretend confidence with the positive reinforcement you need to develop your real confidence. If you keep “practicing” being confident, it will start to come naturally to you before you know it.
2. Speaking of which, stop comparing your “beginning” to somebody else’s “middle.”
In fact, stop comparing yourself to others — period! This is one of the most common ways that people bring themselves down. It’s easy to look at someone else in your company and admire their eloquent public speaking, their ease at doing their job, and their natural self-assurance — and then think to yourself, “I will never be like that.” Well guess what — you just might! Heck, you might be even better than the person you look up to… if you give yourself the chance. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting about the necessary time and effort that it takes a person to become successful in any field. If you only just joined the team, chances are you didn’t witness your colleague’s hours of practice and the struggles he went through to get to where he is today. Instead of worrying about becoming as good as the others around you, just focus on improving your own skills. Be a sponge of information and learn from those who are successful — just don’t compare yourself to them.
3. “Competition” isn’t the barrier you think it is.
This is one of our absolute favorite quotes.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that something is too competitive. Once you subtract the people who don’t work very hard, or the people who aren’t as good as you, your competition shrinks dramatically.” -Maggie Mason
There just couldn’t be more truth to that. No matter what career or position you’re starting, chances are, there are lots of people vying to be successful too. If you’ve ever thought about a new venture and been warned by loved ones that the path would be too hard, then you wouldn’t be alone. Even our CEO at Sparta Consulting Group has been told to stay away from sales and marketing because the field is “too competitive.” Needless to say, this didn’t stop him from building a successful company. So, when you’re new at something and are feeling daunted by all of the competition out there, just remember the wise words of this quote and ensure you’re one of the people who does work hard and does do great work.
4. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself.
Until you establish a pattern of rapport with your colleagues, you might notice that people (often unknowingly) are stepping all over you. If you’re being asked to get the boss’s coffee each morning and it’s nowhere in your job description to do so, only YOU can do something about it. Speak with your manager, client, colleague or whomever is dictating the requests and take the initiative to get on the same page about his or her expectations. Once these are clearly established, if you feel that a line is crossed and you are being taken advantage of, never be afraid to stand up for yourself.
5. Let your work speak for itself.
One of the worst qualities in any rookie is a lot of talking and not a lot of results. When you’re new at something, you should be asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of listening. Bragging, boasting, and smack-talking will not earn you respect. However, doing great work WILL. Perhaps the best piece of advice for any rookie is to learn as much as possible and then put your head down and do the work. It will be obvious to others when you start doing a great job, and you won’t need to announce it to the world.
Applying these tips will improve your experience as “the new guy” in a new company, career, or field. Give yourself a pat on the back for trying something new and start building up that natural, quiet confidence!