I don’t see gender as a challenge to working in the city. It’s the fast-paced nature of banking that sometimes makes it tough – there’s a tight demand on one’s time, and the industry involves long working hours.
There will be many times when the daily grind of life will begin to get you down. Here are some of the things that work when I need a confidence boost: they may prove useful for you.
Have a coffee with one of your ‘cheerleaders’
If you’re having a crisis of confidence, or just a bad day, and you need a boost – organise a catch up with one of your ‘cheerleaders’, (they could be friends, family or work colleagues). Find someone who knows you best, and can remind you exactly what you’re good at! If you don’t have a ‘cheerleader’, then go and find yourself one.
Alternatively, find a mentor; I’ve never been told ‘no’ by someone I respected when I asked them to mentor me (although it’s nerve-wracking to ask). It’s amazing what a 30-minute coffee or a 10-minute call can do for your confidence, especially right before an interview or an important meeting.
Take a breath
Take a moment to remind yourself of your achievements and how you’ve managed to get to where you are. We’re always our own worst critics, and I know that when I’m down, all my weaknesses and mistakes rise the surface – until I make a conscious effort to focus on my achievements, and how much I deserve them.
The ‘Super Woman’ complex is often why I personally have crises of confidence. A quick reminder that she is just a character in a book can have an immediate shoulder-lifting effect! Realising you can’t do everything (nor everything perfectly…) can help you manage your expectations of what you can accomplish in the limited time you have.
Smiling and making eye-contact during discussions is seen as a sign of confidence. People naturally return a smile, and react positively – that reaction alone will make you believe in yourself even more.
Take a course
If you think you need more confidence because of a skills gap, don’t be afraid to take a course to develop new, or strengthen your existing, skills. Learning something new is a great way to discover things that you could be good at, and strengthen the skills that you think you’re lacking. Plus, it could do a world of good for your career trajectory.
Long gone are the days when people in finance were expected to be cold-hearted and aggressive in order to ‘get places’. Be yourself – don’t be afraid to ask questions and make constructive challenges to things you don’t agree with. Just remember that the City is comprised of a beautiful multi-national fabric, and is rich in approaches and experiences that might be different, but seed innovation. When we’re comfortable in ourselves, our body language is strong and we exude confidence.
About the author
Karen Rudich is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Bank in the Box and Managing Partner of FireDrake Consulting. She has 17 years’ experience in the banking sector, having previously taken senior roles at BNP Paribas, Barclays, UBS and Lloyds. She is a commercial strategist who works with up to board-level bankers to achieve their next stage of growth.
Together with her business partner, Thomas Soede (who has over 35 years of experience in the financial sector), Karen set up Bank in the Box (BiBox) in March 2016.
BiBox is a shared platform economy that uses new technology to provide ‘best of breed’ solutions to help drive cost savings, standardisation, and innovation across the financial industry. www.bankinthebox.co.uk.