The positive and realistic perception of myself and my abilities. A belief in my own success.
So how does an inexperienced ultrasound student like me become confident? I didn't know everything, and I certainly knew that I didn't know everything. But like any other skill, it could be learned.
So I set out to learn it!
Step 1: I made mistakes.
As my skills improved and my studying continued I made fewer mistakes. I was aware of this, and it felt good! As the number of mistakes I made decreased I could see how much better I was becoming at my new skills. I could look back and see how far I had come.
First and foremost is to understand the value of your mistakes. Let your confidence come from knowing that failing is part of the learning process and that it is helping to make you better.
Step 2: My body language.
Ultrasound requires some serious people skills. There are patients, co-workers and radiologists everywhere! I knew that to be able to hold my ground among them all I would have to at least appear comfortable in my new role. So I worked on improving my body language to portray this.
Confident body language, for me, involved standing up taller and straighter while relaxing my muscles, keeping eye contact while having conversations, and continually reminding myself to smile and speak more slowly to more easily gain attention and communicate clearly.
I learned these improvements just by searching for confident body language tips online. I also watched people around me who appeared confident in their abilities and practiced their postures. A few small changes went a long way and soon I was doing them routinely without even thinking about them.
Step 3: Act ‘as if’.
So when I was in a difficult situation or had to make a decision quickly I would think about my experienced and confident coworkers. They had all been in these situations before. How I would act if I was them? Well, I would act as if this was routine to me, as if I had seen this all before.
When acting as if I was an experienced sonographer I could set aside my nervousness and proceed with the task at hand. I could naturally act experienced and confident in most situations. This acting confident soon became less acting and more natural.
I effectively acted as if I was confident, and so found confidence of my own.
These three steps helped to bring me from nervous newbie to confident sonographer. They each took some focused intent, but I simply found that if I believed I could, then I was able to.
After all, whether we believe we can or believe we cannot, we’re right.