Stress Management: Develop your self-efficacy in work situations

Self-efficacy is your belief in your own capability to do something. It may be a proven capability based on something you have achieved or it may be the belief that you can do a new thing given the opportunity. If you believe you can do something, you will feel more in control and therefore less stressed.

If you try something new and it works, you will feel you have achieved. You will have increased your self-efficacy. If it doesn’t work, then you can learn from it and the lesson will also improve your self-efficacy.

 It is about how you perceive the situation.

For example, I have started three businesses. Each folded within a year after much hard work and money spent. As much as the experience was painful, I learnt a great deal each time that has enabled me to go on to later success. I perceived that the failures increased my abilities to eventually run a successful business so my self-efficacy improved even though some would say that I “failed”.


“If you want to succeed,

double your failure rate.”

Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.


Your comfort zone is where you are happy doing your work or using your abilities. Part of developing self-efficacy is to stretch these comfort zones and increase skill level so you can function without being stressed in the outer limits.

If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never know what you are capable of.

Here are some ways to improve your self-efficacy in work situations.  


  •          Identify what you have achieved – at work or in other areas of your life. Really look at what you have done and acknowledge that you have skills, and that you are valuable.
  •          Identify where your comfort zone is. Where are the boundaries of your skills? Where do you lose your self confidence? For example, you may be happy speaking in front of colleagues at a staff meeting, but not at a conference of 500 people.
  •          Find ways to apply the skills you have to the boundaries of your comfort zone in order to extend it out further.
  •          List ways you could improve in specific areas by developing new skills.
  •          Aim to put yourself in these situations in manageable ways in order to increase your comfort zone without being too stressed.
  •          Once you have tackled a new situation, add it to the list of what you have achieved and learned. Celebrate another step forward!


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