When people tell me that they don’t feel confident, I’ll ask the rather blunt question ‘what have you done to feel confident about?’
It’s true you can, to an extent, re-direct your thinking to convince yourself that you’re confident. But often people focus on quick fixes like this, rather than focusing on the fact you have to earn confidence.
You have to invest in actions which assist you in earning confidence. If you don’t feel confident in any particular area of your business, perhaps you haven’t done all that much to feel that confident about!
So the remedy for building confidence? Get out there and spend time earning confidence! Move away from your comfort zone and expand it by doing something new. Recognise the fact people who excel in this particular area also once started where you are now, they just took the right actions to build their confidence.
A dictionary definition of confidence reads, ‘belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities’. Picking up on the word ‘belief’ here, you may be familiar with one of my favourite quotes by Henry Ford:
“Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”
I’d give that some thought. In my life and my work, it’s proven time and again to be the case.
In my experience, you need to learn to make an honest assessment of your confidence levels. Whenever I approach a challenge, I test my belief in my own success by asking, ‘how certain am I on a scale of one to ten that I will succeed in this?’ or ‘how strongly do I believe that I can do this?’. Once I’ve established this, I have something useful to work with.
Unfortunately, many people seem to follow the mindless ‘you can do it! You can do it!’ approach for building confidence whereby they try to overpower any thought that suggests otherwise. The problem is, you can say those words but not believe them. Unless you truly believe that you can, you won’t succeed. Our deeper feelings tend to overpower surface level thoughts. It’s these that we need to work with.
Once I’ve assessed myself on a one to ten confidence scale, if it’s anything but a ten, I work on building confidence by increasing this feeling of belief or certainty. How? I open a new ‘confidence bank account’ and start depositing my savings in it. I look for evidence that supports my belief that I can succeed. I think back through my life for anything I did well that might suggest that I can succeed in this new situation.
Part of the problem when people don’t feel confident is that the evidence is there, but they just don’t notice it. You’ve got to look for it. And if you can’t find it, create it.
Once I have increased the feeling of certainty that I can do it, I increase it further by planning thoroughly for what’s ahead. Planning well increases your levels of certainty and confidence.
Of course you must schedule opportunities to grow your confidence in comfortable steps that give you a high level of certainty that you’ll succeed. Move out of your comfort zone gradually, pushing the boundaries whilst keeping your confidence high. As you perform well, you’ll make more deposits in your confidence account and in time the confidence you have earned in this area will give you the courage to go forth and confront what were areas of weakness!