So far in this series, we’ve considered Influence and Charisma as stand-out behaviours for leaders. Now we come to the crowning trait: CONFIDENCE.
Because of all the behavioural development topics we might chose, in my experience, confidence is Number One on most people’s list. And why not?
Imagine now: of all the things we might do, be and achieve if we were just 10%, 25%, 100% more confident!
What all the traits in this article series have in common is that they’re behaviours that can be learned and developed. Confidence is no different. So let’s get to work.
The confidence formula
If you had to reduce your thoughts on confidence down to a succinct model, what would you include? What could your model of confidence not do without? For me, there are 3 crucial parts.
- Authentic Self: All confidence stems from authenticity. Being our genuine self. Being comfortable in our own skin – in any situation. Ask yourself now: Who is the me no one else sees? And what can I do to bring more of that personality to the fore?
- Confident Beliefs: Confidence is an inner game. And the quality of our confidence largely comes down to the quality of our communication with ourselves. That is to say: our beliefs. So ask yourself now: What am I choosing to believe about confidence? And how can I upgrade disempowering beliefs to empowering beliefs?
- Confident Behaviours: We have a strategy for everything: including how we do our lack-of-confidence. So reflect for a moment: How am I doing my lack of confidence? And if I were super confident, how would I do my confidence?
Common confidence pitfalls
To add to our positive confidence formula, it’s useful to think about potential pitfalls.
There are a few traps we lay for ourselves and our confidence. Take a look at the list below and consider which of these you can be guilty of; and consider what you might do to free yourself!
- Attaching to our stories: Notice that much of our lack-of-confidence comes down to the stories we tell ourselves – and then attach to. Instead, challenge the story by asking: is it true? And superseding it by inventing a story more useful to our confidence.
- Being someone we’re not: Authenticity is at the heart of our confident self. To pretend to be someone else discounts of our true self. And genuine confidence is going to be a tough ask from there!
- Living by ego: Our ego wishes only two things: to look good; and be right. Especially as experienced in the external world. But confidence is an inner, not an outer, game. Quieten your ego and be comfortably happy with who you are.
- Exaggerating: Exaggeration is a message to ourselves that whatever we’ve felt the need to embellish is not good enough. That’s quite a personal attack. Instead, own your achievements, whatever they may be.
- Listening to our inner critic: The quality of our life so often comes down to how we speak to ourselves. Our inner critic can be harsh, relentless and unforgiving. Practise quietening that voice by replacing it with positive messages.
A simple workout for your confidence
To embed confidence as an innate habit, here are a few simple things you can be doing. All very straightforward. No special instructions required!
- Talk to yourself in a confident way
- Make bold, positive pictures in your mind
- Use your body as if already confident
- Take action before you feel ready
- Simply decide you’re a confident person
Confidence follows action
Perhaps the most useful thing I can say to someone wishing to improve their confidence is to notice that confidence follows action. We often reverse that idea, choosing instead to think I’ll wait to be confident, then act. But confidence comes in the doing.
So be yourself, upgrade your beliefs and TAKE ACTION. Say yes, and figure-out the rest later on. And break-out of that learned helplessness.