What does confidence mean to you?
Whenever someone says,
I want to stop everything, sit them down and ask
“Really? None whatsoever? Mortgage? Global warming? The fact that you’ve got a bit of spinach between your teeth? How did you come by this surfeit of confidence, and can I have some too, please?”
Most of us operate on what is scientifically known as the better than average bias. It’s one of the best-researched areas of psychology and despite the miles of aisles of self-help books to improve low self-esteem, most of us have too much of it but we delude ourselves that we have too little of it.
The trick is finding the balance between the Gordon Gekko Greed is Good supremely confident boorish bore at the bar or in the boardroom and the feeling that we’re no good, we’re no good, we’re no good, baby we’re no good.
Overconfidence, those in the know have found, is usually a cover-up for incompetence while the rest of us, who feel we are lacking (but in reality are hugely competent) look on with worried Imposter Syndrome eyes.
We live in a world where people who say “can do” generally can’t do, but pretend they can.
Conversely, a little humility goes a long way. Owning up to your real strengths and weaknesses is not so much a self-esteem issue but a reality check. And you have it here on good authority that’s one cheque that won’t bounce.
The kind of confidence that moves you forward is one based on realistic expectations of what you can and can’t do, and making achievable plans to get to the place you want to be that doesn’t involve the walk of shame. Aim for humility, not humiliation, quiet confidence instead of pain in the assertiveness cover-up.
Here are a few coaching questions and tips to get a grip on confidence:
- Write out how your life would be different if you had the courage to do what you wanted and could be who you wanted
- What would it take to get you there?
- What small change could you make today to inch you towards that?
- What completely untrue pernicious little lie are you currently believing in about yourself that is keeping you stuck?
- What would be a more supportive belief to replace it – i.e. “I am not valued/seen/heard” is replaced by “I am entirely good enough“.
- Keep a ‘Big Me Up’ book – list 50-100 really good things about yourself – then start believing it.