Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit — E. E. Cummings.
Everyone admires people with self-confidence. Self-confidence is all about having a positive attitude about your skills and abilities. This confidence helps you to accept, trust yourself and have a positive judgement of your capacity to perform. Self-confidence is an important recipe for success and makes a difference in any professional or social setting.
Self-confidence is having a positive attitude about your skills and abilities.
My first major project as a business owner was a contract to work on the building of a very large and busy McDonald’s franchise. This was an exciting project for several reasons; firstly it was my first commercial project with a reputable company and an opportunity to impress and build my reputation.
Secondly, it was a challenging project to complete. Normally, a project of this size would typically take a crew about a week and a half to complete, but the client wanted the project to be completed in 2–3 days. They also wanted my crew to be on-site at specific hours of the day to ensure that there weren’t disruptions in service to their customers.
My plan to approach this project was simple, I needed 10 workers to complete the project in 2–3 days. The challenge was to find and allocate the needed workers from different job sites and persuade them to work around the constraints that this project demanded. It was a challenge, but we got it done in 3 days.
Although I had no previous experience in handling a project of this size and complexity, I knew that I had all of the skills in my toolset to handle the challenge.
I needed communication skills to ensure that my crew members understood what the client wanted. I needed planning and organization skills to organize all the phases of the project and plan for emergencies. I also needed leadership skills to lead my team to execute the plan and deliver a great experience.
Skill alone is not enough to guarantee your best performance, you need to believe in your abilities to utilize your skills.
All I needed to do was to trust in the coaching I received that built these skills and demonstrate this trust to my crew members and client. I had to show my self-confidence to convince my client that I could deliver the goods and lead my team to execute.
Skill alone was not enough to guarantee my best performance, I had to believe in my abilities to utilize my skills.
Leading psychologist and emotional intelligence researcher Daniel Goleman highlights the importance of self-confidence, he explains that self-confidence will help you to see yourself as a capable individual who can take on challenges and master new responsibilities or skills.
Self-confidence gives you the belief in yourself to be a catalyst, mover or initiator and know that your abilities stack up favourably in comparison to others. From this position of inner strength, you can justify your decisions or actions and stay unfazed by any opposition.
Self-confidence helps you to see yourself as a capable individual who can take on challenges and master new responsibilities or skills.
While self-assessment helps you to know your strengths and weaknesses and have a positive view of yourself, self-confidence helps you to present yourself with self-assurance and have a ‘presence’ around others.
Confident people inspire confidence in others: their audience, their co-workers, their bosses, their customers, and their friends. Gaining the confidence of others is one of the keys to success in life and career.
Furthermore, self-confidence helps you to voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is right. This confidence helps you to be decisive and make sound decisions amid uncertainties and pressure.
Confident people inspire confidence in others.
On the other hand, low self-confidence might make you doubt yourself, become passive, unassertive, or have a paralyzing fear of looking incompetent. If you lack self-confidence, every failure feels like a confirmation of the feeling of incompetence which can manifest itself in feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
Extreme self-confidence, on the other hand, can look like arrogance, especially if you lack social skills. To have a positive impact, self-confidence must be aligned with reality, for this reason, a lack of self-awareness is an obstacle to realistic self-confidence.
Self-confidence gives you the strength to make tough decisions and follow a course of action that you believe in despite opposition, disagreement or even explicit disapproval from those in authority. Self-confidence helps you to be decisive without being arrogant or defensive and stand by your decisions.
How can you begin?
- Practice self-assessment: Self-assessment helps you to identify your inner resources, abilities and strengths and acknowledge your limits. Someone with toxic or fake confidence pretends that they have no limits. Without knowing your limits you are likely to hurt yourself or others or come off as fake.
- Be vulnerable: Vulnerability is choosing to admit your fault, taking a risk or opting to expose your weakness. Vulnerability helps you to be authentic. Authenticity builds confidence. Self-confidence doesn’t mean that you need to have all the answers or know everything, you are more likely to inspire confidence if you are willing to admit what you don’t know.
- Choose to be uncomfortable: Choosing to be uncomfortable is a habit you can develop. When you are comfortable with being uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations or challenges won’t bother you too much, because you will already be familiar with the feeling and can rely on your abilities to handle them. For example, I am generally terrified of heights, but to overcome this fear, I chose to be uncomfortable by climbing a 40 feet ladder in a safe environment to improve my comfort with heights.
- Make a list: You have to be intentional about pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. Every week make a list of 5 to 10 things to do to push your comfort zone. Try and do something uncomfortable every day. It could be as simple as starting a conversation with a stranger every day, standing up for your values to performing in front of a small crowd.
Hi, I’m David and I coach professionals to upgrade their resume, improve their emotional intelligence and earn more money. I am a professional recruiter and work as a consultant for a world-class recruiting firm. You can learn more about me at davidowasi.com. Also, feel free to check out my Ultimate Career Guide Course on Udemy.