Have you ever wanted to pursue or achieve something important, but your lack of confidence held you back? It’s not a nice feeling, is it? It might have been a job opportunity, a board position, or perhaps simply reaching out to someone.
When we talk about confidence, what do we mean? The latin meaning is “having deep trust in yourself.” In modernity, it’s the degree to which you think and feel your actions will achieve positive results.
Do you trust yourself? Do you believe your actions will lead to the results you want?
We all go through periods of lack of confidence. Self doubt, fear, the knockers will continue throughout your life. Nobody escapes it and it’s an ongoing practice for leaders.
The more important question is this: how can you further develop your confidence right now?
Psychologist Albert Bandura developed a theory that highlighted four sources of confidence.
The four sources of confidence
What are mastery experiences? It’s learning first hand, setting realistic but challenging goals, and giving it a go.
These experiences build your confidence to keep striving and trying something new. The big thing here is that it doesn’t have to be huge. You can start with really small actions and build up! What is the smallest step that will move you closer to where you want to be? How can you show up consistently with small actions? You’ll be amazed at the confidence this brings.
Even Mistakes Count
Get out there, give it a go. You will either achieve something or you’ll learn something! Every mistake or failure is a great learning opportunity. So start failing and learning!
What to do?
Start consciously building up your mastery experiences.
2. Vicarious Experiences
Ok, so you haven’t done something yourself (mastery experience)? You can also build your confidence through observing others such as mentors, role models, or leaders.
Seeing others achieve what we want can show us that it is possible. Observing how others achieve goals similar to what you want helps you build your own confidence in your ability to achieve it too.
Don’t Get Jealous, Get Motivated
Don’t sink in to the comparison game. If you start to show envy or jealousy, this is you doubting that you can achieve it too. Shift your mood to one of wonder, curiosity and celebration. Get inspired and understand that if they can do it, you can too.
What to do?
Read those autobiographies. Go listen to inspiring role models (live or on the internet). Surround yourself with examples of who you want to be. Celebrate others and regularly expose yourself the unlimited potential of humans!
3. Social Persuasion
Social Persuasion is having an influential mentor directly ‘persuading’ you to achieve what you want.
The Power of Belief
As a leadership facilitator, I am constantly in awe of the power of someone believing in you. I’ve seen first hand what can happen when I believe in a participant in one of my programs. What they can achieve is incredible! Your confidence can be developed by having a coach, mentor, teachers or leader in your life that demonstrates their belief in you.
What to do?
Gather together your supporter network. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you to reach higher.
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Our physiology matters and it influences our confidence. So are you putting aside time for self care, healthy eating, exercise, meditation and good sleep? These inputs can influence your emotions, moods, and your physical state.
If you feel tired, anxious, or tense, it’s going to affect your confidence. On the flipside, if you put healthy foods into your body, move regularly, commit to getting a good night’s sleep, and take time for regular self care, this will also affect your confidence – in a positive way.
What to do?
Look after your wellbeing to give yourself the best chance of self confidence.
8 leaders share their confidence secrets
So, how do those four sources of confidence look in everyday life? 8 incredible leaders share their tips for building confidence below:
“I take a deep breath and think about some of the things I really wasn’t confident to do but did anyway (and they came out good, often far beyond my expectations!)”
Lyn Beazley AO FTSE FACE CIE (Aust)
WA Australian of the Year 2015
“Lifelong learning and stretching myself to do new and interesting things not only builds my confidence but also means I get to meet and experience interesting people and continue to grow and develop as a person.”
Angie Paskevicius, CEO Holyoake
WA Telstra Businesswoman of the Year 2016
“I build confidence in a few ways. I stay on top of what is happening in the industry and particularly in industry journals. In short I make sure I am well read. I also make sure I am actively seeking feedback from the people I work with (both Board and staff). And finally, having a person as a coach or mentor who is honest with you helps.”
“Confidence for me is about recognising that, as CEO, most people think you are fully in control and don’t need support or pep talks. So I make sure I seek it out from people inside and outside my organisation who are supportive and on my side and confident enough to give me feedback on things I need to improve on.”
“I keep trying to stretch myself by learning new things and doing things that make me uncomfortable.”
Dr Nicky Howe,
+ Surround myself with a ‘cheer squad’, family and friends who will support me and provide advice (even the hard stuff) grounded in unconditional love for me.
+ Reducing the influence of ‘toxic’ people in my life by disengaging from them.
+ Positive self-talk – every day!
+ Reflect and learn from my mistakes and my successes.
+ Enhance my resilience every day through keeping fit and healthy.
Dr Sue van Leeuwen,
Non Executive Director
“I meditate regularly. I find this not only provides a sense of calm – but it also helps me to keep things in perspective.”
Leadership Resilience Speaker and Author, Non Executive Director R U OK?
“I focus on my values, and have a clear vision of the goals I want to achieve. I make sure my decisions and actions are always 100% aligned with what I want to achieve and my values. Then I have the courage to not care if others mock me. Self loathing is always just at an arm’s length … so it’s important to remember that second guessing yourself is normal and healthy in leadership. And it’s best to just accept not everyone will always agree with you. But if your values are in the right place, keep on track.”
Sue Pember, Director,
Mi Casa Property Boutique, Aussie Orientation Services and Rare Birds Ambassador
Now over to you: what are you strategies for overcoming the knockers in your pursuit of a goal? I’d love to hear!