I haven’t always seen myself as a confident person. In the past, when people around me said I was confident, I’d be surprised since I definitely did not feel it. I realised I had been believing some myths about confidence, which are:
- the loudest person in the room is the most confident.
- you are either a confident person or not.
- confidence is only built when you are winning.
Recognising that these myths are not true, here are the 5 truths I have since learnt about confidence.
1. Confidence is a skill – it’s the willingness to try.
Confidence is often described as a trait. But it is more than that—it is a skill. Confidence begins with small actions. When you try something, one of two things happens: you either succeed or you fail. Either way, you learn something. And it’s through the learning that you gain competence in this new skill, this new action. You don’t even have to believe in yourself when you start. You just have to be willing to try. Having a confident mindset and believing in yourself—that’s going to follow over time because of the actions you’re taking.
2. You have a negativity bias towards yourself that can affect your confidence.
Do you find that you hold on to your mistakes much more than your victories? To become more confident, you need to be aware of the negativity bias you have towards yourself. For example, when you make a mistake at work, you might feel like the worst failure. But to your colleagues it won’t be a big deal.
Most of us have a blind spot to our own brilliance. If I asked you to write out a list of all the ways in which a close colleague is great at their job and then ask you to do the same for yourself. Which would be harder? Recognizing that we have this bias is the an important step to becoming more confident.
Tip: Save positive feedback in a folder every time someone tells you have a done a great job. This will highlight to you the things you are great at. I call my folder ‘SMILE’.
3. Confidence grows in line with what is required.
Imagine a child learning to ride a bicycle. At the beginning they might have training wheels, as they get more confident the training wheels are removed, until they can ride the bicycle confidently without assistance.
The same principal applies when we learn something new. For example, you can be so confident in your job and then you get promoted and are required to lead a team for the first time. Suddenly you have to develop confidence for this new assignment. Your confidence grows in line with the requirements of your role or the new skill you are learning.
4. Confidence is circumstantial, there is no “on/off” button for confidence.
Have you ever said about yourself, “I am just not a confident person?” Confidence does not have some big “on/off” button at the back of our heads that is either on or off. Confidence is circumstantial. Recognising this will help you believe that you are in fact already a confident person.
There are things that you are already confident in because you have mastered them. The things you are not confident in yet, are things you have not mastered yet. Next time you feel or say your are not confident, break it down and see what skill you still need to learn.
5. You can learn habits to become more confident.
Confidence is a skill we can learn, develop, and apply. There are habits we can develop to make ourselves feel more confident. If you want to know what habits to build, think of someone whom you think is confident in the area you want to grow in and answer the following questions:
- What are 3 things that make them confident?
- What habits do they have that I could adapt for myself?
For more strategies on building habits that last, purchase my workshop recording on Creating Productivity Systems to Support Your Goals.