Examining Your Confidence:  Why Confidence is a Choice Everyday

Well, are you?  When and why?

In leadership classes we talk a lot about leadership presence. Do you have presence or not, or even what does that mean to you?  With this discussion, inevitably, the conversation turns to confidence and the relationship of confidence to leadership presence.

What is your relationship with your own confidence?  How confident are you and why?  What situations are you the most confident?

In presenting, or facilitating or leading, most people say they’re more confident because they know what they’re talking about…the more prepared and knowledgeable they are, the more confident.

But what is confidence?  By definition, it is:  a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

But notice what is doesn’t say…it doesn’t say, confidence comes from being prepared, having a plan, or even knowing what I am talking about (i.e., expertise, or I’ve done it before—I know what to expect).

Yet typically, I hear people say that they have confidence because:  #1  I’ve done it before,  #2 I have a plan or  #3 I am prepared.

And yes, plans create safety.  Certainty creates safety.  If we’re safe we’re okay.  We’re okay if we go into a situation and look and act professional.  Leaderful.  Competent.

We believe that the past or that knowledge and preparation will bring us confidence.

But is that really true?

Who was prepared for the 2020 global pandemic?  I would say not many.  But how many leaders and managers continued to project confidence regardless of the uncertainty or unexpectedness of COVID?  So many.

They didn’t have experience in navigating their company or their teams through such a challenge, but so many people showed up confident anyway.  Because of their belief in themselves to move forward, to figure it out, the courage to show up and try something new.  To make decisions, even if they weren’t the “right ones” (yes, using air quotes, because what was right or wrong?  No one really knew.).

They left their insecurities behind, or they recognized them—and took action anyway.  Because insecurity is uncertainty or anxiety about oneself.  Maybe it’s better to be uncertain about the situation, but not about ourselves and our ability to handle it.  Because even if we don’t make the right choices, we learn, we gain confidence.  Through action.  And courage.

So, what if confidence was based on our mindset, not our skillset.

In addition to our experiences, we carry around a great deal that can give us confidence in pretty much any situation.

What about your overall abilities?  Are you a good problem solver?  Are you good at trouble-shooting?  What are your strengths?  Are you a good relator?  Learner?  What are the qualities that make you successful?  Determination?  Perseverance?

How can you show up and bring those attributes, those qualities to any situation in order to generate confidence?  To bring your presence to a situation. Regardless of your preparation.

And if we can shift our mindset, how to can we strengthen our confidence?  Here are my 3 seeds for deliberate leadership:

1.      Courage:  to try, to fail, to grow, to risk…be afraid and do it anyway

2.      Conviction:  in yourself, your value, your values, your beliefs, your truth

3.      Composure: be mindful, present, aware, choose your thoughts, your emotions, your reactions

What do you need the confidence to do right now?  If you could take a courageous action what would it be?

If you believed in yourself, everyday, how would you show up?

Because that is the secret to your leadership presence.