Personal and Professional Development
Take responsibility and ownership of your own development and treat it as the priority it is.
Here we focus on how we can develop self-confidence, the competency-based kind. Not the delusional form manifesting itself as egotistical bluster, belligerence and arrogance.
How can we learn self-confidence?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines self-confidence as: A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
This can be a fleeting and sometimes elusive trait that we can be in awe of in others and find elusive in ourselves. However, my observations, with over 35 years of leading sales teams and consulting projects in sales transformation, is that self-confidence is quite often an outward show or, at worst, delusional. Also, our own self-confidence can become fragile when compared and contrasted with others.
This quote from an anonymous source sums up this paradox well: ‘Do not compare yourself unfavourably with others, for you are comparing your inside with their outside, which is comparing your inner feelings with their outward show’.
While self-confidence can seem like a gift from the gods, I am going to argue that it is contextual and is the result of efforts to our self-development.
Confidence in context
First, we have to give confidence in context and scope. A black belt in karate is going to be confident in their own ability on the mat, but is unlikely to have the same confidence on the first tee if they have never swung a golf club before.
Self-confidence can be divided into the following constituent parts:
Adopt a growth mindset to the area you want to develop confidence in. Whatever our start point, we can improve. We are not the product of what we were born with; the nature v nurture debate.
Have faith in a best-practice process
What are the activities that, if you invested your time, skill and knowledge to, would give success the best possible chance of being a natural output of the time, skill and knowledge you invested?
If we have the desire to grow our confidence in a particular field and we have identified the process (set of activities that would make success a natural output of the time we invested in them), then what are the skills and knowledge we need to develop and learn to master the process? Once these have been identified, block time into your schedule to learn and deliberatively practise them.
To learn any new skill or gain expertise, you need to practise. Most people would accept this as a given.
But here’s what you might not know: scientific research shows that the quality of your practice is just as important as the quantity and, more interestingly, research indicates that expert-level performance is primarily the result of expert-level practice, not due solely to innate talent.
Grit and persistence
Grit and persistence can be defined, over time, as courage, resolve and strength of character.
If we are endeavouring to improve our performance in our chosen field, then we need to lean in and accept that we will make mistakes and that things will not always work out the way we planned them.
Learned optimism was introduced as a concept by Martin Selgman in his book, Learned Optimism.
His theory contends that Learned Optimism can be developed as a personal trait by the term ‘explanatory styles’.
The three P’s of ‘explanatory styles’ listed below can be a useful toolkit in examining and challenging our emotions and feelings when adversity or setback occurs. This can help us overcome the initial ‘knee-jerk’ negative narrative that our minds immediately generate at the time.
· Personal: This is where we think, ‘It’s all on me, and this has happened on ‘my watch’, what a fool, idiot I have been’.
· Permanent: This is where our self-talk tells us, ‘It’s always going to be like this.’
· Pervasive: Where the corrosive thoughts then bleed into other areas of our lives.
Competency-based self-confidence can be developed, but it needs both desire and personal commitment for self-development. If enhanced self-confidence is something you desire, our online Mindset Development Group programme can support you to build reliable confidence to thrive in the challenges of life.