Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Do you lack confidence? It sucks, right? Want to do something about it? Here is a sure-fire way to do that.
I was reading a post by Jeff Haden, a LinkedIn Influencer on this subject, and something resonated.
In summary, what Jeff knows is that success in one thing, increases confidence in other things.
In other words, if we become successful at something (by our own measure) then it increases our self-esteem and sense of competence, that affects our confidence and outlook on something else. I know this myself, and here is my story.
Last year, I was asked to speak at a public event. I hate public speaking. Despite, over the years, developing skills to present an argument and a strong, persuasive vocabulary. I have spoken in public many times, but for most, I’ve hated every minute of it. Purely because I have not felt confident in my ability to stand up in front of a crowd, talk from the heart, and get a point across. But at the event last year, something different happened.
Sales and Sheds
The day before, I won a critical sale for my business. It had taken months to get there after hard graft and occasional heartache. But perseverance won through, and I felt like a boss. My success brought me a great deal of self-esteem and it proved to myself that ‘I could do it’. Added to this, I’d just finished replacing a garden shed at home. Yes, a shed. I didn’t use a contractor – this was a DIY job. I had never done this before and it took a lot of planning and work to do the job. Once complete, I stood back and I looked at the result of my toils proudly. I did this!
Next day at the public event, I met a couple of people from my new client with the warmth, mutual gratitude and belief that our worlds were a better place for agreeing our deal. I felt great, and an overwhelming sense of personal achievement.
Then I took to the stage. And what happened was amazing, for me. My words were delivered smoothly; I didn’t shake like a leaf; my confidence was at a peak. I walked off stage to a rapturous applause.
Looking back, what I learned was this. Confidence is a state of mind. This state of mind can be affected by a culmination of many things and we can be in a negative place, or a positive place, based on the accumulation of our recent experiences. When we experience success – measured by how we feel about it – something happens to our state of mind that has a consequence on how we feel about events in our near future.
Now I am sure there are many books and scientific papers that explain the psychology and brain-chemistry behind this. Really, we don’t need to know this. The only knowledge we need to help us boost our self-confidence is that a run of positive experiences that prove that we can achieve success breeds further expectation of success.
The Take-Away Method
To use this for yourself, it will take a little prep.
The first thing to look at is if the confidence issue you’re facing will be adversely affected by other things going on in your life. If you’re due to speak in public, like I was, then it’s a good idea to make sure you have nothing stressful otherwise negative preceding it, like an appointment to have root-canal surgery! Get rid of the things that could bring you down.
Then, look ahead to what opportunities you can create for yourself to build a sense of achievement. Goals that will stretch you. For me, it was luck rather than judgment. I experience two things that boosted the belief in myself and my ability to overcome challenges. But you can be more deliberate. Choose something where an outright failure to complete won’t damage your confidence. If I hadn’t finished my garden shed the day before my public speaking event, it wouldn’t have mattered that much. Things like:
Smash a personal best in your morning run.
How about cooking a real tricky recipe?
Or cycling up that hill that’s beaten you up until now?
Or all three? Get the picture? Success in these things will bring you the sense of achievement, increased self-esteem and the confidence to go after that thing you really, really want.