Self-Confidence

…is the subject of this week’s Pearl of Leadership Wisdom

It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to. – W.C. Fields
It’s been only a few short months since I wrote of Self-Confidence and I’m being asked about it again. Despite us living here in one of the richest countries on earth, with 90% of the world’s population willing to swap places with us at the drop of a hat, this remains a huge issue.
My soufflé won’t rise…
Self-confidence cannot simply be summoned up by your neck-top computer.  Positive thinking only gets you so far. You are unlikely to become the world’s best soufflé chef by thinking about it.
We are all in sales…
You are unlikely to be a confident, self-assured small business person if the only thing you’re good at is your product, what you deliver. Not if you have other responsibilities, like sales and sales and sales.
And did I mention sales.
The Great Barrier Grief…
Without doubt there are blockers to self-confidence –

* All dependencies – whether people, drugs, habits, beliefs (I wish independence for the Scots. Not because I have the idiotic hate-the-English mindset, which I don’t. It’s because being independent will force Scotland to be…well… independent. And shed the little-brother mindset. Then, and only then, can we contemplate self-confidence.)
* All comparisons – of yourself with others (the only comparison worth giving brain-time to is where you are compared to where you want to be).
* Don’t repress your desires, they will never go away. The act of repression implies that you feel the desire is bad and you have it so you are bad etc etc you know the thing – no self-confidence there.

Would the real barrier please stand up…
But the real blocker is poor competence or skill. Self-confidence is an output. It’s not an input. You become self-confident when you purposely set out to become skilled and capable at a task. In time, when you hone your skills, it will come. Sporadic bouts of activity, driven largely out of fear and desperation, like the sales guy who hates making calls then makes 100 in a day, and then none for the next two weeks – this compounds and ingrains poor self-confidence. Vicious cycle.
You don’t start with…
…self-confidence. You end with self-confidence.
Of course once competent your self-confidence will increase and this will spill over to become part of your demeanour and will make the attainment of self-confidence in other areas of your life easier. Virtuous cycle.
So what to do…
Think of the one area where supreme self-confidence would change your life. I mean really change it. Be specific.
Plan to do this thing – put it in your diary. Make a promise to yourself. Now plan for this event. Once you’ve done it, review how it went. Seek feedback. Now plan again for the next time. Then do it. Then review.
Plan-Do-Review-Plan-Do-Review….they call it continuous improvement.
Take your medicine…
I cannot stress enough that the one great medicine, the cure-all, that almost always works in almost all situations, that makes you feel better mentally and physically, that generates what those that don’t take the medicine call “luck”…is…ACTION.
Just do it. Self-confidence is an output. It will come.

Mark

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