By Kevin Eikenberry
Have you ever seen the movie or stage musical The Sound of Music? If so, you probably remember Maria leaving the Abbey to become a governess.
As she winds her way through town toward the von Trapp mansion, she sings about her lack of confidence in her ability to succeed in this role. In the course of the song, she convinces herself that she can be successful and her confidence builds.
In fact, the final lines of the song show her growing conviction…
I have confidence in confidence alone Besides which you see I have confidence in me!
While there are valuable lessons in the song (a quick Google search will find you many copies of the lyrics) it isn’t always as easy to convince ourselves of confidence in just a few lines.
Instead of a few lines of song, here are some specific ideas and an approach to help you (or perhaps someone you are coaching) systematically build your confidence level. These ideas can be applied for something very specific or just to help with your general overall confidence level.
- Look at past success. The best source for building your confidence is your past. Survey your entire life for successes. It doesn’t matter if those successes are in a completely different area of your life than where you are now searching for confidence. Review the times you have succeeded. Times you are proud. Times you achieved. Make a list of these accomplishments and keep it where you can easily review it at any time. Just reading this list will buoy your confidence – after all, if you have succeeded in the past, you can (and will) succeed again.
- Recognize your strengths. You will always be more confident when you accurately realize – and honor – what you are good at. If you have a good sense of this, make another list, and put it, again, somewhere you can review regularly. If you don’t have a good sense of your strengths, now is the time to get it! Ask for feedback from those who know you well. Review the common elements of your past successes looking for clues. Think about the things that come easy to you, that you don’t give a second thought. All of these are clues and ways to develop your list of strengths. With your strengths in place, why wouldn’t you be more confident?
- Build your competence. As you build your competence in something you become more confident, right? You have plenty of life experiences to confirm that point. So, if you want to build your confidence, build you competence or skills. Read a book, take a class, get a coach, or a hundred other things. And then, practice. You build your competence – and your confidence – when you practice successfully.
- Make the mental transfer. Ask yourself, “If I have been successful before, is there any reason to think I can’t be successful in the future?” The correct answer to this is, “no way!” You can build your confidence by mentally reminding yourself of past successes and then transferring that success mentally as proof that you can do it again.
- Manage your mind. You’ve likely noticed your internal talk giving you doubts and negative input – perhaps even since you began reading this article. This negative self-talk erodes your confidence as much as any other thing – and it is all your own doing! When you notice the negative thoughts and doubts, take control of your thoughts by reminding yourself of the other things on this list– including the actions you are already taking to create great results (which is actually the next and final point).
- Take action. In the end, you must take action. Your confidence can’t be maintained at a high level if you are never taking action; never doing anything; always leaving yourself on a conceptual level. And, as you take actions – like learning and practicing and trying (and succeeding) – you create a momentum that further reinforces your confidence, as well. Take action!
As a new front-line supervisor, you can use these six secrets to help your own confidence level, as well as those you lead.
Confidence is an important foundation for productivity and achievement. Take these steps and proactively create better results for yourself and the world around you.
Looking for a way to take action and build competence? Here’s a link to our upcoming workshops.