While attending a workshop in 2017, the presenter caught my attention when she said confidence can be built. Really? Are we actually in control of our levels of confidence? This was news to me.
It turns out we are in control, at least 50% but probably much more. A study done on 15,000 twins in the UK tested their attitude towards how well they would do on IQ tests at age 7 and age 9. Dividing the twins into fraternal and identical they found that the identical twins were much more likely to have similar levels of confidence about how well they would do on the test. Some of our confidence may be genetic but much more of it is up to us.
What is it?
My definition is, it’s a feeling based on our self-worth which allows us to overcome challenges and keep moving forward. I have learned optimism plays a key role in this. Not the Pollyanna approach where you assume everything will be rosy but based on hope and a mindset shift that whatever happens you can handle it.
As an internal processor, aka introvert I do a really great job of self-judgement, self-criticism and over analysing. If I wasn’t so hard on myself I’d give myself an A+ but I’m humble so we’ll stick with an A. Part of my confidence building journey has been surrendering and letting go of this negative self-talk. Easier said than done. It means accepting mistakes, not over catastrophising when they do happen (and they will) using tools such as learned optimism to support me to move forward and letting go of control. Part of my anxiety which contributed to feelings of low confidence was in perfectionism and trying to control aspects of my life. This is still a work in progress but I’m aware of when it is happening. I love a good ‘to do’ list but on the days when I can surrender it’s tearing up the list and just going with it. Amazingly things still get done. Sometimes, over use of strengths can become a weakness.
Quiet Confidence is the term I use for those of us who are more introverted in temperament but still want to be influential in what we do. Author Jocelyn Davis in her book The Art of Quiet Influence calls this Jujustu. She says Jujustu experts accept the ‘intractable power imbalances and the rules when facing a stronger opponent and act to ‘serve interests not ego’. In other words, they get out of their own head, use strategy and process in developing influence.
‘Hook a figurative foot around a figurative ankle to throw them off balance. Smile as you do it’
The Confidence Challenge
We are confused about confidence. We base it on what we see outside, comparing ourselves to others who come across as more confident. In Yoga, tree pose is a balance posture standing on one leg, that leg is rooted to the ground for stability. To become sustainably confident, we need to build these firm roots. The only way to do that is building confidence from the inside out; awareness, reflection, mindset, surrender, and practice.
If you would like to learn more about building confidence I will be hosting a 3 part workshop in May on Quiet Confidence. Sign up here.