What Could You Do with More Confidence
Imagine you could click your fingers and you were instantly more confident, what would your life be like? It’s a simple question but as we will find out below an extremely powerful one.
With more confidence would you step into a more senior role, get more sales in your business, and further your career?
Would you be more visible as a leader, more sociable as a friend, more honest as a partner? Maybe you would demand that promotion or a pay rise, challenge those bullies, or speak your truth amongst your networks.
The fact is with more confidence what we do and be can significantly change our relationships, health, wealth, and happiness. And if we know this to be true the question to ask is how can we then adjust the levels of confidence we have?
Inconsistent Confidence & Feelings
If confidence is critical to a good life, why do most of us feel like we lack it? Read the last sentence again and take a guess at what was wrong. Have you found it? If you haven’t let me, put you out of your misery!
Most people confuse how they are ‘feeling’ with their levels of confidence. If they feel good, they are confident if they feel bad, they are not confident! We assume what we feel is the clearest indicator of our level of confidence.
Our emotions/feelings are derived from many more factors than our confidence. From our neurochemistry, and hormones, to our personal psychology. In fact, our emotions are dependent on so many factors from our routines, the weather, people we are with, too much or too little noise, high or low temperature, the type of food, our life events, our routines, and habits are amongst the many factors that all contribute and shape the different emotions we feel.
The significant point to underline is that if feelings are so varied shouldn’t our confidence also be sporadic and inconsistent? The answer here is that true confidence is much more stable and based on more than just feelings but also on what we do, and the action we take despite what we are feeling.
The above statement is extremely powerful and will be the basis of a separate article on how you can start to engage methods to help with confidence. But for now, we must first unpack the foundations between feelings, actions, and confidence.
Unpacking the relationship between Confidence, Action, and Feeling
Take for example a typical workday (a Monday for example). The night before you decided to binge-watch your favorite Netflix series and end up staying up past your bedtime. The second wind of energy took over and you ended up sleeping later by a few hours. Your Monday morning alarm goes off, and you get to work bleary-eyed, depleted of energy and focus.
During this workday how do your interactions with other people go? How do your meetings go? How does feeling exhausted impact your day? It is likely that your focus and clarity is off. Your performance feels sluggish, you do less than planned, and your mood is not great!
Take the opposite example (even if feels far-fetched!) You have a great night’s sleep and wake up early, manage to get some morning exercise and fresh air and exchange pleasantries with other joggers ahead of getting into the office.
Your daily schedule is the same as in the prior example. How would your performance change, how would your interactions be? How would you feel in terms of connection? The answer, if the above was taking place, is likely to be a feeling of more creativity, greater clarity, and more productivity. And it would feel reasonable to expect that with the improved performance feelings of more confidence.
The point above starts to point to the relationship between confidence, energy, action, and feelings all of which are intertwined. Unpacking this will provide us with a potential lever to getting more confidence even if we don’t “feel” it.
The Problem with Feelings
The problem with basing our confidence on just feelings is that new tasks in our lives will almost always push us out of our comfort zones. When taking on a challenge most of us are likely to encounter some level of stress and self-doubt which absorb a lot of our energy. (Yes -stress also burns calories!)
We consequently experience an energetically depleted state. This impacts our ability to perform tasks and impairs our performance. Reduced performance can then reinforce a negative loop in our minds. Our logical brain then concludes we are simply not confident in a particular area, whether that is DIY, socializing, or even Public Speaking based on feelings and the energy signature of a task.
Therefore, so many new tasks and critical challenges will deplete us and our energy. This will impact our performance and therefore confidence levels.
Our Challenge to Feelings!
We are going to radically challenge the assumption that we are what we feel.
To help demonstrate this take the example of the very first time you went swimming. If you are anything like me at the tender age of 7. Visiting the swimming baths and the very smell of chlorine or the sight of those ghastly armbands would induce a level of nausea that would make a vomiting person appear at ease!
The lack of swimming competence coupled with the limited guidance and swimming instruction (in my case) led to me feeling a sense of deep dread, my body switching off and avoidance behavior every time I would have a swimming lesson! My confidence I felt was at rock bottom based on my experience.
It wasn’t until much later in life when through positive enjoyable moments in the hotel pools and exposure to a deep end where I could learn to just tap the bottom and bounce back – that I started to enjoy and learn the skill and process of swimming. Being able to see it as an activity of leisure and relaxation!
Could You Be a Confident Beginner
The useful question to ask is could I have been confident as a beginner whilst learning, is there such a thing as a confident beginner, a confident learner?
I would argue yes, you can be a confident beginner. Taking the swimming example – there were many young kids in my class aged 5 or 6 who would arrive at the pool early accompanied by their parents (coaches) who could swim with them, these ‘confident learners’ would have the gift of being lovingly guided, step by step by parents who shared the joys of the pool.
The challenge I experience was not really the swimming, the armbands, or the chlorine –it was a gap in support I needed to navigate from comfort to the growth zone where confident learning could have taken place.
The point to underline here is that being a beginner in any task does not require you to experience a state of low confidence. By taking actions in balance with feelings and with the right adjustments we all have the potential to be in a place of great confidence!
In the next article, we reveal what methods you can use to start this journey into true Confidence and how this applies to Public Speaking or any area of your life.