Confidence. It’s hard to pin down. Think back to a time when you felt incredibly confident. A time when you knew you could handle anything that came your way; you had the moves, the skills, the mental edge to succeed. You were in the zone.
If you can relate, that’s a great start. Confidence is truly an amazing feeling. Yet, if you’re thinking, I wish that were so—you’re not alone. Confidence can also be tricky to harness.
Big picture confidence is described as “the purity of action produced by a mind free of doubt” (Confidence Code). While popular culture tends to paint confidence as a mental “super power,” produced, stored, and activated in the mind, research suggests that confidence is not all in your head—in fact, it’s quite the contrary.
Confidence is actually linked to doing; it’s the “reaction of action” (Confidence Code). It’s observing yourself in action, in triumph, when you believed you would fail. It requires you to actually get out of your head in order to “just do.” It’s your action that creates confidence.
And, better yet, this action breeds success. Research finds that success correlates more closely with confidence than it does with competence.
A study out of King’s College in London, found that “self perceived ability” or SPA is more important than IQ in predicting success – meaning confidence is more important than IQ in predicting success. In other words, confidence outmaneuvers ability when it comes to getting ahead— a stark deviation from popular belief.
So, it’s clear— harnessing confidence is key to success. It impacts all that we do. Thus, we must recognize what it looks like in action in order to pursue it in action.
Take elite athletes— they’re seemingly the most confident beings in the world. They make performing—both winning and failing— in front of thousands, millions of people look easy, right…? What’s the trick?
Well, athletes don’t fear failure; they welcome it as an inevitable outcome and a key aspect in winning. On confidence, athletes advise: don’t dwell on mistakes, don’t worry about pleasing everyone, don’t deflect praise, don’t apologize, and don’t be afraid to compete (Confidence Code). They’re best advice: restart quickly.
Now, just imagine if we could harness that same type of “elite athlete” confidence in our own lives…
Truth is, you can. You just have to act.
Even with our doubts, we must act— because confidence is action. Action is what separates the timid from the bold, the achievers from the exceeders.
So here you go— action steps that breed confidence…
Try new things amidst the fear of failure and the pressure of perfection. Live the motto: do it, learn from it, move on. Find achievement beyond the outcome, whether that be in the relationships forged, the conversations had, or the little battles won.
Give yourself 5 seconds for failure before restarting. Failure is inevitable— and we can also change our relationship with it. Accepting that it will happen, and having a plan for when it does happen (because it will!) is critical. Give yourself 5 second to dwell on it, before changing gears into problem solving mode. Learn to fail fast, and rebound even faster.
Thank your inner thoughts for challenging you. We are all familiar with our negative automatic thoughts, the ones that say, “you can’t” and “you’re not good enough.” Instead of fighting them, spiraling rumination and self-pity, let’s face them and thank them. It’s the constant competition that fuels success— and face it—you are your best opponent. Bring it on!!
These three keys will help you get started. But, the most important thing to remember is that you can’t stop. Confidence is action.