Lacking confidence or showing fake confidence is a recipe for failing to reach your full potential.
It is difficult to say precisely what percentage of people don’t meet their full potential because it is subjective and can vary significantly from person to person. However, 80% of professionals underachieve based on studying and coaching thousands of professionals.
The popular reason given for those underachieving is that they don’t have the talent. While that could be the case, it often is just an excuse. The truth is that most professionals don’t lack talent, they lack confidence.
Most people don’t lack talent, they lack confidence.
Said differently, you don’t have a talent gap; you have a confidence gap.
Low Confidence Equals Low Performance
Self-confidence is the belief in oneself and one’s abilities. It is the trust in one’s own judgment and abilities. It’s that assurance that you can prevail at whatever you put your mind to.
Self-confidence is an essential quality that can help you achieve your goals and improve professionally and personally. It can give you the courage to take risks, try new things, and face challenges with a positive attitude.
In his book Do Hard Thing, Author Steve Magness wrote, “The old model of confidence focuses on the external. The new model focuses on the internal; true confidence has to be found in reality, and it must come from within.”
Not only is Magness correct, but I would also take it a step further with a simple equation:
Low Confidence = Low Performance
What Happens When We Have Confidence
Confidence is an interesting skill because the outcomes are highly predictable when you do or don’t possess absolute confidence. When you or I lack belief, our doubts have space to spread. They move from irregular reminders to persistent reminders that you aren’t worthy enough for your desires to become a reality. Conversely, confidence keeps your insecurities in check, freeing you up to perform to the level of your training.
In the comments, tell me if you agree or what needs to be added to the list.
How to Build Confidence
Building inner confidence can be a challenging process, but it’s an essential step in achieving your goals and feeling good about yourself. It would be fantastic if there were a shortcut or cheat code to possess confidence immediately, but that wouldn’t be the case. It is built one way, and that’s through consistent daily repetition. If you are looking for some ideas, here are proven ways:
1. Free Your Focus Daily
If there is a shortcut to building confidence is performing well consistently when opportunities arise. All great athletes know the key to their success is having a quiet mind and a clear head while practicing and performing.
Unfortunately, too many leaders and professionals must take this same approach daily. Instead of freeing their focus, they do the opposite. They pack their entire to-do list in and short amount of time and are amazed when they come up short.
Be intentional about setting up systems and space in your day to free your focus, so you can optimize your potential to get desirable outcomes (which builds confidence).
2. Use Optimistic Words With Yourself
It amazes me how many people willingly say negative and hurtful things to themselves. I am talking about speaking negativity directly into their heart and mind.
I remind my kids and leaders in our workshops, “the words you say to yourself are the most important words you say.”
The words you say to yourself are the most important words you say.
While corny and uncomfortable, daily affirmations have a place in everyone’s life because you rarely hear optimistic things from others regularly. My favorite daily affirmation is “I am worthy, take advantage of today’s opportunities. Prepare to serve.” You don’t have to use it, but by all means, steal it if you struggle with using encouraging words with yourself.
3. Scrap Perfection
By far, the one most people need to hear is to scrap perfection. Setting unrealistic goals and expectations is a surefire way to crush your confidence instead of building it. Now I am not saying you shouldn’t set standards for yourself or have the ambition to achieve great results. However, I am speaking to scrap perfection because it creates an unhealthy relationship with being outcome-oriented.
We are all guilty of measuring ourselves against the stick of perfection. But now is your time to do something about it. “What is one area of your life that you need to scrap perfection to build confidence?”
Remember that building confidence is a journey; it may take time to see results. Be patient with yourself and commit to consistent daily repetitions. Over time, you will have more confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities.
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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.