Confidence is quiet; insecurity is loud.
The best way to gain confidence is to do the thing you are most afraid to do.
Actualized Leaders engage in three “sequences” of productive endeavor: Confidence, Performance, and Renewal. Each of the three sequences contains a unique cognitive, emotional, and behavioral element that drives optimal performance. When these unique elements are developed and enhanced, the individual is more effective in activating the specific sequence. The purpose of this blog is to explore the Confidence Sequence and to examine ways to improve this crucial and foundational aspect of achieving our highest potential.
Confidence is defined as the feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities; a firm trust. Confidence is more than the fuel that drives productive behavior, however. It is the hopeful expectation in a positive outcome, whether that confidence is placed in one’s own ability, or as faith in another. Actualized Leaders are more fully integrated and balanced, and are more likely to experience true confidence. I use the qualifier “true” to differentiate between arrogance and hubris on the one hand, and false humility and meekness on the other. Confident leaders are those who possess a very high degree of self-awareness, and at the same time trust their colleagues and teammates to make decisions and take appropriate actions.
The Confidence Sequence
In order to better understand the Confidence Sequence, it is important to understand the three elements that drive this sequence, and they follow: Cognitive: Objective; Emotional: Courage; and Behavioral: Candor.
This sequence, and in fact the very foundation of self-actualization, starts with Objectivity in our lives. Maslow stated that the most important attribute to develop was our ability to be truly Objective in assessing ourselves, others, and our environment, in order to make decisions based on reality, as opposed to our hopes or wishes.
Following Objectivity is the Emotional Attribute of Courage. Courage refers to the emotional resolution to live at least part of our lives outside of our comfort zone, and to effectively manage our fear. Nelson Mandela famously said that courage is “not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Courage allows us to take our Objective assessment of our environment, or ourselves, and to have the emotional fortitude to take the necessary but often painful or unpopular actions to live our purpose and highest potential.
Finally, from thinking and feeling with Objectivity and Courage comes the behavioral manifestation of Candor. Candor is the state of being forthright, open, and sincere in our communications with others. It is not the state of being blunt or rude, but it is the ability to be frank and honest with others. Actualized Leaders often have a strong abiding belief that being candid with others is an expression of honoring them without making assumptions about their likely response or reaction to it. When these three Attributes are in place, you are more likely to experience true, grounded, and realistic Confidence, which is the fuel necessary to propel you to your highest potential and purpose.
Developing Your Confidence
In a world brimming with arrogance on the one hand, and insecurity on the other, confident leaders are at a distinct advantage over others. And, the good news is that there are specific steps you can take to develop and enhance your Confidence Sequence.
- Review the earlier BLOG on Objectivity. Are you confronting the “brutal facts” of your current situation, or are you in a state of denial? Take the necessary steps to assess yourself and your situation with the “clinical distance” of Objectivity and make plans for improvement accordingly.
- Review the earlier BLOG on Courage. Are you willing to get outside of your comfort zone when necessary in order to triumph over your fear, or are you stuck in the easy and predictable rut of your comfort zone?
- Review the earlier BLOG on Candor. Are you frank and sincere with others, or do you avoid confrontation or sugarcoat the truth? Do you honor others with Candor, or do you try to please them with watered-down versions of the truth? What would become available to you, and to others, if you spoke your truth with frankness and sincerity?
Confidence is absolutely necessary to achieve your highest potential. I do not believe you can develop and sustain it by giving yourself pep talks or hoping for the best. I believe that true Confidence is created when you ascertain and think with Objectivity, feel and act with Courage, and speak the truth and honor others with Candor.
What would you do if you were absolutely confident you would not fail?
How would your life, and the lives of those you love, be different if you were confident enough to take that risk?