Did you know that being confident is a choice you can make? How confident you feel is up to you. No one makes you feel confident or otherwise; you do that all by yourself.Have you ever thought about it like that? That you’re 100% responsible for how confident you feel?
Confidence draws on both our emotion and our cognition, because it’s not just about whether we can do a task; it’s about whether we believe we are capable of doing that task.
As busy humans we tend not to dally frequently in metacognition – or “thinking about thinking” – if we’re busy with meetings, family, deadlines and general overwhelm. But confidence is a pretty important topic to master, I’d say, so worth a few moments of contemplation, to be sure!
This belief in ourselves and our abilities is the key to confidence. When we know that we are capable of something, we just do it. We are in the flow, it’s effortless, our brain is on autopilot and sometimes even checks out of the process entirely and lets the basal ganglia system take over.
Pure confidence allows us to draw easily on our deep well of skills and knowledge whenever we need it – there is no “noise” or negative chatter clouding our innate trust in ourselves. Any lack of confidence will get in the way of this flow, which is sub-optimal in any situation.
In essence, confidence doesn’t give us more skill necessarily, but it does give us clear access to the skills we do have. Which is why your confidence is so key to your success and happiness. It allows us to lead a life of ease, of calmness, of clarity.
Many of us believe that we’re pretty confident. Aren’t we all getting by just fine without something else to worry about? But even though we are speaking up, raising our hands and voices, leaning in, and generally taking no prisoners, we are all feeling it at times. That little shadow out the corner of our eye, that quiet voice that sounds like logic, that flutter in the pit of our stomach…
Fear and self-doubt make us procrastinate, or not put our hand up for that promotion because “we’re not ready” or “we haven’t been here long enough”, or “John is earmarked for the role already, so oh well”. It makes us shy away from leading a tricky new project, or stops us speaking up in a meeting (story of my life!). It stops us going up to the MD at the Christmas party, stops us making chit chat in the lift with the new COO, and makes us send an email instead of picking up the phone and really connecting with someone (phone phobia, anyone *sheepishly puts hand up*).
They don’t seem like massive losses, and maybe they’re not, maybe nothing would have come of your conversation with the new COO. But, my friend, you’ll never know.
And that is sad.
It’s when self-doubt and fear make us play small that we need to pull the plug, and put a stop to it. It’s time to take back control and run our life exactly as we want to.
So even if you’re usually oozing confidence, you’re reading this article, so you know you have a little more to give, am I right?
And aren’t we worth the best? Isn’t our happiness worth everything? And I mean everything?
This is why courage and as much fearlessness as we can muster is so important, to your life and your career. Let’s not play small, Ladies, we have Boards to conquer, career ladders to climb, and butts to kick! World domination won’t happen if we’re too timid to pick up the phone. Just saying...