What role does confidence play in a successful transition to your next venture? How do you keep from becoming too confident?
This episode’s Inspire Me quote is from comedian and playwright, Woody Allen:
“Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.”
Confidence is a critical ingredient to motivate us to take the risks that a new venture requires. When we display confidence, others see it and mirror that confidence back to us as well. Confident people:
- Are secure in themselves. They don’t need to name-drop to bolster their ideas or their image.
- Use great eye contact. They focus on what another is saying by looking at them in the eyes and don’t wander to see if someone else more important might be nearby.
- Have a healthy respect for their ideas. They don’t need to always have the winning idea, nor are they shy in presenting their ideas in a healthy way.
- Don’t need to always have an answer. They don’t need to be the smartest one in the room.
Five ways you can intentionally gain more confidence:
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Confidence is gained from experience in the skill or situation that is new to you.
- Have a solution mind-set. Don’t focus on the problems, look for solutions and view previous failures as experiments that had an outcome. Now you know what didn’t work. Try something different next time.
- Set and accomplish a small but meaningful goal. We can increase our overall confidence by just accomplishing a task, even a small goal that we haven’t done before or in awhile. That’s because accomplishing a meaningful goal releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good about ourselves. The same effect occurs when we exercise.
- Practice gratitude. Grateful people are more self-confident because they are able to buoy themselves in hardship. They are also infectious and others are more likely to express confidence in a person that regularly practices gratitude.
- Reaffirm God’s intentions toward you. God equipped you for a purpose. Opportunities are there to strengthen you for His work in this world. In all things, His intentions toward you are good. As Max Lucado once wrote, “Fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness.”
In all times, however, we need to be aware that confidence can bloom into overconfidence. According to Maria Konnikova, overconfidence stems from three things:
- More information. The more we have, the more our confidence increases—even if the information is not directly related to the decision.
- More experience. Our past experience increases likelihood for overconfidence, overestimating our own ability and underestimating forces outside our control
- More action. The more we’re engaged in a specific action, the more likely we are to overestimate our ability.
We can keep our confidence in check by asking ourselves these questions:
- Am I pushing myself to learn? One of the marks of over-confidence is unteachability.
- Am I seeking advice from others, even in areas I may be certain about? Get someone who’s not impressed with you to check your thinking.
- Am I practicing the discipline to think slowly? Overconfidence will drive us to make important decisions quickly. Robert Sternberg said “Intelligence is knowing when to think and act quickly and when to think and act slowly.”
The Challenge Me for this episode is to write out 5 things you would you do if you had more self-confidence?
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova. Read Leary’s review of this book.
- How to think slowly, Leary Gates blog post
- How your mindset affects your next great beginning, Episode 4 of Reinventure Me on developing a learning mindset
- How to be a better beginner, Episode 6 of Reinventure Me on learning new things