Years ago I attended a workshop about how to live successfully. The facilitator taught about the importance of self-confidence and asked us what we will do if we each won $10million. We played along, covering everything, from paying off mortgages (debt), buying beautiful holiday homes, travelling the world, giving to charities etc. We got so excited he had to calm us down. Whilst our spirits were high, he asked us to imagine we woke up in the morning and received a gift that contained 10million units of self-confidence, in essence, all the confidence we needed to make every dream we had come true. Now, he said, what will you do tomorrow if you had all this confidence? Again, we shared the bold steps we will take. At the time, I had left investment banking, was working for a charity and had dreams of being a global leadership development consultant. So, I said I would reach out to the Global Head of HR of J.P. Morgan to discuss how I could help develop their people. We were having fun, so why not. Then in a serious tone, he asked why we couldn’t do what we said. There was dead silence as we all had a mini panic attack at the thought of doing what we said our most confident self would do. It was a profound realisation that what was holding us back was a lack of self-confidence and not the excuses we had been telling ourselves. Is the same true for you? Are there things you are putting off because of a gap in your confidence? We often find convenient excuses why we can’t do something NOW, but the truth most times is that it is a confidence gap. The fact is that this gap only closes when we take the step and do it afraid. I took action. I reached out to the Global Head of HR of J.P. Morgan at the time. To my amazement, I was able to schedule a call and give my pitch. Although he politely declined and gave me advice on improving my chances, that was a defining moment in my life. I realised that if I always waited to feel confident before taking a bold step, I will stunt my success potential. I often get asked how I became so confident. The truth is that I do a lot of things afraid for the first time, my confidence catches up and increases to a new baseline level. Below are three ways to boost your confidence.
Once you know it is the right thing to do, commit to doing it afraid and learn with each attempt.
Practice and prepare. The surest way to be more confident is to prepare. I prepare insanely. I once had to give a 2-5 minute presentation, and I practised for over 2 hours.
Reflect on past successes and achievements every day. It can be as short as five minutes, and it does wonders in reinforcing your confidence.
Memorable Quote -“Confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets” Anonymous. Coaching tip - Write a self-confidence letter to yourself telling yourself why you are proud of yourself. Remind yourself why you should be confident in your abilities. Include significant achievements you are proud of and challenges you have overcome. Leadership challenge - Imagine you were in the same workshop I was in; what would you do tomorrow if you had all the confidence you needed? Just do it.