Confidence is Overrated

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You’re about to step on stage to speak before five hundred people. You’re nervous. You’re sweating. You’re not feeling very confident in your ability to deliver to this many people from the bright lights of the stage. And so you pretend to be violently sick and rush off the stage hoping people will understand.

You blew it. You choked. You just didn’t have what it takes to close the deal. You lacked confidence.

People say that confidence is important and it empowers people to do things that others will not. They say that confidence provides the courage to muscle through and get things done that they, themselves, might otherwise not do.

These are false statements. Confidence if overrated.

How do I know this?

Let’s go back to the speaking event.

You’re rushing off stage and suddenly your cellphone rings. It’s Liam Neeson. He tells you that he knows your family is in the green room waiting for you to finish your speech. He is with them right now. He further tells you that if you don’t get back up on that stage and deliver your speech, he will have no choice but to…

Your blood goes cold, you hang up immediately and you charge back on stage and perform brilliantly.

This wasn’t because you remembered how important this speech is. It wasn’t from your sudden clarity of how talented you are. And it certainly wasn’t due to some newfound level of confidence.

This behavior occurred because you had a need, a want, a driving desire to save your family from potential harm. That is not confidence. That is want and will.

Now before we go any further, I know what you’re thinking. Liam Neeson is supposed to be the good guy. What the heck happened here?

Well, turns out Liam is also a motivational speaker, and this is just one of his methods to get people moving towards their goals. And it seems to work pretty well.

Ok, obviously I’m making all of this up. Liam Neeson is NOT the bad guy. He is the good guy. And I have no idea if Liam Neeson is a motivational speaker, but will bet that he can make most of us move to action if we heard his voice in our head, giving us no alternative but to act decisively and immediately.

So how do you put this into practice in your life?

It starts with letting go of the myth that you have to be confident to get things done in life.

I’m not saying that confidence is bunk; I’m just saying it’s overrated.

No one needs confidence to do anything. There are loads of stories of people doing things despite their lack of confidence. And you likely have at least a few stories yourself where you didn’t have the confidence to make that sales call, lead that meeting, speak up for an unpopular opinion, stand up for someone else who was trouble or need, or deliver that terrifying speech.

None of these instances requires confidence, but all of them require bravery. And bravery is rooted in want and will.

Want comes from the desire to be in a different place than where you are now.

You want to move form a size 6 to a size 4. You want to move from Manager to Director. You want to move from stage fright to seeing your family again.

Will comes from resisting temptation in order to reach a long-term goal.

You resist the urge to snack in order to reach your fitness goal. You resist the urge to blame upper management for the latest budget cut in order to show your boss you are committed to company policy and strategy. You resist the urge to protect your ego in order to protect your family.

Confidence can help you feel like you can do anything. It can provide the support you need when your faith is waning, your trust is stumbling, and your self-assurance is just not there.

But if confidence isn’t quite there yet, want and will can override any fears you might be experiencing. When you know what you want, and you have the desire to make that happen, no matter the cost, you can accomplish anything in life.

And the funny thing is, once you start acting on want and will, you’ll start achieving more. And once you see that your goals can be reached, you’ll start gaining confidence. With all three in place, you’re ready to set bigger goals and see better results.

So how will you challenge yourself, next time you feel a lack of confidence? What will you do to be really honest with yourself and find the want and develop the will to overcome your toughest challenges? And how will you react when you hear Liam Neeson in your head giving you no alternative but to attack and achieve your desired goals?

Overcoming lack of confidence is not an easy task, but knowing what you want and finding the will to take that first step will bring you closer to your goals and builds the mental fitness to conquer all fears.

Your Mindful Moment:

Confidence may come and go. Let want and will guide you to reach your goals.

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