The Quiet, The Loud, and The Confident
Confidence….it’s a very attractive quality. Some display a level of confidence far greater than we can ever feel possible. The ‘volume’ of their confidence level can be deafening. Others do not display such levels of confidence and quietly go about their business, with equal success.
So what is confidence?
The definition is ‘the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something’.
I would note here that for me, that ‘someone’ we rely on is ourselves.
In this case, what are the qualities of a confident person?
According to the team at confidencereboot.com, they are:
- Quietly certain
- Comfortable in their environment (I would add here in their own skin too)
They will also have the following qualities:
- Self Belief
- Deliberate Speech
I would conclude, therefore, that confidence can be summed up as an attitude about your own skills and abilities. If you are confident, it means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weaknesses well, and have a positive view of yourself. You believe in yourself.
To feel you lack confidence, therefore, would appear to be an unknowing of one’s self. Or our skills, strengths and power. Or could it be that you are trying to go in a direction that is not natural to you and therefore you are not confident in your ability to achieve that goal?
Rome Wasn’t Built in One Day
Let’s unpack this confidence back pack a little and see it applied in a work related situation, from my own experience.
The scene is this, I am not long in a new role and I have been given the task of presenting financial forecast data to the leadership team. Due to the historical lack of reliability, the data is questioned in numerous ways. Some of the data the leadership are referring to is not even included on the report I am sharing on my screen, which can send me into a blind panic as I scramble to locate what I am asked for. When I take more than a minute, it is answered by someone else and I feel I have let them down.
To add context here, I do not have a financial background, I have not been ‘trained’ in how to work with this report, how it is built or what is important to focus on. I have had to learn by doing (which actually suits my learning style, but can be a slower track to being able to perform well in such situations).
I attend that call on a weekly basis, with most of the global leadership team in attendance (including some high up executives, financial managers and more) and I am being quizzed regularly but in what feels like a random pattern. I cannot learn this process if it is so random, so I initially HATE these calls. Because I am new, I want to make a good impression, I care what others think and I want them to see value in my work. I want to show that I know what I am doing.
So I draw on my problem solving and networking skills to fix the data reliability in the report, I forgive myself (firstly) for not knowing it all as I am new. I forgive the ones asking the questions as they do not know me yet so do not know my style, preferences, etc. And I forgive those I work with for not ‘preparing me’ for this call, because they too cannot predict the questions that will come.
I ground myself in learning from the pain and I focus my energies on getting it right for me, first and foremost. By doing this I recognise in myself the ability to be open, honest and kind. I am a fast paced and responsive individual, I like to know the answers or have that data at my fingertips. I know the right people in the organisation that can help, so I reach out to them.
By the end of my first quarter in position I am praised for picking up what others have taken years to learn, the data quality issues have been resolved and I have a reliable system in place so that, if I am asked random questions, I can answer more readily.
A little side win for me was that my work in ensuring every product was recorded as to the type of revenue it brought into the business and, therefore, which financial reporting bucket it fell into, actually benefited more than just me in the long run. There were far fewer questions related to the data quality.
5 Tips to Build Confidence
- Ground yourself in your breath
Your breath is a constant. It is with you no matter what. It is also a good indication of your current state. If you are calm, you may not even notice that you are breathing as it is so effortless and automatic. If you are excited and explaining something to someone, you may notice that you are breathing less regularly and more deeply as you try to get your words out. If you are scared, you may notice that you have actually held your breath. In all of these situations, if you stop to check in with your breathing state, you will recognise how you are physically reacting to a situation. This check in can last seconds. It can happen while someone else is speaking, before you have entered a room or even mid sentence. You can then also take a few seconds to breath one longer slower breath to re-balance. You may even wish to have a word you say to yourself (in your head) while you take that breath. ‘Balance’, ‘Release’ or ‘Calm’ can be good to start with until you find what works for you.
- See only opportunities to improve
You may be aware of something you would personally prefer you did better, or you could ask others for constructive feedback. In my case above, I learned by observing the needs of others vs my skill set. I have also used previous yearly review comments. If it matters to you to be better or it appears to be an opportunity others see for you, look at how you can improve. If you need help to do that, ask. If it is training, check out LinkedIn Learning. If it is internal knowledge you need, seek out a guru!
- Ask when you need help
One of the hardest things is to ask when you need help, particularly if you are feeling vulnerable as your confidence is low. I would invite you to use the 5 second rule here that Mel Robbins shares in her book of that name. Countdown from 5 to 1 and then do it! I have witnessed people openly ask for what appears to be the most basic of help in high level calls and everyone jumps and celebrates it. If you haven’t asked, try and then fail, it can be looked upon in a whole different light. If you are in that ‘feeling vulnerable’ phase, try asking those you trust first – they could help or probably know someone who can.
- Never believe that anyone else is better than you
We are all unique. We vary in our skills, our knowledge and our life experience. This alone means there will never be two identical humans. There will be people who have been there before you, learned something more deeply, have a talent that amazes you. But……we all start and end in the same way (to a degree!). We all have the same amount of time in the day and we all have the ability to achieve anything we set our minds to. So rather than feeling someone is better, admire them for their skills, knowledge / expertise and use that to your advantage. Ask them questions, learn from them, use their experience to fast track your own. I will leave you with a fabulous phrase I heard during the paralympics here to inspire your thoughts on this topic. ‘If you’ve got a lane, you’ve got a chance’.
- Take ownership
Regardless of a situation, take ownership of how you are within it. Give yourself permission to use your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Recognise they are yours and you can actually control them all. Question your inner thoughts – are they truly valid? Do you have evidence? Remember that you may be reacting this way due to past experiences, but they equally do not mean this one will turn out in the same way. By taking yourself one stage away from a situation (metaphorically speaking) into a ‘third person’ view, you can more critically assess a situation. You can learn to see from different angles. You can control a reaction. You can mature a reaction. You can learn.
6 Stage Program
I wrote my six stage programme, focusing on building a solid foundation, based on my own experience when the organisation I worked for was acquired by another. I learned a lot about valuing my own skills, making decisions based on my gut feel and knowing when I needed to move to protect myself. I gained a lot of confidence in those days and have learned a lot more as time has gone on. This is reflected in the programme and the way it guides your thinking.
The programme takes you through stages that help you to develop the skill of being you, of being comfortable in your own skin and knowing your worth. When you have that deeper understanding of yourself, you will start to be able to build more confidence every day.
As you can see, by applying the programme, and being guided by me through my own experience, you will benefit from deepening your confidence and enhancing your personal growth.
This is why I suggest to you that the programme can support anyone working through a confidence issue.
Have Better Confidence Now
So if you are feeling like you need a confidence boost, click this link to build the solid foundation you’ve been looking for. Fast track to a positive and confident place with no hard work.
Let’s get you started on the 6 steps to success!