What goes on
Confidence is the no 1 thing that people ask us for help and advice on. Why? Because it’s such an important thing. And because it’s something that people don’t work on in the business world – or in the big wide world in general. Given its importance we’re slightly mystified that people don’t really talk about confidence very much – it seems to be some kind of taboo subject. If you talk about having confidence, you’re arrogant. If you talk about not having it, you’re fragile. Lose-lose. And because it’s a bit of a taboo subject people don’t really understand confidence, how to make sure it’s there when they need it and what to do to build it. Confidence is the most misunderstood and ignored performance topic of them all. Madness given it’s the most important one for most people.
The world’s best performers don’t leave their confidence to chance. It’s far too important for that.
Five performance truths
The brutal reality of high performance life – this is what you need to know
- Confidence is the single biggest factor that’ll influence your performance, particularly when it matters most. If you’ve got the right attitude and essential skill, then it all comes down to your confidence and belief.
- Confidence is not a personality trait or quality. It’s not something that you either have or haven’t. Being confident is a skill. Everyone can build their confidence if they know what to do.
- Confidence comes from being clear, ready and focusing on the right things. Task clarity, focusing on what you can control, recalling your achievements, knowing how you’ll use your strengths, and feeling as prepared and ready as you can be; these are the foundations of solid confidence.
- Good performers invest time and energy in building their confidence. They know what fuels their confidence and they make sure they do regular things to stoke the confidence fire. They don’t wait for confidence to drop before they start doing these things.
- Confidence fluctuates. Everyone’s confidence goes up and down – even Olympic medalists. The trick is making the dips less dramatic and shorter, and the highs longer, by having some strong confidence building habits in place.
Three things to do
- Start thinking about and talking about confidence. If you want to be more confident, get to grips with what it is and what underpins your confidence.
- Create a confidence building plan. It should be full of the stuff that feeds your confidence
- Be disciplined about working on your confidence. Follow your plan. Give your confidence the time and energy that it deserves. Only then will you start reaping the rewards.
Kim works in sales. She’s a confident kind of person – which means that she has a pretty positive outlook on life and was brought up believing she’s capable of anything she turns her hand to. That mindset stood her in good stead – unlike quite recently. She got promoted and took on a challenging role selling a new, high end product in a new space for her company. She’s found things tough – she wasn’t getting the wins she was used to and really started to doubt herself and what she was doing. The more she doubted herself, the harder it was to remember what she was good at, she began to expect failure and she started to get nervous in important meetings. Kim was struggling.
She confided in her boss and was given access to The Performance Room as a solution. It was like manna from heaven for Kim. From reading all the great stuff, she very quickly realised that she had been focusing on all the things that were guaranteed to hit her confidence – judging herself by results only, remembering the failures over and over and talking to herself unhelpfully. She started by getting clear on how she needed to perform to give the best chance of success, recognising that conditions were tough. She focused on this in getting ready, in delivery and in reviewing her performances on a daily basis. She reconnected with what she was good at and thought much more about these things. Soon her confidence rebounded and she also started to get better results. Sales took time to grow, but Kim didn’t define herself by just results. She was very proud of her resilience and felt confident to take on the world. Pretty soon she was running for Prime Minister.