Confidence Builds on Confidence

In a previous post, I wrote about ways to start gaining more confidence. This time, I’d like to build on those ideas, for a simple reason: Just as lack of confidence tends to impair your performance, possessing an appropriate amount of confidence tends to improve your performance. And performance improvement is what we’re all about.

Aside from helping you perform at or near your peak, boosting your level of confidence can help you become more productive and successful in two other ways:

First, confidence can help you seek out, find, and accept greater challenges. The more confident you feel, the more you’re willing to tackle the bigger tasks, projects, and goals that come your way.

Second, confidence gives you extra armor or shielding against obstacles and the fear of failure. A confident person tends to more accurately size up whatever obstacles may arise in their path. At the same time, you’ll tend to feel less afraid about consequences should a particular obstacle outmatch you.

The net result is that confidence not only helps fuel your top performance, it helps remove common restraints on it, as well.

Here, then, are some guidelines for building more confidence on top of your existing confidence:

Let It Flow

Like a muscle, confidence grows stronger when you use it. That’s why it’s helpful to make a practice of exercising your confidence, and also accepting gradually more demanding challenges.

You don’t need to step up too far too fast. Pushing too hard may lead you to overreach and suffer a confidence setback. But equally, you don’ t want to stick with challenges at the level you can easily meet. That’s a formula for stagnation rather than growth.

You build more confidence on top of existing confidence when you continually reassess your capabilities and regularly test yourself against somewhat more difficult tasks, projects, and goals.

The idea is to establish a virtuous cycle: Confidence leads to accepting bigger challenges which leads to bigger successes which leads to more confidence.

Get Real

Just as too little confidence can limit your productivity and success, too much confidence also can hurt you.

There’s a fine line between confidence and conceit, or overconfidence. The optimum situation is where you’re clear on what you can do, and also clear on what tasks, projects, and goals may lie beyond your current capabilities – requiring assistance, better skills, more resources, or development in other areas before you can handle them effectively.

That’s why it’s important you get real about your capabilities in your work and your life, including:

  • What you can do easily,
  • What requires a maximum performance, and
  • What’s currently beyond your capabilities.

Because you’re steadily growing in knowledge, skills, and experience, this assessment needs to become an ongoing process. As you move forward, it’s even better to have trusted people helping you recognize your capabilities and upgrade your self-confidence.

Share Your Confidence

It’s a curious phenomenon: compared with trying to claim all the credit for yourself, when you share credit for your successes with other people, you gain more confidence for the future.

One reason may be that sharing credit with others encourages others to share credit with you. Then everyone can legitimately feel more confident.

This is often the truth of the situation, anyway. It’s rare that you’re the only person who is solely responsible for successfully completing a task, project, or goal. So when you spread the accolades among others, they naturally feel more confidence about themselves. And when they share their accolades with you, your own confidence level tends to rise.

Another reason may be that your willingness to share credit with others shows a measure of vulnerability. As people begin to recognize how humble and honest you are about yourself, you feel their favorable perceptions and your confidence deepens.

At the same time, sharing the credit with others is a clear and direct sign of self-confidence. It’s only those who doubt themselves who grab all the credit they can. This signal impacts others’ opinion of your confidence level – and you, setting the stage for you to improve your own opinion of you: it’s a kind of positive feedback loop stemming from your own self-confident behavior.

The bottom line is that confidence begets confidence. You can get the confidence cycle started and keep it going with such techniques as these. As time goes by, your confidence will grow larger than you may ever have imagined possible.

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