I believe confidence is the foundation for success, in everything we do and in whatever way success is meaningful for us. I believe confidence gives us the personal power to be authentic, true to who we really are and achieve our full potential. For me, confidence is vital. On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is extremely important, I rate confidence at 10!
When I did a quick Google search on “confidence” there were About 147,000,000 results. That’s one hundred and forty seven million results. That looks like an awful lot of interest in confidence! So that could be evidence that other people also find confidence important.
What other evidence is there?
Confidence inspires trust and implies competence. Think about people you know or know of who you believe are confident. What is it about them that makes you know they are confident? Most people will say that is about the way they look, stand, speak and so on. They dress and take care of their appearance in a way that shows self-respect. They look poised, stand or sit up straight, don’t slouch, hold their head up and eyes look up not down at the carpet. They look at you in the eye when they speak with you. Their voice sounds strong and positive, not strident and they don’t mumble. They speak with conviction, knowledge and assurance. They look comfortable not tense, anxious or nervous. We read all this body language and from that we infer that they believe in themselves, and we tend to believe in them too.
Olympic athletes win more medals when they are confident in themselves. Mo Farrah talked about how he used to want to win but in some part of his mind think his competitors were better than him and lose the race when they came up alongside him. Now he’s worked on his mindset and his inner knowledge that he can beat them and is going for it, he’s no longer focusing on the other competitors, he is focused on winning. He feels that confidence is like a weapon that gives you control, and you feel positive knowing you’ve prepared well. Andy Murray is another great example of a skilled athlete whose self doubts were the biggest barrier to winning. Self-doubt clouds your mind and focus with excessive negative thoughts about the outcome, not being good enough and so on. Andy’s ability in tennis was not the problem, he could pull marvellous shots out of the bag, but under pressure made more errors. Once he mastered his doubts and built his confidence, he could remain calm and focused under pressure. He won his first grand slam and then went on to win more.
Confidence wins your job interview. When applicants are all ‘equal’ on paper from their CVs, it is the confident person who can be themselves, assured, poised, calm, relaxed and unafraid of silence who comes across as most credible and wins the trust and respect of the interviewer. The confident person is in a better state to contribute to a two way dialogue, ask questions and let their positive attitude, drive, enthusiasm, commitment and interest in the job and the company shine through.
Confidence wins your next contract and your next customer. Whatever your role in work – the business owner, project manager, sales person, retail assistant, receptionist and more – your confidence in yourself, your work, your organisation and your products and services comes across in how you interact with people and influences their decision about whether they want to work with your or buy from you (or your organisation). For all the reasons described above.
Modern developments in neuroscience mean they can now record activity in living brains with imaging techniques. The fundamental organising principle of the human brain is that we are designed to maximise rewards and minimise threats. Neuroscientists call this the ‘walk towards, run away’ theory. Since the consequences of threats can be catastrophic, the ‘run away’ pathways operate much faster and stronger than the walk towards neural pathways in the brain, so we can respond immediately we detect any potential threat. The neuroscience research shows that our thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism create the same effects in our nervous system and stimulate the same ‘fight-fright-flight or freeze’ response as situations of physical danger. This is the part of our brain that says ‘get me out of here’ and takes over from the part of our brain that controls our rational thinking. It means we can’t think straight, make the best decisions, respond well or listen well. Imagine the effect that has on how you present yourself and how effective you are in any situation – whether that’s sport, in work, in a job interview, with a client, doing a business presentation or in your home life and communities.
Confidence has a massive impact on how we enjoy life. When we feel confident we are not beset with self doubt or negative self talk. The neuroscience research shows that positive thinking rewires your brain (the official term is neuroplasticity). We can learn to focus our attention constructively and systematically alter brain circuitry underlying intrusive negative thoughts. Using mindful awareness, a self-observational skill, we can choose to respond rationally to emotionally stressful stimuli. We create new connections and the more you use them the stronger those connections become. After a while, you build a new good habit of positive thinking.
So for me personally, how important is confidence?
Well, confidence is what gives me the impetus to make things happen, to create new coaching programmes, to open up to speak to potential clients, to share my thoughts, and so on. Confidence and trust in my relationships allows me the strength to reveal my weaknesses and fears, to talk things through. Confidence gives me the courage to embrace life, with all its risks and uncertainties and enjoy being me. That’s why I believe confidence is vital.
I’d love to hear how important confidence is to you.
What difference will it make to you, in your life and at work, to be more confident?
Why not join one of our courses in Edinburgh: (if you like Aeona’s facebook page you can get over 50% discount)
“Confidence for Business Women” (open to women who are managers, leaders, freelancers or business owners, or aspiring to any of these)
“Confidence for Business Owners” (open to men and women)
Why not take the online course with coaching calls and webinars if you can’t come to the Edinburgh courses? See more on www.aeonacoaching.com You also get over 50% discount if you like Aeona’s facebook page.
Email or call me to arrange a time for a free chat about whether 1:1 coaching will give you the impetus you are looking for.
Sue Mitchell email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone +44 1875 830708 or use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.