Confidence. Too much, too little or just right?
Some of us believe there is life beyond our planet. In fact, more than 50% of Americans, Brits and Germans believe in extra-terrestrial life. In Australia there are 34,000 ‘alien hunters’ scouring the skies for UFOs. Scientists suggest that in order for such life to exist there must be the right combination of living conditions. They describe the conditions of such planets as being in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – neither too hot, nor too cold to support liquid water as a perceived key ingredient for life.
Who’s been eating your porridge?
You could apply such ‘Goldilocks’ thinking to other aspects of our lives. Balance seems to be an essential ingredient for personal wellbeing and professional success.
Confidence is one such delicately balanced attribute of success. Too much and we are seen as overbearing or arrogant. Too little and we may not be seen at all. Getting this balance right is valuable in the modern, social and demanding workplace. In an ideal world we would put our confidence into that Goldilocks Zone – just right for how we wish to live our lives and engage with those around us.
Trump, Clinton or just nice and normal?
Striking such a balance is a challenge. Confidence is often confused with extraversion, yet many introverted, quietly confident people have proved how successful they can be. Inc magazine’s ‘Most Successful Introverts in History’ counted Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg amongst the ranks of the unassuming.
Conversely, extroverts are often considered ‘inspiring’ and ‘leaders’. They are seen as convincing, credible and able to please the crowd. The current race for the White House presents an interesting social study on the behavioral archetypes of leaders and what confidence can mean in the context of political campaigning.
Confidence can be learned
The reality is most of us sit somewhere in between. How we feel on the day and the specific and unique set of circumstances we are experiencing will dictate our confidence level. Confidence therefore, comes from both the inside out and the outside in. Whilst we all have a personal (and probably critical) view of our own confidence levels, evidence suggests it is a learned behavior. We need to simply embrace the best tools and resources available to help us develop and nurture it.
7 ways to build confidence
Given we can learn it, check out Social Agility’s top hacks for building confidence – on your terms and in your way:
1. It started with a list
Consider the values that are important to you. How can you weave these values into your day to day? By sticking to your guns and following how you feel about these values you will find clarity and confidence will become a natural by-product.
2. Remind yourself
Your ideas are just as good as anyone’s. It’s easy to think about all those around us who come across as more capable and competent. Navigating life with the bold assumption that they are humans, so are you, and we are all contributing to the world in some way will drive your confidence.
3. Get advice
Build a support network of trusted advisors around you. This will not only give you a well-rounded view of any challenge you face but seeking wise counsel will also drive how sure you feel about your chosen outcomes.
4. Keep it real
Cultivate authentic confidence. When you know and feel it’s right, it probably is. While ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ is OK in some situations, genuine confidence is far more powerful and sustainable.
5. Don’t reject the rejection
We can be fragile creatures when it comes to honest and constructive feedback. Use rejection and failure as a way to learn and develop. Start to build up an attitude that is open to this and you will find yourself energized and excited.
6. Avoid the bad smells
Some of us work in (or live in) what can only be described as toxic environments. These environments undermine our confidence and steadily and stealthily chip away at our wellbeing. Find a way to identify if this is you (maybe those trusted advisors can help?) Then – get away!
7. Spread the love
Last but certainly not least, paying it forward is a wonderful way to build your own confidence. Think about a time you helped, guided or supported someone else. It’s the best kind of positive rush and does wonders for your self-esteem.
Balance is everything
So, relax, breathe and go forth to enjoy a more straightforward and authentically confident you. Dial it up or down depending on how you feel and where you are on the day. Remember the sweet spot is Goldilocks. Balance is everything.
To find out more about confidence why not join one of our workshops on ‘Confident Communication’ in Melbourne CBD.