Understand what self-confidence is
“I’m not capable of doing that,” “I don’t dare,” have you ever said these sentences that indicate a lack of self-confidence?
But what does it really mean to have self-confidence? Is self-confidence innate, or can it be acquired?
In this multi-part dossier, my objective is to clarify this myth about confidence. To better understand it to develop it better, let’s go and discover this inner strength that, unfortunately, we often lack.
What is self-confidence?
When we talk about confidence with those around us, everyone knows what it is, yet it is quite difficult to put it into words. Paradoxically, it is especially when we lack it that we become aware of its importance.
Self-confidence is a rather subtle mix. It is the feeling that I have the ability to act appropriately in any situation.
So it’s all very well to give a definition, but what does it look like in our lives?
Think about the driving license, the first time was complicated, a lot of things to manage, master, and apprehend. However, after 20 hours of driving, you have developed new mechanisms, and the idea of driving seems much easier.
Driving a car becomes almost natural; you can drive anywhere, even in an unknown city. You have confidence in yourself and your ability to adapt to a situation. We all experience this feeling, unfortunately, we all also experience the feeling of lack of confidence from time to time.
Have you ever watched a tennis match?
I’ve always found it fascinating how much self-confidence can be seen, how much it can fluctuate depending on the moment. You see, players go through highs and lows, and sometimes it just takes a little bit to be at the top or to go down; that’s also confidence.
Finally, confidence is not having all the information and all the answers, but it is the feeling that everything will be fine no matter what happens. It is a notion of assurance. However, having confidence does not prevent you from being stressed or afraid at times; the difference is that you will live with it and act effectively despite everything.
It is important to note that self-esteem is not the same thing as self-confidence. Although closely related, self-esteem is an evaluation of yourself and how you perceive yourself. I will develop this fundamental notion in articles that will be dedicated to this theme.
The origins of self-confidence
I want to clarify an important point: there is no such thing as a self-confidence gene. In short, we are not born confident; we become confident.
Self-confidence is built from early childhood. On the one hand, through contact with our environment and on the other hand, through the attitude of our parents and parental figures.
A child who will be valued at his true worth, supported in his failures, will have every chance of developing good self-confidence. On the other hand, one of the factors contributing to a lack of confidence is the overprotection of a child by his or her family, which can create a lack of confidence because it will permanently protect the child from being confronted with the reality of the outside world.
Another widespread factor is over-and under-valuing. For example, receiving negative remarks after a failure can undermine a child’s confidence.
Then, we grow and build our confidence little by little through our life experiences.
Set your intentions
Before you begin your journey towards more confidence, it’s time to set your intentions. I really like Wikipedia’s definition of this, which I’ll quote: “Intention is an action of the will by which an individual or group of individuals sets the goal of an activity or the motivation that leads to action. “
This is why before starting a new activity or goal, it is essential to update your intention and especially to know where you want to go, what you are willing to do or not to achieve it.
How do we know where we are going and if what we are putting in place is right for us? This answers directly to what we call in psychology, our life values. In other words, it is what really matters to us.
Therefore, it means determining who you want to be. Does being confident mean becoming an entrepreneur or simply being more comfortable in your own skin and improving your social relationships? Will you become an adventurer and travel the world or just apply for a job that challenges you and that you enjoy?
In fact, there are no right answers, but there is YOUR answer, the one that fits you. You don’t have to look like what our society defines as success criteria, you have to choose what is right for you.
So ask yourself this question: who are you really? Who do you want to be?
If you have trouble answering this question, ask yourself what your qualities are, your strengths, and what you do with ease and pleasure.
What do you do well in your professional field? And what do you do well in your personal side?
Once you have answered this question, you should begin to see a direction or at least a path to move in.
Give yourself time to progress
Before fully embarking on a profound transformation, I would like to emphasize a fundamental point. Give yourself time to progress and evolve. I love the quote from Lao Tzu that says, “A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a first step. “
The journey to confidence is no exception to this rule. It is a long journey, to be completely transparent with you, it is the journey of a lifetime and it doesn’t matter where you are today.
What will make all the difference is to move forward steadily.
It is not good to think of a major change all at once, or even a turnaround in your life overnight. Because even if it exists in some specific cases, we all know that it is extremely rare and not always desirable, if only because of our surroundings and our environment. Any change takes time to integrate, and sometimes the results take time to appear.
Take action every day, even small steps, and take the time to enjoy the journey; it is yours after all.
The notion of self-confidence is very subjective, and it fluctuates according to the moments we go through in our life.
What’s more, our internal feelings are often different from what others think about our own level of confidence. Have you ever had someone say, “wow, you were amazing in that meeting,” when deep down, you knew what you were going through was difficult.
I remember attending a conference of a coach, I was there as a staff member. On stage, she was terrific, smiling, full of energy, ultra-positive, with a well-oiled and intelligently delivered message.
However, I was surprised backstage to see this speaker doubting her own performance while she was being complimented and appreciated by all the staff and the audience.
Well, when it comes down to it, we don’t really care what other people think, what really matters is what you’re experiencing inside and before you jump in, it’s time to evaluate yourself and your confidence level to know where you are right now.
Here is a simple question, without thinking too much, answer with what comes to your mind, on a scale of 0 to 10; what level of self-confidence do you feel now?
Write down what’s going through your mind, as it will be useful for the second part of the podcast next week.
Take the time to determine your intentions and where you want to go, next week we will see together how to learn to develop your self-confidence.
I have also prepared a little quiz to help you see more clearly for those of you who would like to take it. It will only take a few minutes.
QUIZ: Do you have confidence in yourself?