Have you ever prepared and prepared for something important but it never seemed to be enough to bring you the comfort of confidence?
Now think of a situation where you had no opportunity to prepare: the totally unexpected situation that requires you to think on your feet and make a quick decision. Life does not always present you with the opportunity to develop confidence through experience or preparation. And yet, you managed to get the job done.
Today’s changing world calls for a different sort of confidence.
The trouble with relying on confidence that comes from experience and preparation is that we don’t always have the luxury of those two ingredients. Experience and preparation build a certain level of confidence but not the kind that sustains us in today’s world of unexpected and rapid change. In today’s world, when we rely on our experience and preparation to help us feel confident, we come up short. And this is because so often, what this world presents is utterly different from what we prepared for, or have experienced.
What is the secret to building confidence?
The secret to building confidence is that you don’t need experience or preparation to be confident. Rather, you need to trust yourself that, no matter what happens, you have what it takes to withstand it. And then go about your preparations from that mindset.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Find your Inner Mentor
In Playing Big, Tara Mohr outlines a helpful response to our inner critic: an Inner Mentor. This Inner Mentor is Future You. To find your Inner Mentor, develop a clear picture of yourself, twenty years from now, and all the wisdom she has accumulated. How would your Inner Mentor handle your particular jam of the moment? Would she shrug it off and tell you it is no big deal? Offer a solution that you hadn’t thought of? Suggest a response in a conflict situation that is both strong and gracious? Tuning in to your Inner Mentor can be a powerful way to quiet the other voice inside that can be quite the overbearing loudmouth—our inner critic.
Ask these four questions to tap into your true confidence.
What is the worst that could happen?
Sometimes, when faced with uncertainty, our fears get the best of us. We lose touch with the most probable scenarios that will arise and succumb to the raw fear that whatever it is, will be devastating. Pausing to ask this simple question is an excellent way to nip that in the bud.
What would I do if the worst actually did happen? Would I be ok?
True confidence is not about guaranteeing success. (If that could be guaranteed, we wouldn’t need confidence in the first place, now would we?). Rather, it is about understanding, very deeply, that you have the ability to withstand whatever may arise.
Could I do any better with what I have today?
Take an honest look at where you are. Could you do any better based on what is available to you (skills, knowledge, energy) today? If the answer is yes, identify those steps and take them. This is where preparation actually serves its intended purpose. Be careful that you are not grasping for actions to fill the endless void that we can try to fill with preparations when we lack true confidence. And if the answer is no? Let go and trust yourself, knowing that you will be ok.
What additional preparation will genuinely help me succeed?
When starting from a place of the truest, purest confidence that comes from within, you now have the power and clarity to see where your preventable blind spots are. You now have the ability to see when more preparation will not necessarily be helpful, and in fact, that perhaps there is a better use of your time.
True confidence comes from understanding that you have it within you to do your best at all times. Trust that, when you look within, you will find exactly what you need. The next time you doubt your ability to navigate a high-pressure situation well, try these questions. Work with your Inner Mentor to help you see your way to the kind of confidence that truly serves.
To learn more about how working with a coach can help you develop the kind of confidence you need for today’s world, visit www.wendyhultmark.com.
Wendy Hultmark, CPC, is an executive coach who helps women navigate and lead in this world of constant change.