One of the biggest myths about confidence is that some of us are born confident while others are born less than confident. This is false. None of us is born confident. This fact has enormous positive implications for our career prospects. Why is confidence so important? Career progression is linked to competence and confidence in equal measure.
The more confident you are the more likely you are to reach your career goals. The thing is it’s generally not one big action that you didn’t take (because you weren’t confident) but rather an accumulation of many smaller actions. Perhaps you were reluctant to apply for a role because you didn’t feel you could meet 100% of the criteria. Perhaps you didn’t take the initiative to contact someone who perhaps could help you secure that next exciting role because you felt slightly intimidated.
Now more than ever in this business environment of non-stop change, it’s crucial to be confident about doing new things and taking on new challenges. This is a skill set and attitude that employers are looking for – the ability to embrace and leverage change. Disruption and change is the new normal.
What’s standing between you and that better version of yourself – that version who is confident and does take risks? It’s fear. The good news here is that you have a clear CHOICE. You can choose to be paralysed by fear or take a deep breath and take action despite fear. It’s less about confidence, therefore, and more about courage. It’s having the courage to take action despite fear. Interestingly the root of the word courage is ‘cor’, the Latin word for heart, like the French word ‘coeur’. It’s less about logic and the mind, and more about the heart.
One of the best ways to build up your confidence is to ‘Do It Afraid’. This was a term coined by the Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their book Closing the Confidence Gap. Doing things that are scary means that it’s an opportunity to grow and learn. If you didn’t have that uncertain feeling, it probably means you’re not stretching yourself.
It’s not about ignoring the fear but rather accepting the fear and then taking that scary action anyway. What’s scary today will become routine tomorrow. To continue to grow in our competence and confidence, it’s important that we continually seek out new opportunities and experiences which seem a bit daunting. This is how we know we’re on the path to personal and professional growth, a prerequisite for career progression and success