Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. – Norman Vincent Peale
Do you know someone who’s cocky and overconfident?
An overconfident person thinks they’re better than they actually are. They exude confidence but in reality are incompetent. (Not a good recipe for success.)
How about the person that’s incredibly talented but riddled with self-doubt?
The under confident person believes they’re worse then they are. They are clearly skilled, have credibility, and are completely qualified, but because of perfectionism or self-doubt they don’t feel confident.
The point is, for many people, their confidence and competence don’t match up.
If you’re reading this, the odds are you’re in the latter group, and aren’t as confident as you’d like to be.
Don’t despair though; this can actually be a good thing.
One benefit of having lower confidence is that you will be more likely to practice and get better.
When we acknowledge our weaknesses, and aren’t assuming we’re better than the average person, we strive to improve these perceived limitations.
We aren’t in denial about where we need to get better.
That sense of not feeling good enough is exactly what will drive you to put in the effort to improve.
In doing so, you can create realistic or authentic confidence, and have an accurate view of your abilities and competence.
You will have confidence backed up by competence, and that’s where the magic happens!
Feeling well and doing well are very different.
“Confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.” – Mindy Kaling
Many people believe if they feel confident and good about themselves, that it will be followed by achievement and success.
They think highly of themselves and assume they’re good at something because of this.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case.
Just because we believe we’re great doesn’t mean we actually are.
This comes from a self-serving bias where we take credit when we’re doing well and displace responsibility when we do poorly.
There’s also a cognitive bias called The Dunning-Kruger Effect, where people overestimate their skill and capabilities.
The lesson here, is that we do everything we can to protect our self-esteem, even if it keeps us in denial and from getting better.
Delusional confidence leads to complacency, and inevitably poorer performance and frustrating outcomes, for everyone involved.
Don’t be the person who stinks but doesn’t realize it.
Here’s how to create authentic confidence instead.
1. Where do you lack confidence and competence?
Answering this question is the first step to authentic confidence. If you’re overly confident but lack competence you need to develop humility and admit that your not as good as you think.
On the other hand, if you’re highly competent but lack confidence it’s important to overcome self-doubt.
Confidence isn’t a static concept. It’s affected by different domains of life and comes from personal experience.
Where is life do you struggle with confidence?
Is it related to career, relationships, business, parenting, a specific skill or craft?
Determine where you want to specifically create authentic confidence.
2. Get objective feedback
“Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth.” – Doc Rivers
If there’s one way to get more clarity if we have delusional or authentic confidence, it’s to ask other people for feedback.
Other people are often going to provide more accurate and objective feedback about our skills or personal qualities.
Do your best to find a credible source, such as someone who has experience or prowess in a given area. Don’t ask someone who’s going to tell you what you want to hear.
Make a list of 3-5 people whom can give you honest and direct feedback. Have them rate you on certain qualities or skills.
For instance, you may use scaling and ask, “on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate my eye contact and volume of voice during public speaking?”
From here, review the feedback and create a plan accordingly.
3. Create visible improvements in your actual ability
The next step is to actually get better at what we want to do. Confidence usually follows when we know we’re capable of success in a given area of life, and the way to be more successful is to be more competent.
If you don’t feel confident create a specific and measurable improvement you want to work toward.
Let’s say you want to be more confident about your appearance so you can go on more dates and meet a partner. Consider developing a new skincare regimen to achieve glowing skin or rectify a common issue that affects your confidence like acne.
Having a practical approach to treat acne will drastically affect your confidence about appearance. If you don’t know how to start, you can click here for a variety of products and treatments that are recommended by skincare experts. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin type is different. It may work for others, but it may not be as effective for you. You can experiment with different acne treatments and find out what works best, or consult an expert for a better skin care approach.
4. Be courageous and willing to fail
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage and confidence in the doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Another variable in growing your confidence it to be courageous and willing to fail. A part of getting better is a willingness to make mistakes. In order to improve, it’s necessary to push our limit to a point where we make mistakes.
If you’re lacking confidence about a job interview, improving a creative craft or activity, or enrolling yourself in a new class, you need to embrace that getting better will include mistakes, failure, and discomfort.
Build your courage muscle to help you face the areas of life you don’t feel confident about. Don’t avoid something because you lack confidence.
According to psychologist Robert Biswas-Diener, whom studies courage, “Chances are, in nearly every aspect of your life you honed your proficiency by making small mistakes and learning from them. Don’t let the fear of small or short term failures hold you back from the life you want or a life that will benefit others.”
5. Don’t get complacent
A fatal mistake that ends up shattering confidence is thinking we are as good as we can get.
No matter how talented and proficient you are, it’s important to be humble and modest. Even the most talented athletes and musicians practice and want to get better.
They may be at the top of their game but they keep practicing to work on faults and imperfections, and this is what keeps them at this peak level.
When we’ve worked hard to get great at something the last thing we want to do is get complacent and regress.
6. Preparation and Validation
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” ― Arthur Ashe
If you struggle with being under confident the odds are you struggle with negative self-talk.
Sometimes, despite evidence to the contrary, people just don’t see their value and capability.
This can stem from perfectionism and never feeling good enough, or from excessive worry about failure and making mistakes.
If you’ve been given feedback that you’re better than you think, learn how to block out the doubts and replace them with encouraging thoughts that reinforcement your objective confidence.
Validate your skills and remember all of the hard work you’ve done to get where you are.
On the other hand, if you think you’re better than you are, make sure to prepare and practice more than you think you should.
People who have delusional confidence usually don’t put in the work needed to perform at the optimal level, so they end up underperforming.
Prepare and practice, so you can validate that you’re ready and capable to do what you want to do.
There you have it!
Apply these effective tips today, and understand that building authentic confidence comes from being honest about your shortcomings and choosing to get better.
Don’t get complacent. Consistently assess your abilities and set specific goals to keep pushing yourself and continue honing your skills.