Isn't it interesting how sometimes we can have so much confidence in one area of our life yet we have very little or no confidence in other areas of our life? We have all known people that are very confident in sports yet struggle with school or vice versa. Or others that may perform exceptionally in their profession but struggle in their relationships with their spouse or kids or vice versa. Sometimes people are confident in small gatherings but very uncomfortable in larger gatherings. Part of this dichotomy stems from confidence, and the other part stems from self-esteem.
Confidence is task related. It's about how we view our ability to perform an action, whether personally or professionally. Our confidence is tied to past performances or experiences as well as the preparation, practice, and effort we have previously invested into that particular action or skill. It should not be tied to the perception others have of us.
Self-esteem is about how much you like yourself. If your self-esteem is low, then the confidence you exude will never be genuine or long lasting. It will be temporary. Positive self-esteem is the foundation to exuding long term confidence in multiple areas of your life. I won't go into improving self-esteem here, but if you want to learn more about recommended next steps on learning to like yourself (which requires you to first learn about yourself), then I recommend reading this blog post.
Sometimes we wait for a positive event or result to happen before we feel we deserve to exude confidence. How many times have you had that mindset going into your day, or a meeting, or a sporting event? You think, 'let me just get in there and see how it goes!' Unfortunately, with that mindset, it allows our confidence to hinge on things we can't control! One negative event or outcome can completely derail our confidence. Instead, we need to exude confidence from the beginning (aka pro-active confidence).
Here is a simple activity I encourage you to do in order to improve pro-active confidence. Since much of our confidence can be drawn from previous successes, start a list or document or 'note' in your iPhone and write down as many of your life successes as you can think of. It can be a running list that you start and continually re-visit, and don't leave anything out or be humble! I'm talking about even that 3rd place ribbon at a swim meet in 2nd grade.....everything you can possibly think of.
As you are starting to work on your list this week, I will discuss in next week's post about what to do with the list and how to turn it into a bottomless well for you to continually draw upon for confidence.