Podcast Episode 27: The Confidence Gap

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Why can’t you just be confident? Why are you confident in some areas but not in others? How do you create create confidence if you are lacking it? In the episode, we’ll answer these questions and discuss: 

  • The difference between self confidence and confidence and why both matter
  • How managing your emotions is the key to confidence creation
  • Tip for how to create confidence quickly

Self-confidence is one of the most important feelings and attitudes we need to practice and adopt.

Read the Transcript
Hey there everyone, welcome. I’m glad you’re joining me today. 

Today’s topic is so misunderstood. It’s juicy to me. It’s about confidence and the confidence gap. 

Self-confidence is one of the most important feelings and attitudes we need to practice and adopt.

Do a google search for how to develop confidence and you’ll get almost a billion, a billion, results in the search returns. 

There’s actually a featured snippet on google that has a list of 10 ways you can begin building your confidence and it includes suggestions like Do The Right Thing, Exercise, and Stand-up For Yourself. How do you stand up for yourself if you don’t know how and lack confidence? How do you jump that gap? 

First, self confidence comes from being secure in your abilities, it’s having your own back, it’s trusting yourself. Confidence comes from evidence of previous success. 

Developing both is important to closing the confidence gap. 

So many well meaning people will tell you that you just need to be self-confident. Or you just need to practice the thing so that you can be confident. 

And I have often wondered why someone can be so confident in one area of their life and yet utterly lack confidence in another area of their life.  

If you have equal experience in two areas then why does one challenge increase your confidence and the other challenge decrease it? 

It’s because of your emotions. It’s because you are letting your emotions run the show.  And your emotions, or feelings, are coming from your thinking. 

Some people are frequently self-confident, while for others the feeling comes and goes. Most people will have varying levels of self confidence, depending on their thoughts about their past and current circumstances.
When we pick up negative thought patterns it’s like putting an octopus to bed. 

Sometimes the anxious achiever in you figures out how to slog through the challenge. 

But now there’s a new challenge. There’s that octopus arm, or is it a leg? That good enough in one area of your life suddenly isn’t translating to another area. 

There was an obvious gap between where we are and where we want to go. 

I have seen so many articles in business journals about how to create confidence through practice. The irritating quote that practice makes perfect. There’s usually some expert who is telling you to work hard and practice the thing and to even do it in front of a safe audience. And that practice will outsmart your natural talents and attitude. Evidence is helpful but you still have to change your thoughts. 

I’ve also read that when you produce your work, and get positive feedback from your leadership you’ll finally see how valuable you are so you can be more self-confident. Nope. 

You can’t fix your self-confidence solely through accomplishing something. You think if you do the thing, or get the win, you’ll feel better about yourself. 

But you can’t close the confidence gap through something external. It’s all an inside job. 

Yes, you can get training and practice to increase your confidence but it still comes back to your thoughts.  

Your external wins and other people’s feedback do not create self-confidence. 

They can’t. 

When you are trying to get external validation you are basically outsourcing your thoughts to someone else. You are asking someone else to give you a thought that you can think for yourself. You may feel better about yourself for a bit but you haven’t changed the underlying thoughts that you have about yourself. 

A situation, a circumstance in your career, does not create your feelings. Your feelings are created by your thoughts. 

So something outside of you, will never create what’s needed inside of you. 

Self-confidence is about knowing that you can experience any emotion, any feeling, and even though it may totally suck, you can get through it. You can live to talk about it. It means trusting your judgment and abilities, regardless of any circumstance. 

Whatever thought you are holding on to will create your experience. Cognitive behavioral therapy has taught us about the think, feel, act cycle. 

The chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is credited as  the person to write, and I am paraphrasing here, your thoughts become your words and your words become your actions. 

What kind of things are you saying to yourself? 

If you are asking questions like “How come I’m not successful?” 
“Do other people see me as a failure?” then you are setting yourself up for failure.

The work is to shift your thoughts and to ask yourself better questions. The key to asking better questions is to flip to why statements. 

Ask, “Why shouldn’t I accomplish everything I set my mind to?” and “Why would I waste time on my fears instead of focusing on my strengths?” When you ask a better question, you get a better answer. 

Learning how to create self-confidence is about being the watcher of your mind. You have to believe in your ability to succeed before you can create self-confidence. So if you go into a situation knowing that you can handle it, then that is exactly what will happen. It doesn’t mean perfection, it means that you can handle it and get through it.  And if you know you can handle anything, that’s where you create self-confidence. 
This is also what it means to have a growth mindset. It’s the belief that you can manage your emotions, develop knowledge, improve skills, get trained, and practice. 

Viewing challenges as opportunities helps you see that bumps and bruises along the way are opportunities for you to strengthen your ability to manage your emotions and confidence.

I swear I am not lying when I get nervous or anxious about a challenge that today, I see the trigger for what it is. I do think that it is juicy. Shows me where my work is. 

So how do you do it? 

The first step is reminding yourself that self-confidence is not about your achievements but confidence is. Here’s where it gets tricky, looking back is only about providing you with evidence. This past evidence can help you rewire your brain. Looking at past experiences and successes for proof that you’ve done something new before, and maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that you can do it again. Review your past victories and remember that you have accomplished things in your life. 

Just a bit of a boost can move you leaps and bounds when you’re learning how to gain confidence. It allows your mind to think positivity. 

If you gave an impactful presentation to your company last year, why wouldn’t you be able to complete your next project by the allotted deadline? Relishing in moments of pride can help you to see that you can do it again. 
The more you do this the faster and easier it is to get there. 

If you don’t have any achievements yet, then building self-confidence is about building the belief that you already have what you need and you get through the challenges. You may not have skills, knowledge or experience but you believe you can get there. This has to come from your thoughts. Not from external achievements. 

When I launched my own coaching and consulting business four years ago I had zero experience with running my own business. But looking at my past successes as an employee and developing and leading teams, I thought to myself well maybe I can do this too. And if you are looking for a crash course for wanting to build confidence then build your own business because it’s like putting miracle grow on all your shitty thoughts. In order to scale the business, I had to scale my brain. The way to scale my brain came from building new levels of confidence.  
I decided to believe that I am capable of getting what I want based on adjacent experiences. 

You can do hard things and succeed. I had to become a different person in order to be a successful, confident entrepreneur. 

You get to do the same thing by thinking about the times you personally or professionally showed up for a hard challenge, what you overcame, what you thought you couldn’t handle and you did? You’ve dealt with personalities, disappointments, uncertainties, grief, you have done it before. Remembering these times can be helpful as you approach your next challenge. 

Next, look at your physiology. Amy Cuddy the American Social Psychologist has done a lot of research on the impact of how we hold our bodies can have an impact on our minds. The poses she suggests immediately change your body chemistry. And these changes affect the way you do your job and interact with other people. Think about an athlete getting ready for a game. It’s kind of like amping yourself up to create and shift confidence. 
 
And lastly consistency and frequency are some of your best tools. Practicing your thinking where you’ve overcome challenges in the past will help you build the self confidence to know that you can do it again in the future. 

So if you think that you want some help or a boost in this process, I’d be honored to help you. Check out the details in the show notes where you can apply for my 1:1 coaching program.

Alright my friends. Thanks for joining me this week. Until next time.