North American Association of Sales Engineers

North American Association of Sales Engineers

European Association of Sales Engineers

When confidence feels elusive

by Misha Bartlett

When you are stepping into a new leadership role or taking on new challenges, you may start to doubt your capabilities or feel your confidence wane.

There are several dimensions to confidence. There are also several myths about how to become more confident. Fortunately, there is a lot of research to point us in a direction more likely to build confidence. 

Confident people are able to quickly learn from and move past failures. They lean into mastery rather than perfectionism, and to foster a positive self-concept of their capabilities even when challenged.

The truth is that you are entirely in charge of how you feel, including whether you feel confident. Once you understand that your feelings are in your control, you’re starting to understand how to build up your confidence. 

Confidence is not something you are born with – it’s something you have to create for yourself.  Sometimes daily. Building your confidence fosters feelings of certainty that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. It is like any other emotion, and you can train yourself to access it. 

Step 1 to building confidence: Know why you want to achieve it.

Once you figure out your purpose, or your Why as Simon Sinek calls it, learning how to build confidence becomes a matter of retraining how you think. To achieve your goals, you have to embody a confident person. There may still be uncertainty that wants to hold you back. Staying connected to your Why will help you to push past hesitation, doubt, and fear.

Step 2 to building confidence: Uncover the beliefs that are causing self-doubt. 

By confronting your limiting beliefs and shifting how you think, learning how to gain confidence will start to come naturally. If you find yourself focusing on negative, limiting beliefs when it’s time to be confident, stop yourself. Think of something positive about yourself instead and begin focusing on all the reasons you’ll succeed instead of why you’ll fail.

Step 3 to building confidence: Think about something you’re proud of.

When you’re feeling unsure of yourself, think about a recent accomplishment that you’re really proud of.

Your mind will begin to think in positive terms, not negative ones. Learn how to retrain your mind to start thinking more positively, and you’ll start feeling more self-assured as a result. You don’t need to wear rose-colored glasses – it’s more about having a realistic idea of your skills. When you focus on positive self-talk, you’re able to look at setbacks as simply stepping stones to success. 

The research tells us that whatever you put your attention on grows, so consider how you can focus your thinking on:

  • Your values
  • Your strengths
  • Your wins
  • Your learning
  • Envisioning successes
  • Thinking of yourself as capable

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