The Fragrant Bouquet of Confidence
To achieve anything we must have confident. While many may feel that confidence is a quality that we're born with, it is actually something that we develop. Here's how.
The Fragrant Bouquet Of Confidence
By Andre Taylor
Are you confident?
We’ve all been intoxicated by the smell of confidence – a personal triumph, an inspirational leader, tantalizing news. Confidence comes in various degrees. There’s the “I’ve got a good feeling,” confidence, there’s the pop the cork, pour the Champagne confidence, and then there is total euphoria.
Confidence is a balm that smoothes the rough spots in our lives and businesses. Where there’s confidence, there’s progress. That’s why confidence is so eagerly measured by economists and politicians. We know confidence matters.
A Flourish! reader from Brazil writes:
“I appreciate your insights about American confidence – keep up the good work.”
Another from the United Kingdom writes:
“If we could more confidently embrace the North American way, without ridicule, we could boost our numbers immeasurably.”
There’s no cultural gap here. Americans are universally seen as optimistic -- reservoirs of confidence. Despite this perception, I find many of my American colleagues in search of greater confidence:
An owner of a multi-million dollar business talks to me about the need to personally develop more confidence in his company’s ability to execute new ideas.
A real estate agent talks to me about conveying more confidence when dealing with the affluent and showing high-end properties.
A young salesman, just starting out talks to me about developing the confidence to drop in on clients, and pitch his products and services.
I am asked about the concept of confidence just about every week. So, let me put my cards on the table. Confidence isn’t something you get – it’s something you discover.
When you see people that are confident, you see someone engaged in their work and often simultaneously analyzing the result. When they step back and really understand the results – they become confident. Sometimes this happens fast and sometimes this takes time. However, confidence is usually the unintended consequence of another action – a confidence catalyst.
Let me share five of the common catalysts for confidence:
Noland Walker, a talented young filmmaker recently sent me a copy of his work, Citizen King – a two-hour documentary about Martin Luther King that aired on the PBS series, The American Experience. Watching the film I was moved by the behind-the-scenes candor of Dr. King in film clips documenting private moments from 1963-1968. He expressed fear, vulnerability, and naivety about the response to his Civil Rights crusade. In the early going he and his colleagues were not necessarily confident, but they were passionate about their mission and knew that acting confident was part of the drill. This film illustrated that not knowing all of the answers is no reason to lack confidence – you can be naïve and somewhat afraid, but if you act decisively, you can change the world.
Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to set foot on the moon, told CBS correspondent, Ed Bradley of 60 minutes that his thumbs up signal to the camera, just before the launch of Apollo 11 was, “a bit of a sham.” Knowing that the world was watching, he decided that he had a responsibility as the skipper of the first lunar spaceship to “convey confidence.” The world was counting on Armstrong and his first words upon setting foot on the moon, demonstrated that he knew it. Sometimes your responsibility to others is so significant that you just have to embrace the attitude: “One foot for man. One foot for mankind.”
You can be knee-deep in trouble, but your level of experience gives you confidence that you can work your way out of it. In a recent keynote, Donald Trump shared details about his financial collapse years ago and his real estate empire teetering near-bankruptcy. But it was his business experience in negotiation, marketing, and building that gave him confidence that he could come back. When you’ve traveled down a road before, even if it isn’t exactly the same, you have the benefit of understanding similar terrain – and thereby stirring up your confidence.
Comparing your assets, work ethic, attitude, and commitment to those of others often elevates your mood to confident. You can either see what you have that others are lacking, or if you’re not as strong as you’d like to be, you can borrow the confidence of others as personal guideposts for your own development. Comparison is a key issue facing ABC News at the moment. They have the enormous challenge of filling the roomy shoes of evening news anchor Peter Jennings. Guess what they need? An anchor that can convey confidence.
Years ago, my firm used to get calls about a project we were involved with from a fellow that worked at the White House. I know this fellow loved calling and announcing that he was from the White House. It always got the attention of everyone in the office.
An attendee at one of my workshops recently asked me about her own association – that is, how could she convey confidence when she no longer worked for a prestigious company? Yes, it’s easy if you work at the White House, but you can create your own association by connecting yourself to clients, trends, a great location, or even years in the business. We all have plenty of confidence-building associations if we are willing to see them as such.
I hope I have made the point that confidence can be rooted in a wide variety of emotions and situations. I am convinced that many of the problems companies are struggling with -- competitiveness, complexity, bureaucracy, timing, strategy, and even branding are actually confidence issues. Somewhere along the chain, someone is lacking confidence.
So clear away the clutter. If you find yourself gridlocked and unable to reach higher performance levels and have “good excuses” like staffing, financing, or connections, you may really be saying: “I don’t have the confidence.”
How can we amplify our confidence?
Use the nearest catalyst. You may not feel confident when you start, but confront the work. Analyze the results. Blow through the opinions and criticism of others. Tame your own inner dialogue. You can develop and maintain the confidence you need. Confidence isn’t just something you have. It’s something that you discover.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
© Copyright 2007 – André Taylor – Taylor Insight Group, LLC. Go to www.andretaylor.com and get Andre’s free newsletter. André Taylor is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and advisor to growing companies and one of today’s dynamic voices on business and personal success. He’s the author of many audio and videos, courses, and coaching programs reflecting more than 25 years in enterprise management. He provides an uncommon understanding of the lessons of business and personal resilience, and extraordinary insight and commentary on the subjects of leadership, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, innovation, and growth.