November 05, 2009
Confidence is the rocket fuel for success.
When you stamp out uncertainty in your point of view, confidence rushes in and gives you resilience, power and boldness. Show me a successful entrepreneur and I'll show you a consistently confident persona. Confidence gives you risk tolerance. It fills you with charisma, attracting others to follow or join you. It puts you in a creative (think proactive) state as opposed to the weaker reactive analytical state.
The secret, though, is to create an effective system for consistent confidence. Sure, you get puffed up when things are going great and the wind is at your back. But when the wind dies down and the tide goes out to sea, confidence ebbs away like the tide.
That's why you should cultivate three hundred and sixty degree confidence in your outlook. You need to surround yourself with certainty to protect your bold point of view. Think of confidence as a combination force-field and power source. When the world comes at you, it protects you. When the world is your oyster, it catapults you. One thing's for sure: Redundancy is required. If you've seen any Star Trek episode or movie, you know that primary force fields can fold under pressure. So you need backups. If you've seen any war movie, you know that the power source (think generator or stockpiles) are always the first to be attacked. So you need Plan B.
To that I offer a framework for your personal confidence system: 360 Degree Confidence. Surround yourself with realistic reasons to belief. I first heard about this concept in the context of brand marketing. Rex Briggs, a marketing consultant, was visiting with Yahoo back in 2002 about the value of internet advertising in creating purchase intent. He argued that people decide to buy something (CD, phone, etc.) because they have multiple confirmations of its value. When you hear about a band online, then via a friend and finally on the radio -- you convert! He suggested that brands need to surround the consumer by reaching them at work, at home and in play.
Now let's apply that to confidence. There are three 120 degree layers of confidence that can surround your psyche full circle: Self Confidence, Team Confidence and Higher Power Confidence. When one buckles under heavy pressure, the other(s) serve as a backstop. When you know you have all three, you realize that you are not alone in the fight, which can give you calm and restore your sense of confidence.
Self confidence is not enough. You can't do it on your own in this interdependent world of today. When you put the world on your back, you create an emotionally unsustainable life. When you believe in your team, you realize you have a job to do and collectively you will do well. When you believe in a power bigger than all of you, and that your mission is worthy, you realize that you can't lose.
In future posts (Parts 2, etc.), I'll give you advice on cultivating all three types. For now, though, I challenge you to open your eyes for proof points that you are not alone. For now, I admonish you to stop relying on faith alone, and start giving yourself a fair shake when you look in the mirror.