Can you be automatically confident?

In a coaching session this week a Thinker we explored how she could feel confident when she bumped up against a competitor. Near the end of the session I asked what insight she’d had that she wanted to grow in the space till our next session.

“I want to be automatically confident.”, she said.

So I shared this model with her to help her understand the steps to get there.

Four Stages of Competence

  1. Unconscious Incompetence

Before we learn anything there is a period of ignorant bliss where we don’t know what we don’t know. At some stage my Thinker had no idea bumping up against a competitor would drain her confidence. Once she did, she moved into the next stage, where she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

  1. Conscious Incompetence

In our session my Thinker was clear that she wanted to feel more confident and wasn’t sure how to do it, yet. So we worked out what she could do and say to herself that would help.

That, yet, is important because it acknowledges that while you don’t have the skills now you know you can develop them. If you don’t believe this, you’ll be stuck at this stage until you do.

  1. Conscious Competence

At this stage my Thinker will know what to do to feel confident but it’ll take a lot of effort. There will be wobbles, and we’ll need to rework strategies that aren’t working. This stage is hard because you’re often hard on yourself for getting things wrong.

Also when it comes to confidence, things change very slowly and you have to find the strength to constantly tell yourself that you are awesome, even if you don’t believe it yet. Consistency and practice at this stage will get her to automatic confidence.

  1. Unconscious Competence

After a while all that consistent practice will lead to my Thinker being able to automatically get into a confident state. No one is confident all the time so there will be wobbles but she’ll know what to do.

By now you might be asking:

How do I get into a confident state?

Unfortunately I can’t give you an easy answer because it is different for every person and every situation.

The three things that help me most are:

  1. To save all positive feedback in a special folder
  2. Saying thank-you when I get positive feedback, even if I don’t believe it
  3. Celebrating all my successes no matter how small

When a lack of confidence grips me I know what to do. I remind myself of all the times things went well, I get a cuddle and I chat to a friend. I now know that the fear I feel is my brain’s way of reminding me to make sure I prepare.

To find what might help you, take a moment, a pen and paper, and ask yourself:

  • When I’ve been in a confident state before, what enabled me to feel that way?
  • What can I learn from that, that might help me be in a confident state more often?

When you’ve done that drop me a line, I’d love to hear your thoughts and I reply to every email I get.

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