Before we go too deep into what you should be doing to get your confidence back, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t start with what you should stop doing. To that end, for this post I will be taking off my therapist hat and snuggly putting on my executive coach hat. As any executive coach would tell you, a good executive coaching process will highlight what you should “start, stop and continue” doing. The following list illustrates all of the behaviors that confident people simply don’t do. If you see yourself doing any of the following, stop it. ‘Nough said.
1. Trying to say things perfectly in meetings – confident people don’t try to find the perfect words. They care more about the message, thought or question they want to convey rather than the perfect timing or wording of that message. Cost of doing this confidence-busting behavior: executive presence, bringing your ideas to the conversation and having a “seat at the table.”
2. Looking for the perfect answer – confident people have been around the block long enough to know there is no such thing as perfect information nor a perfect answer. They don’t waste their time overworking things to get it perfect. Cost of doing this confidence-busting behavior: Time, time, time. Being told you work “hard but not smart.” Leaders and / or your boss label you as “over your head” and unable to handle anything more complicated.
3. Obsess about what others think – confident people don’t stew over what others think about their appearance, style, approach, etc… Here’s the subtlety with this particular behavior. The difference between a confident person and a narcissist is that confident people do care about what others think and take that into consideration. They do adjust. What they don’t do is obsess to the point they are rigid and locked up. Cost of doing this confidence-busting behavior: A feeling of rigidness and awkwardness around others. A noticeable delay between every question asked of you and your response (after all, processing all of the various combinations of possible responses to choose the perfect one takes time). Others generally find you creepy, uncomfortable and wound too tight. Not good.
4. Wait for others to ask their opinion / be noticed – Confident people are comfortable providing others information that may be useful to them without being asked. They are not afraid to let others know what they need, want and expect. As a result, they usually get what they need, want and expect. Sounds pretty good, huh? Cost of doing this confidence-busting behavior: Not getting what you need, want and expect. As a result, you generally experience deep feelings of resentment on a daily basis toward your boss, spouse, coworkers, etc… You silently punish those around you for not reading your mind. Generally others find you to be unpleasant to be around. You may even suffer from isolation and career / relationship stagnation as a result. Yuck.
5. Judge themselves – Finally, confident people don’t give themselves daily beatings. That’s not to say they don’t acknowledge their mistakes, missteps and weaknesses. Rather, they spend more time mentally lingering on their past successes and future goals. As a mentor of mine would say, confident people believe they are “enough in their limitedness.” Cost of doing this confidence-busting behavior: lingering on one’s mistakes, missteps and weaknesses only fosters hesitation and a general reluctance to take action. You may find yourself paralyzed to move forward for fear of making a mistake. The other bonus that comes along with this unfortunate behavior is that if you are hard on yourself, you are hard on others. You judge other’s behaviors, words, expressions, appearance, etc… When others are around you, they can feel your judging eyes piercing their skin like long sharp needles. Sounds like a party.
There you have it: the 5 things that confident people simply don’t do. If you see yourself doing any of the five behaviors, your prescription is clear. Stop it. Knock it off. Cease and desist. No mas. The end.