“If only I had more confidence…”

“When I’m confident, I’ll…”

“I don’t have the confidence to have that conversation (so I won’t have it).”

I hear versions of these statements frequently.

It seems many people believe developing confidence is the answer to their problems.

I disagree.

In fact, as I wrote in my book, ‘Soft is the New Hard’, I think a focus on confidence holds us back.

It becomes our justification for not doing things: “I’m just not confident enough.” Or, we think we must wait until confidence hits before we can act.

Can I let you in on a secret?

You don’t need to be confident to behave confidently. What you do need is to be brave. 

It’s about courage, not confidence.

Even the most assertive communicators get nervous before a difficult conversation.

Even the most experienced public speakers get a hit of nerves before they step on stage.

Even the most accomplished leaders experience self-doubt.

What sets them apart is they act despite fear. They give it a crack even when they’re nervous or unsure.

And guess what? Every time they do, they build confidence.

Focus on courage first and confidence will come.

I’d love to hear from you: When have you been courageous in the face of a lack of confidence?

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Leah Mether helps people get out of their own way with the development of soft skills (which are really hard). She is a speaker, trainer, facilitator and mentor.