“Confidence is more important than competence.”
That's what the entrepreneur on stage said at an event I attended recently. People were shocked, but lots of heads were nodding, including mine. I couldn’t help but agree. Because the benefits of confidence truly are unlimited.
Why? Because confidence spurs action. It fuels decision-making. It gets you up off the couch and out into the world. Competence is wonderful, but it won’t do any of those things for you. And hey—if you can have both, you’re unstoppable.
After years working as a confidence coach, here’s what I know for sure about being self-assured:
1. I wasn’t born with confidence.
Confidence is something you decide to have. Need help? I’ve got you. I officially give you permission right here, right now, to be the most confident person you know! (You're welcome.)
The most successful, happy people are not born the most wealthy, beautiful, or talented. They just believe in themselves, and they go for what they want. But they built their self-belief first—and on purpose. I’m sure as hell one of those people, and I became one consciously and willingly. What’s the alternative? Uh, no, thank you.
2. I practice confidence daily.
Zig Ziglar said, “Showering doesn’t last; that’s why you do it daily.” I consume inspirational material every damn day. If I miss a day, I notice it—I can feel it in my physical and emotional energy. I listen to podcasts. I read books and motivational blogs. External inspiration feeds internal inspiration. I don’t know how anyone lives without it.
3. I focus on my wins.
It’s way too easy to forget how far you've come and what you've done well in your life. In his best-selling book The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield discusses how transforming your opinion of yourself begins with a reflection on your wins.
- Divide your life into thirds—so if you are 30, the thirds are ages 0 to 10, 11 to 20, and 21 to 30. If you are 45, they are 0 to 15, 16 to 30, and 31 to 45.
- Write down the three things you are most proud of achieving in each third of your life.
- Reflect on each of these nine things. Remember how you felt at the time of each achievement. Did most of these things scare you before you made them happen? Probably. Maybe you didn’t feel capable or good enough or ready, but you did them anyway.
- What was the outcome?
- Let these memories fuel your self-confidence. They remind you you’re way better than you think you are!
In coaching, we learn about the confidence-competence loop. This means that when you take action and you prove you can do something, however small, you feel more confident taking the next step. This, in turn, makes you more competent. It’s a gorgeous cycle!