by Connie Dieken

Reconsider Confidence - It's Not What You Think

Recently, my life has been packed with one life-altering experience after another. Among them were two milestone graduations - my son's from college and my daughter's from high school. (This makes me feel so old. Congratulations, Spencer and Ali!)

Which got me to thinking about confidence - and how people completely misunderstand it. Confidence is more critical now than ever in the economy we're facing today. It's essential to cultivate it so you can seize opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

But it's not just recent graduates who crave confidence - every C-suite executive whom I've had the privilege to coach wants a booster shot to help them be more influential and make things happen. They understand that confidence begets influence and personal impact.

But here's the catch: you crush your own confidence every day. Oh, you don't intend to. Chances are, you don't even realize that you're undermining your ability to make an impact, day-in and day-out. It's certainly not your intent.

So what's going on?

Simple. You may confuse confidence with self-esteem. Grasping the difference between the two can transform how you interact with others - whether you're a seasoned executive or a newbie in the business world. I've witnessed extraordinary transformations in leaders' abilities to influence as I share this secret of executive presence and then coach them in how to unleash their confidence in presentations and other make-it or break-it interactions. Even the most anxious public speaker - whose jitters would normally crush their own confidence in the front of the room - will morph into a remarkably influential presenter when they employ this unshakable confidence technique.

So what is confidence, then? Simply put, confidence is the expectation of a positive outcome in a specific situation. Period. It's not self-esteem, which is how you secretly size yourself up and assign your status in the world. Self-esteem is where insecurities like Imposter Syndrome lurk. Unlike self-esteem, confidence is situational. Which means you're completely in control to ignite it or zap it like a bug on neon - one situation at a time. Confidence is easily within reach when you unhook it from the complicated, big-picture puzzle of self-esteem. Tell yourself that you are prepared in this specific situation, envision a positive outcome, and fear will melt away. This shift in mindset is simple, yet it's a profound game-changer.

I encourage you to devour the interview with Tim Sanders in my next post. Tim will challenge you to reconsider confidence, helping you overcome self-doubt and fear.

Topics: Influence and Leadership :: Presentation Skills