Having and expressing confidence by definition, is a focus on the outcome. Having a focus on outcome doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. It just means that you’re focused in that direction and so you increase the odds of the success you want.
A lack of confidence by definition is a focus on what you do not want. This will amplify any concerns you have about the downside, what can go wrong and so on.
What you focus on is what you will notice and therefore get more of whether it be a negative or a positive outcome.
So in its simplest form if you want to exercise the confidence that’s built into you already, then very deliberately focus on your outcome as much as you can.
Please note; that in any endeavour it is important, very important, to weigh up both the downside and the upside. A singular focus on either one of these blinds you to the other extreme and will ultimately diminish the result you want. We all understand situations by comparing one thing with another, regardless of what it is, for example darkness and daylight. So you always need to take account of the downside or what you don’t want and that helps you contrast and understand what you do want.
So now you have the basic definitions or mechanics of lack of confidence or confidence.
Let’s take a look at an example that may help you and help you help others.
George was given the opportunity to take on a project on a scale that he had never managed before. He felt overwhelmed and suffered a severe lack of confidence as a consequence even though others deemed him to be technically competent. So what was George doing unconsciously, that was causing him stress and worry? He had an almost on exclusive focus on not failing.
With a little bit of coaching from a trusted mentor he developed a balanced focus of what could go wrong and a strong view of what success looked like and more importantly, felt like. Once he had weighed both factors then he was able put his attention strongly on the outcome he most wanted which was a success for himself as an emerging project manager and for the project and its people.
Here are some in simple exercises which George’s mentor took him through.
George, like many of us (mainly as a result of our socialisation) find it very easy to identify the downside and all the things that could go wrong with both his management of the project and of course outside influences such as materials failing to arrive, strikes et cetera et cetera.
George’s mentor had George list down the left-hand side of the page all of the things that he believed could go wrong. Having done that his mentor helped him work out the exact opposite of all those potential issues. That resulted in him identifying what’s really wanted. Having done this he now has a strong focus on outcome.
From here George will have to practice on focusing on his outcomes. When he experiences that lack of confidence he can ask himself the question “what if this didn’t happen” or “what if this went well”. The “what if” question tends to break his traditional train of thought and enable him to replace it with one that represents a confident and healthy questioning outlook.
Trusting that you find this helpful and your comments are welcome below.