Our thoughts so often conspire to defeat us, even before we’ve given it a go. Over the last few months I’ve been speaking with many people who have doubts about their performance — particularly when new to their role. The confidence which characterised their old job seems to have been left behind when they moved to the new desk. Sound familiar?
When we dig a little deeper, it usually emerges that they based their confidence heavily on their technical capability in the old job and with relationships which had grown over a number of years. Nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that at some point change is going to occur.
When you have confidence it usually means that you are comfortable that you will be able to handle whatever comes up. This is the ‘so what’ end of the continuum. By that I mean that you feel assured that, no matter what occurs, you have the knowledge and experience to deal effectively with the situation. Of course, this needs to be tempered to avoid arrogance and complacency. Contrasting that, lack of confidence comprises thoughts of ‘what if’ as you look around corners; consider potential reaction — fear of the unknown.
One really great way to start moving more quickly to the ‘so what’ end of this continuum is to re-evaluate the basis of your confidence. For instance, instead of thinking of your absence of technical knowledge, you can start to realise that you have an effective learning process and are good at challenging the status quo. Focusing your confidence on your process of enquiry and ability to get to the right answers with an objective attitude is likely to be within easy reach — so start to relax and use these skills. Besides, another point worth remembering is that most people are quite prepared to allow you a little honeymoon, so make the most of it!
Colin Gautrey is an author, coach, and trainer who specialises in the practical use of power and influence in large organisations. He has 25 years’ experience helping middle/senior professionals to survive, thrive and enjoy their work.
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