“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Confidence is fundamental to your capacity to live a quality life. The power to produce
the life you want—one that reflects your goals, needs, hopes, dreams, desires, and ambitions—comes from taking action based on what you know you are capable of doing currently, as well as what you believe you can become capable of doing in the future.
Confidence is the belief that you can or can learn to control your outcomes. Confidence is built on both belief and evidence—belief that you can grow and learn, and evidence that proves you have done so. Truly confident people trust their capacity to learn whatever is required of them. They understand that learning is a process, and they believe that with commitment, focus, and strategy, their efforts will produce their desired outcomes.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
The need for confidence extends into every area of your life. Whatever goals you choose for yourself—your vision of your quality life—requires confidence in three significant areas:
Intellectual, Political and Social.
In intellectual situations, confidence is knowing that you are capable of delivering quality performance and that you can learn to increase that capability.
In political situations, confidence is “knowing” that you are or can become powerful, that you can make a difference, and that you can learn how to influence situations, manage relationships, and gain the respect of others.
In social situations, confidence is knowing that you are worthy of being liked, respected, and trusted and that your presence is valuable—that you can learn how to be socially skillful.
Most people tend to be more confident in some areas than others. Often people explain away low confidence or fear in an area as a simple lack of interest in participation. Too often though, the consequence of not developing capabilities in all three types of confidence is limitation—limited choice, limited effectiveness, limited vision, and limited goals—a chronic falling short of one’s vision of a quality life. However, the essence of self-confidence is that it is changeable and shapeable. Learn to conduct an ongoing, honest, internal dialogue with yourself that allows you to capitalize on your strengths and continue to identify areas where your confidence and effort could use some support.
“Confidence and empowerment are cousins in my opinion. Empowerment comes from within and typically it’s stemmed and fostered by self-assurance. To feel empowered is to feel free and that’s when people do their best work. You can’t fake confidence or empowerment.”
Amy Jo Martin
Remember that confidence is fragile and requires thorough and consistent attention. Our current accomplishments, no matter how great, do not preclude greater accomplishment and further development in the future. The continuous, deliberate construction of our own self-confidence is our responsibility.