Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How does one become confident and what is confidence?

I am certain we would all agree that confidence motivates performance. How does one gain confidence, and how does a leader or coach help others gain confidence? I find the question very interesting, and a discussion I had with a friend a few nights ago has me thinking about what confidence really is.

Confidence needs to based on reasonable expectations; over-confidence is not. Discipline has a lot to do with confidence, and I believe an individual who is disciplined in their pursuits will have confidence. Overcoming obstacles and barriers, and recovering from set-backs are characteristics of an individual who possesses discipline. Such an individual does not panic under pressure; they are grounded and know what they are capable of doing. Confidence is not about just putting your best foot forward, it comes from having a solid foundation to stand on. If one lets discipline go then that is when confidence crumbles.

As a coach and leader one of the things that I try to do with people is to create accountability. It is absolutely important in the path toward instilling confidence. However, accountability means that people have to be responsible. People need to embrace responsibility for their own performances, and be committed to taking it to the highest levels. People who embrace being responsible and accountable are optimists; optimists do not ignore or deny things they need to work on. Optimists look for information so that they can get to work and improve on the things they need to. This is why confidence is rooted in reality.

Great athletes are optimistic. This means they are constantly searching for how to improve, which in turn requires assuming responsibility and taking accountability. This requires a tremendous amount of discipline. The end result though is confidence. The job of a coach or leader is simple then; it is just creating the understanding of what needs to be worked on. The rest is up to the athlete.

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. - Winston Churchill

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