Confidence – Yours, Not Demi Lovato’s

by Jim Walter

Demi Lovato asks us, “What’s wrong with being confident?” and we can confidently reply that there are bushels of positive benefits to a self-assured outlook. 

Confidence is a great predictor of success. There’s plenty of research to back it up – people with high self-esteem tend to enjoy better social interactions, more wins in the workplace, and even improved physical health. If you approach life with confidence and positivity, you’re more likely to achieve better outcomes – even if you’re working with challenges from GPA, education, or socio-economic status. The happiest, most productive people in the world are using their gifts, talents, and passions to grow something meaningful and to help others.

As a leader, you probably know all this. But what happens when our confidence meter dips below the “full to capacity” line? What happens when we take a look at our teams and see confidence flagging? Let’s talk about some actionable steps to increase self-esteem – either in ourselves or in others.

Start With Something You Know You Can Do

When your self-assurance is feeling wobbly, it can be tempting to shoot for the stars in an effort to bust yourself out of a slump. This isn’t a good idea. To increase confidence, start in your “zone of proximal development” – this is the place where you know you can achieve. Think about warming up for a basketball game – you start with layups before you head out to the 3-point line. Do something you know you can do…this begins to awaken your confidence muscles. 

Use Praise to Your Advantage

No, it’s not shallow to seek praise. You need someone to build you up! Great encouragement isn’t hollow – it’s a way to authentically recognize where you’re achieving or improving. That helps spur you on to greater success in more challenging areas. If praise is fake, it’s easy to tune out, but if you seek out expert voices like exceptional partners and coaches, they can help you recognize the good and give you a realistic picture of where you still have to improve. Seek out these relationships, and ask these partners and coaches to hold you accountable. When you’re accountable to people you trust, you’ll trend toward success.

Craft a Vision

When you know exactly where you want to go and what you have to offer, your confidence will grow. In my career as a school leader, I realized that in order to cultivate a vision, my staff needed me to begin by emphasizing the importance of education and its implications for the larger world. Begin with the importance of your work. How will your unique passion change the world? Once you’ve understood its value, you’ll begin to feel empowered to bring those gifts and talents to a big audience. 

In my work as an executive coach, I love working with folks who want to cultivate their passion into a career. I want to help them create a story worth telling for ages. One of my favorite parts is helping leaders see that their great gifts meet the world’s great needs. It’s incredibly gratifying to see leaders build confidence as they apply their talents on behalf of their business, their colleagues, their direct reports, and their families. 

Focus Outward

Confidence isn’t just about pushing yourself as far as you can go. Don’t forget to maintain balance in your life. A big heart and a desire to help others is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself – no matter what. Helping someone else lifts the spirit. Encouraging a healthy environment for yourself and others includes making time for play, exploring your interests, and even investing in others who will help develop your gifts.

Reach Out

Former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell once said, “Spare me the realist. Give me the aspirations of the optimist any day.”  He wasn’t wrong. Every day, we can look for the possibility that lies within each of us. That’s exactly why the Intention Collective was founded, and we’re here to provide a variety of coaching, workshops, retreats, and more. Book a call with us to see how we might work together.

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