In this, the seventeenth in my series of posts exploring soft skills, I want to focus on Self-confidence. How does Self-confidence drive success? One of the problems I have with this particular soft skill is that it can easily become or be viewed as arrogance. There is a fine line between being self-confident and allowing your ego to overtake you, leaving others with the perception that you consider yourself superior to them. Self-confidence has been defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment and the belief or confidence in oneself that one knows what to do, how to do it, and can handle challenges as they arise. The factor that stops self-confidence from moving into arrogance is humility, which is to say that you remain self-aware about others’ perceptions of you and are able to modify your behaviour to avoid coming off as brash or sounding like a know it all.
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings. — Samuel Johnson
As I continue my study of Soft Skills I become more convinced about how connected they are with Emotional and Social Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is based on the foundation of first knowing yourself, managing or controlling yourself, social awareness or knowing others and finally relationship management or, simply put, doing things for others. The foundational piece for all four of these areas is self-awareness. Self-confidence then comes into play in how well you feel about your level of self-awareness; how well you understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and strengthening and improving both. Confidence is about building yourself up, not tearing others down. And as I have written in previous posts, when you’re confident, you make others around you feel confident too.
So what does it mean to be confident? Here are some examples of both confident and non-confident behaviour:
|Confident Behavior||Behavior Associated With low Self-Confidence|
|· Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it||· Governing your behavior based on what other people think.|
|· Being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things||· Staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure, and therefore avoiding risks|
|· Admitting your mistakes, and learning from them||· Working hard to cover up mistakes and hoping that you can fix the problem before anyone notices.|
|· Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments||· Extolling your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible|
|· Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.”||· Dismissing compliments offhandedly. “Oh that prospectus was nothing really, anyone could have done it.”|
One key trait of highly self-confident people is that they build up others rather than tearing them down. Having self-confidence means that you do not feel competitive with others—their success doesn’t take away from your own. Some ways to exhibit self-confidence are:
- Find ways to build up others.
- Compliment others.
- Acknowledge others’ contributions, and express your gratitude.
- Being a mentor can also help to build others up by helping them develop skills, which will help them develop their own self-confident
“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered—just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” – Barrie Davenport
By exhibiting self-confidence you are demonstrating your belief in self, increasing your own self-awareness and presenting a confident, positive image. As a soft skill, self-confidence will give you an advantage over others and lead to better success.
This is the seventeenth in a series of posts exploring Soft Skills and why they are so important to your success in any endeavour.
John Whitehead, MA, CEC, coaches individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.
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