For confidence, look to your past

by | August 12, 2013 12:09 am

Confidence. It is an attribute we seek to have and look for in others, especially those in positions of leadership. Yet, time and time again, we meet executives who lack a confident presence. What many fail to realize is that confidence is dynamic and not a static emotion. Just like a physical muscle that needs exercise to grow stronger, a leader’s confidence requires continuous attention.

FACE THE FACTS: To strengthen your confidence, first face the facts. When you look to your past, you’ll realize that successes often outweigh failures.

And, more importantly, that you survived through the failures and gleaned priceless lessons along the way. Your track record provides an inventory of what has happened over the long run, which you can then balance against what you fear may happen in the short term.

FOCUS: With your track record as a foundation, it is helpful to focus on your strengths while managing your weaknesses. Most leaders are very strong in a few competencies, average in the majority of competencies, and weak in a few. Successful leaders focus on leveraging their strengths and managing their average/weak areas so that they do not become a deterrent to their effectiveness.

FAITH: It is not by accident that the Latin root of the word ‘’confidence’’ is con fidere, which translates to ‘’with faith.’’ The ultimate faith is a belief in the unseen. Leaders are called to create vision and change for the future out of uncertainty – fundamentally, they operate on a level of faith that helps give purpose, strength and trust to the path that they carve out for their organizations.

Confidence is a constant strengthening exercise. Like a well-conditioned muscle, it needs to be challenged and it also needs relaxation. Facts, focus and faith each on their own may not get you there. But when you leverage all three in an integrated way, your confidence will absolutely grow.

(Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins are co-founders and managing partners of Isis Associates, a boutique executive coaching and leadership development firm. They are the authors of “Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence.”)