This post was written by our friend and colleague, Eric Winters. Eric has written a fantastic self-help book based on ACT – Swipe Right on Your Best Self – which we highly recommend.
There’s a question I hear a lot during my workshops and coaching.
‘How can I be more confident?’
I ask people what they would do if they were really confident?
Well, they proclaim, if I was more confident, then I’d:
- apply for more ambitious roles
- begin new relationships that nourish
- leave relationships that drain
- ask for what I really want at work and need in love
- say yes to more opportunities in life
- say no to crossed boundaries
- live a bigger, bolder life on my terms
I get why they think more confidence would help. But for most, it’s a misguided strategy. For many people, the problem isn’t a lack of confidence at all. It’s too much confidence.
Often people are too confident that if they take courageous action then they’ll:
- entirely fail
- look particularly stupid
- be humiliatingly rejected
- learn nothing whatsoever
- suffer intolerably and never recover.
No wonder they hold back! Paradoxically, the solution isn’t more confidence. It’s being less certain. It’s being positively skeptical.
The next time you hear an inner voice whisper ‘better not, it won’t turn out well’, remember you have a choice. You can believe these cautious little lies and live small and safe, or you can be positively skeptical.
Actually, you don’t know:
- how well this might turn out
- what you’ll discover about yourself or others
- who might respond positively
- how others will be inspired by your courageous proactivity
- how much confidence you may earn over time through experience.
The truth is, you don’t know for sure where positive skepticism and courageous proactivity will take you.
Are you willing to find out?