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A Confident New Year

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Is your self-confidence level ready for the challenges of the New Year?

Everyone, on one occasion or another, has suffered from a moment of self-doubt, or a moment when there was uncertainty whether they could handle a new or unfamiliar situation. Conversely, it's likely you have had moments of supreme confidence when you felt you could conquer the world.

How can you develop the kind of confidence that will ensure the achievement of your goals and the expected results for the organization? The answer lies within the question itself. People who achieve well-defined goals in business and in life develop the confidence to confront new situations. Because of confidence, they view new situations as challenges and opportunities to grow and learn. They enjoy the process of personal growth. Others, despite equal talent and skills, lack the confidence that defined goals offer. They fear and avoid new situations, thereby limiting their growth -- and ultimately their success.

Achievement of goals is not what matters. Results are fleeting. What sticks -- and ultimately makes the difference -- is embracing the growth (sometimes painful growth) that comes through the process of achieving goals. Two people can set and achieve the same goal and experience growth in very different ways, depending on their own needs -- and their willingness to face gaps.

These past weeks, organizations around the globe have spent hours envisioning the future, making plans, prioritizing initiatives, and setting goals. The success or failure of those goals is dependent on whether leaders can grow into who they need to be to do what needs to be done to achieve those goals. They'll need to find the courage to face their fears and address their gaps in skill, knowledge, attitude, & character.

Developing confidence is the key to growth. You and your team may need overcome some common confidence inhibitors.

Inappropriate or predetermined attitudes. One of the keys to developing confidence is examining the current validity of your preconceived attitudes. We start forming beliefs about ourselves and the world very early in life -- before we can consciously choose which beliefs to adopt and which to weed out. While a belief may have been valid at one time, it may not be applicable or appropriate to current circumstances.

Feelings of unworthiness or guilt. Most of us have felt the pangs of unworthiness, like we aren't enough, at some time in our lives. Feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, or that you have something to prove, are commonly left over from childhood. Experiences of shame or betrayal create powerful and deeply rooted feelings. In adulthood, these manifest as the need to be right. The human need to be right is powerful. It causes us to behave in ways that make sure a crisis or problem arises in order to prove us right. But this pattern -- solving self-created problems -- doesn't do anything for building confidence. Understanding how and why feelings of unworthiness undermine success will help you cope with these feelings, as well as give you the confidence to coach your team to a higher level of achievement.

Fear of failure. We all suffer from mild fears or apprehensions. But if that fear prevents you from taking risks, you are likely avoiding the very situations which help develop confidence. While failure may be a setback, it can also offer exactly the learning experience you need to propel yourself forward. You can try, and you can fail -- but the one thing you can't do is stop trying. Every time you start again, you build confidence.

Lack of clear direction or purpose. As Lewis Carroll famously wrote, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." Having vision -- a sense of clear direction or purpose -- helps you find and choose the best path. With clear direction and a stated purpose, we can easily -- and with high confidence -- make decisions that move us in the right direction.

Negative feedback. I'm working on project that I'm excited about. When I told a close friend about it, she didn't give me the reaction I was hoping for. I hoped she'd think my project was as exciting as I do. Instead, she was skeptical. Kind, but skeptical. She expressed doubt in my ability to be successful. Her feedback derailed my confidence -- though in this case, only for a day or two. If you have a desire to do, learn, or achieve something, you can not let anyone's comments stand in your way. Instead, listen to the feedback, and search for the truth in it. Negative feedback can alert us to gaps in our plans or in our character, or to other obstacles we need to consider. We might even be able to learn from other people's failures. Let your thoughts turn to how to use the feedback to fuel your success, rather than derail your confidence.

When you understand the common inhibitors, and gain control over them, they can no longer impede your progress -- at least not for long. The trick is to notice when you're caught up in an inhibitor, examine the situation, learn from it and then get back to work on your goal. And as you get good at the process, you can coach your employees through it, and your team can build confidence altogether.

Wishing you and yours a confident new year.

Is That What You Really Meant?
Why Do You Lead?

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Monday, 01 June 2020