How Confidence Relates to Your Performance
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Today’s topic has evolved from questions I’ve received over the past few weeks. From meeting with clients, speaking engagements, and interviews on TV and radio, that this was a hot topic all around. Clients, audiences, and listeners continually ask me about confidence and how it relates to one’s performance. How do you build and gain confidence and then how do I keep it?
One’s confidence can make you or break you. Whether you’re a parent, CEO, coach, manager, athlete, vice president, administrative assistant, or anything in between, we all have our own self-talk we are battling with and our own confidence levels. We question ourselves from time to time, doubting our abilities and skills. In this blog, I’m going to share with you how we can get and keep our confidence so we can perform at a very high level consistently. There’s no difference in coaching elite athletes and coaching high-level executives. In all of our situations, we need a heavy dose of confidence, often.
Here are two keys to master in order to build and maintain your confidence
1) Be prepared.
We all have different skill levels. I would tell my athletes, it’s 20% from your neck on down and 80% from the neck up. You’re already in your position for a reason. You have been successful, paid your dues, reached a certain skill competency, or you wouldn’t be sitting in that chair. You already have what it takes to do the job, now it’s about the neck up and believe in yourself. In preparing for a speaking engagement, a high-level meeting, or an important game, being prepared is critical. Have you prepared, practiced, did research, and have a structured message that’s easy to communicate and get buy-in? Have you focused on what needs to happen and what you need to accomplish? We’ve all gone into situations where we are flying by the seat of our pants, we are unorganized, and we expect to knock it out of the park. That rarely happens. Having the confidence to present or perform on a big stage and feeling prepared is extremely important.
2) Have a routine.
If you’ve played or watch sports, all athletes have a routine before practice or a game. Whether you put your left shoe on first, tie your right laces first, put your shirt on a particular way, get to the field or court at a certain time, or any of the other myriad of different things an athlete does, this is a great example and practice for business leaders. Do you have a routine before a big meeting, speaking engagement, or an interview? If you can go back to your athletic days, we all had routines that built our confidence. Again, 80% of what we do is mental and being prepared and having routines helps build that. I had a meeting with a client the other day and he was heading into a meeting with his boss. I asked if he was prepared? He said, “I’m just really nervous.” I asked again, “Have you prepared? Have you put together an agenda, prepared questions, prepared a structured message that you would like to get across to your boss?” No matter what the meeting is about, goals, reviews, projects or initiatives, you must be and feel prepared. This is how you build and stay confident. Once you have prepared, have a routine. Your level of confidence will stay consistent, you will weather the storms, and be able to move on quickly after making a mistake. By establishing routines, you will learn how to maintain the mental and emotional edge that builds confidence and to be able to move on quickly from mistakes and constructive feedback.
In addition to these keys, understand there’s only one person who can take away your confidence. It’s not your coach, the fans, social media or the expert sitting behind the computer on social media pushing the send button. You are the only person who can take away your confidence. That’s by giving it away. Don’t ever give your confidence away.
Believe in yourself, be true to yourself, stay relevant and remain a life-long learner and you will maintain confidence. Will you make mistakes and fail? Absolutely! We are all going to make mistakes and screw up many times. The key is to learn to move on and focus on “the next play”. If you focus on the mistake you just made, you’ll make another mistake, and then another. Then as your coach, you will find yourself sitting next to me on the bench.
As leaders, encourage people to make mistakes, take risks, no one is perfect. Reaching for perfection is a dangerous place to go, especially kids. This is the only way we can take our game, leadership skills, and careers to the next level. Whether you put a rubber band on your wrist, have an accountability partner or a coach, they can help you move on and get out of your own way. Be strong and keep your head high when you make a mistake. The pace of change in our environment moves at rapid speed and the chances are if it takes you too long to move on, someone has already run by you. Move on quickly, “move on to the next play” and never let anyone take your confidence away from you.
Preparation + Routines = Confidence.