In Search of Self-Confidence

In Search of Self-Confidence

Even successful people want more self-confidence. People who exude self-assurance easily influence others, get more promotions, earn more money, and seem to have more fun and success. Some people naturally seem to have it; perhaps they were born lucky with the right kind of parents. However, no one gives you self-confidence; it is something each of us has to develop on our own. In any case, knowing a few strategies for improving self-confidence will ensure that you can improve confidence and reap the benefits. Everyone has a baseline of confidence. Some people have unshakable confidence built upon strong foundations; others find their confidence level is a bit shaky when faced with mistakes, criticisms and failures. Lack of self-confidence afflicts a lot of people, but it’s usually hidden and denied. A false bravado does a poor job of replacing authentic self-belief; in fact, it’s a recipe for self-fulfilling failures. Often the problem goes undetected, as many people try to cover up insecurities by over-achieving. That doesn’t work because of the negativity bias of the brain. We never forget errors and deficits. We carry around negative scripts from childhood, from parents, siblings, and school teachers. This undermines confidence. No one is immune; every one of us carries a kernel of under-confidence and self-doubt. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford, U.S. industrialist False Confidence Many seemingly successful people lack sensitivity to what is authentic confidence vs. hubris. At work, some of us become skilled at projecting “executive presence” and self-assurance. Our ability to influence others depends on coming across as secure, knowledgeable and expert....
Leadership Challenges: Fear of Failure

Leadership Challenges: Fear of Failure

Of all the challenges leaders face, none is more pervasive yet hidden than fear of failure. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy Leadership is a tough job that requires courage. Doubts, insecurities and fears make organizational challenges more difficult and, in extreme cases, insurmountable. No matter how confident you may appear, anxiety can occur at pivotal times in your career. Fears are normal emotions that emerge in times of crisis. It’s been said that courage has no benchmark unless one grasps the reality of fear. Fears are real, often strong and quite disruptive, but your response to them defines your leadership hardiness. Fearful leaders can debilitate their organizations’ ability to function, compromising productivity, decision-making, strategic thinking and employee management. They’re likely to experience issues in their personal lives, as well. Organizations rely on their leaders to set a vision; provide direction; and implement plans that instill trust, confidence and the performance needed to meet desired goals. Leaders must possess strength and determination to face these challenges and overcome barriers on the way to success. The task of managing people, with their various motivations, strengths and weaknesses, can prove daunting. Organizational dynamics, rapidly changing markets and tough competition only add to leaders’ challenges. Even heroes have fears, to some degree. But they do what’s required despite their fears, ultimately becoming stronger in the process. Fear of failure can sometimes be suppressed, but when this proves impossible, you can no longer ignore it. You must deal with it. Recognize the Signs Fear of failure has several telltale—and observable—signs. You’re likely to set...