In today’s training, and indeed on a lot of training where we talk about personal development, a common piece of terminology is raised which I have constant difficulty with. Confidence.
full trust; belief in the
powers, trustworthiness, or reliabilityof a person or thing:
belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:
My trouble with it is that it’s not something which is tangible or a skill which can actually be learned. From the definition above, there are a few things which are important for me: ‘belief in oneself’, ‘reliability’, ‘certitude’. Those are the things I tend to focus on, and develop the conversation around. Further, having confidence seems to be a desired state of being, without understanding what it is you want to be confident about.
We can’t learn confidence, any more than we can learn conformity. They are concepts which encapsulate a range of behaviours. So when, at the start of sessions, a delegate says ‘it’s about confidence’, I stop and challenge that line of thinking. The purpose of the training they are in may be to help them be more confident, but actually that’s not the thing we’re going to focus on. I’m going to focus on your self-belief. And that’s what I think people confuse.
I can work with building your self-belief. There’s been research into what self-belief is, what helps, and what doesn’t. I can do very specific exercises that get you to think about this better and that get you to see what more can be done. And that’s the key to having confidence.
Even those who say – oh but he’s just naturally confident. No, he’s not. He has the self-belief he can do it, and he has something else in mind. He doesn’t care about the consequence. Not in the sense that he’s apathetic, or that he’s arrogant, but ‘he’ understands that it will be a learning experience, so either way it’s a win-win. That’s key number two. I have that attitude, which is why most of my life I’ve just done things. It’s how I learned to ski, why I went camping, ran off the top of a mountain, and did a 10k run.
Be aware. BE AWARE OF THOSE ‘EXPERTS’. Be aware of those experts who claim otherwise. Be aware those claim, they can increase your confidence. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re false prophets. Blasphemers of the highest order (well in L&D anyway).