Self Confidence

How can I feel confident? The answer lies within each of us.

When it comes to leadership, the spring of self confidence is an understanding of what you have accomplished and what you feel you can do next. This is not happy talk. Consider what has enabled you to achieve what you have achieved to date. When it comes to finding sources of accomplishment, you need to focus on the positives, your moments of triumph - those opportunities where you shone, helping yourself and your team achieve a goal.

Here are three related questions you can ask yourself to help you uncover your triumphant self:

1 - What do you do well? This question opens the door for you to itemize the abilities that have enabled you to succeed to date. Focus on your talents - what you do well. For example, you may possess strong conceptual skills, or you may be one who can think strategically, a person who can look at the big picture and see opportunities where others see only blue sky. Such abilities are your strengths. You owe it to yourself to recognize them.

2 - Why should people follow you? You need a strong sense of self to lead others, so consider how you assess problems and find solutions. Look at occasions where you have mobilized yourself and your team to tackle a tough assignment. Perhaps you took on a failing project and turned it into a winner. Or perhaps you found ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies when others said it was impossible. In these instances, you gave people a reason to believe in your ability to get things done.

3 - What have you done to earn the trust of others? This question should provoke a recall of what you have done to instill followership. You may have defused a conflict between two colleagues, or maybe you took the lead on nasty assignment that no one else wanted to handle. Perhaps you accept accountability, not just for what goes right, but for what goes wrong.

The search for the inner source of confidence is not an excuse for overlooking your weaknesses, or an invitation to be over confident. Rather it's an identification of the strengths that make up the authentic you. Self-awareness is an attribute vital to leadership effectiveness. While leaders know their weaknesses all too well, even good ones sometimes overlook their strengths. That can lead to an erosion of self-confidence.

Confidence is like a muscle; if you don't use it, you will lose it. It's a leader's job to set direction and determine outcomes; that only happens when leaders feel confident in themselves.