A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to envision two rooms: one in which you would feel 100% confident, 100% secure in your value; one in which you’d feel shaky, or nervous, or doubtful.
Now I want you to imagine a third room.
Think about something you are good at. Not just good, actually. Think of something that is your unique ability, your zone of genius, the thing you’re known for or contribute to any group or situation. Hold that.
Okay, stay with me. Now think of a “room” in which that skill or expertise is the thing that’s most needed. Where it’s the thing that everyone is looking for, whether or not they know it.
As an example, here’s what I thought of: I can lead, manage a scene and motivate people. No question about it in my mind. When I’m traveling on a plane or a subway car, particularly if I’m in an underwater tunnel, I often neutrally look around to assess what would happen in case of an emergency. Because I need to know what my resources would be in case something happens. Because it’s a no-brainer to me that in case of an emergency, I would take on a leadership role.
So think of your strength, and then think about the room in which you know it would be valuable. Have it?
This third room is everything.
And the reason it’s everything is that this room could be filled with all the people from your 2nd room — the one you wouldn’t feel 100% confident walking into — and if you didn’t know who they were, if they were just strangers, you would still feel confident.
My train or plane could be filled with all the people I most admire, and I’d still be driven by the thought that I’m exceptional in an emergency. But deeper than that, that I’m a capable and motivating leader of people and a resourceful, action-oriented responder. Those strengths are true about me even though I’ve never, ever (knocking on wood) responded to a train stopping in an underwater tunnel or to a mid-air emergency. They’re just part of my identity, skills I bring to every situation.
The only difference between these rooms we’ve been envisioning? Say it with me: our thoughts. In room one, we have only warm, easy, no-expectations thoughts. In room two, our thoughts might generate feelings of pressure, a desire to impress, or a sense that we don’t comparatively measure up. And in room three we’re just thinking about our contribution, what we can offer to the situation.
When we experience a lack of confidence, it is very often situational. We are doing some thing for the first time. We’re focused on the specific interaction, task, or endeavor.
But this situational lens doesn’t take into account who we are. And that the circumstances may change, but our big-picture strengths and talents don’t disappear because of circumstances. They are always with us.
I call this situational confidence vs. character confidence. And our brain tends to present us with doubt based on situations. But it doesn’t take into account that we are resourceful, warm, competent problem solvers, and that really, those are the skills that are most important. It’s not about knowing the particulars of responding to every situation, it’s about being a person who can figure out how to respond to any situation.
And thinking about confidence, generating confidence, from this depth is always available. In fact, I think that choosing, on purpose, to do things in which we may not have situational confidence, but which ground us in our character confidence is how we continue to show ourselves what we’re capable of — it’s how we truly live in our natural state of growth and well-being.
What about you will attain the goal you haven’t yet achieved, or define the new chapter of life/job/relationship you’re starting? It’s not about what you’ve already done, it’s about who you are.
Someone might ask a question you haven’t thought of in that upcoming presentation. But it doesn’t matter. Because you’re thoughtful and calm under pressure.
And there will absolutely be challenges when you take your business in a new direction. But it doesn’t matter. Because you are a role-model of resourcefulness and customer focus.
Who you are is what you bring to everything new, every challenge.
No matter what or who is behind that door, you can walk into a room knowing you belong, secure in your contribution.
The greatest challenge most leaders face is what we can’t see. The places where we’re limiting ourselves, holding back, not going in the direction of what we want. A coach is like a blind-spot monitor and GPS all in one — a person who keeps us on track, prevents us from heading in the wrong direction, and finds the fastest possible route to our desired destination. Book a free consultation call with me and let’s make sure you get exactly where you want to go.