I have often believed that my actions in life and work are an extension of my confidence. In other words, if I want something to happen for myself, I just need to muster the confidence and do it. Over time, I have discovered that three things are wrong with this idea.
First, I had them backwards. You don’t need confidence to act; you need commitment. Figuring out what I’m committed to creating (whether I’m confident in my abilities yet or not) is the first step to realizing a new goal, outcome, or reality. If I wait to act based on how confident I feel, I could be waiting a long, long time. Being truly committed to an outcome is what sets my feet on the path and lays the foundation from which to discover and develop the new skills, resources, or whatever will be needed to accomplish it.
Second, I was confusing confidence with courage. They are connected but not the same thing. It takes courage to step into a new commitment when you don’t yet know or believe you can do it. There is simply no substitute for being brave enough to take courageous action even when there is no solid evidence or a guarantee of success. Nothing but sheer will and courage will allow you to close your eyes and leap without a view of the wings behind you or the net below.
And third, while confidence isn’t required for action, it is an outcome of it. Because only when we take courageous action do we build our skills and capabilities. It’s committed, courageous action that creates capability. And it’s true capability that actually grants us confidence. Confidence is an outcome of action, not a requirement for action. When I got that straightened out in my head, my results changed for the better.
I want to give credit to my business and writing coach, Sara Connell, for the idea of the “4 C’s.” It was in her workshop that this restructuring was revealed to me, and it has been a huge change in the way I interpret my current story.
If your story has been that you do not possess the confidence to try a new thing, create a new reality, or step into unknown territory, then try restructuring your internal story with the “4 C’s”:
- Commitment. I now commit to _____________________________________________.
- Courage. The courageous action I will take to show I am all in is ___________________.
- Capability. The capability that I have faith this will reveal is ______________________.
- Confidence. What I get to do next when I feel that confidence is __________________.
If you want the confidence to write your next chapter differently, then don’t start with confidence at all. Start with commitment. Follow that with courageous action. Develop your capabilities. And then, revel in the newfound confidence you’ve built and the higher level of success you can now live into.
Change your story, change your life.
The self-confidence that one builds from achieving difficult things and accomplishing goals is the most beautiful thing of all.