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Why self-confidence at work is totally overrated

Do you dream of the confidence that allows you to intervene spontaneously at work? Is this sometimes a recommendation from your superiors? Do you feel you cannot escape doubt and a certain anxiety, even though you appear confident?

Are you regularly looking for good advice to increase it? There are better things to do. Stop chasing self-confidence and tackle the real question that we never talk about.

Removing the mask of confidence

I have a good dose of self-confidence: speaking in public, carrying out impossible projects, changing careers, etc. I did it for a long time more out of a taste for a challenge than out of complete and joyful self-confidence.

Self-confident black woman in session
How strong is your self-confidence? Credit: Adobe Stock

The truth is that some openly lack self-confidence, while others have no trouble hiding their anxiety or doubts behind a beautiful facade of confidence. Sometimes, you'll spot them by their discomfort when things don't go their way, by their need for excessive control, or even by the harshness they can have towards themselves.

Two modes of operation, the same result: a lot of energy lost fighting with yourself. So where are we going if even those confident in themselves are masked worriers?!

Breaking the myth of trust

At the same time, despite all the theories on leadership, Professor Don Moore breaks a myth by highlighting that confidence is not necessarily a predictor of performance. According to him, there are reasons to be skeptical that greater confidence improves performance and substantial reasons to worry that greater confidence may harm the preparation.

If confidence is helpful, developing it excessively is counterproductive. Furthermore, I hypothesize that confidence, when tinged with arrogance or an inability to hear other's points of view, is not the best predictor of success. Does self-confidence deserve its aura?

Changing perspective on trust

A huge part of the theory and good practices on self-confidence focus on action, the future, and "doing." It's a matter of ensuring one's preparation, posture, clothing, etc.

If it was so easy, why has the subject been on the menu for decades? Why do the brilliant, ultra-trained, and over-prepared profiles that I coach still need to improve?

There's something superficial about self-confidence, external, that does not prevent you from feeling very small inside. So the big question is, what will give you the substance, the foundationn (cf. The 5 secrets of success and pleasure at work)?

Rebuilding trust from the foundations

The good news is that the key is in your hands. The bad news is that it’s often serious work on yourself. To give substance to your self-confidence, look at your self-esteem, the value you give to yourself. Come on, let’s dare the term love! The love you have for yourself....ah ah... a big topic, isn't it?

There's something superficial about self-confidence, external, that doesn't stop you from feeling small inside.

I'm talking about this ability to appreciate your qualities and faults, regardless of what you do or don't do, what others do, and what happens around you.

"Not enoughness" can be a powerful engine of development, let's make no mistake, but it compromises any lasting satisfaction and probably a good dose of your happiness.

The real questions to ask yourself

Loving yourself is a natural catalyst for success. Indeed, for Professor Brené Brown, self-love comes before success. Not the other way around.

So the big question is: how much can you love the person you are beyond your actions, achievements, titles, and other possessions?

The bonus question: if you accepted yourself fully and nothing could affect your view of yourself, what would that change for you?

"I don't think you can truly change for the better, in a lasting and meaningful way, unless it's driven by self-acceptance." Brené Brown

Take a moment to think about it. It's central. Be careful; this does not mean giving up on improving or developing. But it's about feeling good in your sneakers, as we say in French. It means no longer needing to compare yourself. And it means stopping looking for approval and giving it to yourself. Promising, right?

Give yourself time

And how do we go about it? This can be a long-term task, depending on the starting point. All kinds of approaches can support you, whether it be yoga (see post previous), meditation, self-compassion methods (cf. Professor Kirsten Neff).). There's important work to raise awareness, wounds that sometimes need to be healed, and changes in perspective, which, depending on the case, will be better supported by a third party.

I used all kinds of approaches, and I sweated. I finally found a powerful accelerator that involves hypnosis; today, the inner change is radical. Today, I have another listening, another presence because it's no longer "about me".

Achieving full validation of the person you are means laying solid foundations if you lack self-confidence. If the facade is there, it will give another dimension, real solidity. The secret is that you can express doubts, not know, and, at the same time, have confidence in yourself.

In a nutshell,

The importance of self-confidence is overrated in the workplace. Its lack paralyzes some people while others erect it as a bulwark to mask a certain anxiety.

Working on your relationship with yourself is much more important than standing up straight in some powerpose and a fitted suit! This will not exempt you from the preparation, but the inner tension will be massively reduced.

You're already a good person! At least, it's up to you to establish and believe it fully internally!

So you? Where are you on this central question?

Because that’s where the courage to follow your path and do “because it’s right for you and not to please or to be perfect” is born. (cf. the real causes of chronic stress).

This is where it becomes possible to do without fearing criticism and manage to see it as constructive since it cannot call into question the person that you are.

This is where it also becomes easier to mention your doubts and uncertainties without taking anything away from your foundation.

It's from there, finally, that we get a little closer to ourselves, our aspirations, and our dreams. This is also called authenticity.

Hey, this is also a key trait of today's leader ;-)!

Have a nice week!


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