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Do What Others Don't Do to Build Confidence: Shift to Mastery

Do What Others Don't Do to Build Confidence: Shift to Mastery

It takes courage.

To build out confidence, you need to start with courage. Courage is the ability to withstand danger, persevere, and have the strength to overcome fear. Being courageous is acting in spite of fear. It is the ability to take a step forward.

Think of yourself as fearless. Fear is learned and often occurs as a result of an assumption. You couldn’t hit a softball with a bat when you were young and now you don’t want to join the softball league because of this fear that it would be the same. How do you know? You are assuming that this would be the case. You really don’t know.

[Related: Implementing Psychological Safety at Work]

Embracing fearlessness.

The best way to eliminate fear or quiet it down is to take three deep, slow breaths to become more centered. Accept that you have some fear and say to yourself, “Not today. I don’t have time for you," and shift into fearlessness. You have to realize that fear is all in the mind.

Fearlessness is about not being concerned about how you will be perceived. You know you have everything it takes to do your best. In order to be in this state of fearlessness, you need to think about how fear can hold you back and ask yourself what would be different if you didn’t have fear. How would your performance change? This assists you in shifting the energy into the freedom of being fearless.

Building confidence.

Confidence is the belief that you can do something well or succeed at it. Many people focus on working to build confidence. The best way to build confidence is by learning something. If you think about this and remember back when you learned to ride a bike, riding a bike is the outcome. The result.

The fun was all in the learning of it. The mastery of it. Now that you know how to ride a bike, you have confidence to do it whenever you would like. Therefore, confidence is a result, not a requirement. The best way to build out confidence is to shift your mindset.

How can you build confidence? You need to move from a performance mindset to a mastery mindset.

  • Performance mindset: Do something at peak performance 100% of the time.
  • Mastery mindset: Doing something with continual improvement knowing you can’t lose and you can’t make a mistake.

What would be different if you had a mastery mindset?

When you shift to mastery mindset, you know you can’t lose because you are working to get better at whatever it is you are doing. It allows you to have self-grace under any circumstance. It also implies that all experiences are helpful and that you can learn and build your knowledge overtime.

I remember when we were going through some corporate re-organization and I asked my boss, who was the president of the division, what was the best advice he had for me. I will never forget it. He said, keep your head down and keep working. He was really talking about having a mastery mindset.

[Related: Go Ahead, Be Ambitious!]

Deliberate practice.

Here is how to build out a mastery mindset. When you create a deliberate plan to reach your goals or increase confidence in an area of leadership, you will have a plan that focuses on mastering the task. Say you want to become a better speaker, the plan might be about practicing creating a presentation, delivering it in front of the mirror, or recording yourself on video and then getting feedback from a trusted advisor. You also might enroll in some sort of educational program to master presentations.

The best thing to do to get started is ask the following question:

What are the kinds of thing I need to practice in order to achieve high impact as a leader?

Brainstorm a list of everything you could do to master what you want. Then you have a lot to choose from: Decide what to do first, and always have a list to go back to and enhance the mastery you are achieving.

Creating guaranteed success.

In today’s world, there is so much volatility, uncertainly, complexity, and ambiguity, which is known as VUCA. With this in mind, leaders often have to think about success in a new way. The best way to create success is to look at it in three forms:

  • Goal A: Minimal Goal: A goal that will create success for you and or your organization. Let’s say you want to lose ten pounds, but another win would be just to lose five pounds. This allows you to speak clearly and confidently about your goal and the direction you are headed.
  • Goal B: Optimal Goal: The ideal place that you would like to be, which would in this case be losing ten pounds. This allows you to create an optimal outcome and also allows you to be okay with this scenario.
  • Goal C: Stretch Goal: A stretch goal is what might be possible if all the right conditions are met, and for losing weight, in this case it would be fifteen pounds. What is great about this is that sometimes things change and the impossible becomes possible.

What is great about this thinking and approach is that it creates some sort of success, no matter what, and it allows for variables outside our control or changing circumstances.

Summing it all up.

Having the courage to get started is possible when you shift to a fearless attitude and take a step forward. You can’t just wait for confidence to happen. A good leader will choose to create it by trusting themselves, knowing that no matter what, they will learn from the experience. They let go of any concern about what might happen.

Confidence is an outcome of mastery. Mastery is about putting a plan together to achieve something and working toward that set of goals. All of us are able to master anything and everything! (I get confidence just saying this.)

[Related: Five Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Promoted – And How To Fix It]

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Chris Holter is a global award-winning trusted advisor, executive coach, speaker, and author. She helps high achieving women be their best in order to achieve their big mission.


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