How To Overcome Your Confidence Barriers


What Is Confidence?

Confidence, is when you have full trust in yourself. When you’re totally at peace with who you are, at every moment and you make no apologies for being awkward, nervous, loud or soft spoken… you’re just you, because whether or not someone tells you that you’re doing a great job, you know that you have the ability to “handle it”. A confident person has unconditional faith in their ability to handle a situation whereas, a person lacking confidence, will not doubt their abilities and typically actions tasks, with increased anxiety due to their self-doubting beliefs.

Its almost unbelievable to think that you limit yourself by your thoughts but it’s true so, heres how to stop it.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the Ernest L. Arbuckle professor of business at Harvard Business School and also the director and chair of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative. In her recent research she identified the 8 key barriers to confidence.

1.Self defeating assumptions

You think you can’t, so you don’t. You think you’re a terrible dancer, so you watch your friends have fun shaking their bodies, whilst you sit out, awkwardly. You think you’ll never get a promotion so you plan on leaving your job, or quitting. Don’t try to protect yourself from failure or embarrassment, it’s far worse to never try.

2. Goals that are too big or distant

Having enormous goals, can undermine confidence. The gap between a giant goal and today’s reality can be demotivating. Confidence really comes from the small wins, the kind that occur often and repeatedly. So, try to line yourself up for the small wins by breaking down your goals into steps and focus on one at a time.

3. Declaring victory too soon

Confidence, comes from discipline, not from reaching your first milestone and thinking you’ve mastered it.

4. Going alone

To properly build your confidence you need to foster a culture of confidence. Build confidence in those around you. Make wanting to succeed a natural part of your life.

5. Blaming someone else

Confidence rests on taking responsibility for one’s own behaviour. Whining or making excuses as to why you can’t perform as well as others reduces confidence for future performances. And you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

6. Defensiveness

It’s one thing to listen and respond to criticism. It’s another to answer someone before they’ve said anything. Apologize for mistakes but don’t apologise for who or what you are. Instead take pride in where you’ve come from and lead with your unique strengths.

7. Lack of thorough analysis

Being realistic means considering the possible setbacks, towards your goals. Don’t let your confidence become knocked by a struggle you’ve failed to think about. Preparation for how your going to climb the mountain is key, don’t attempt to freestyle it.

8. Over-confidence

Harvard Business Review define confidence as the sweet spot between arrogance and despair and I couldn’t agree more. In my view, arrogance comes from laziness, when you feel that you can start cutting corners, doing less work and make new decisions based on past success without thinking it through. Arrogance leads to ignorance of the critics, thinking you know better when you don’t, just think of the global crisis. A little humility goes a long way to keep yourself in place.

Remember, confidence isn’t a feeling, it’s the expectation of success but the knowledge that to be successful handwork and setbacks are likely.


Author: Leila Mezoughi

Leila is PCA’s Head Editor and Researcher. She holds a 1st class Law with Business degree and became a published author at 25. Former crime investigator turned business journalist. On a mission to show businesses that presenteeism is a thing of the past. Everything seems impossible until it’s done. Typically found working from a white beach in South-East Asia embracing rapidly changing technology.

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How To Overcome Your Confidence Barriers - PCA LAW