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Confidence Tricks (Part Two)


The competency profile for trainers is an interesting one.  I’ve always have joked that we have to be part Blue Peter presenter, part sadist and part furniture remover but there is another element to it, one that goes unspoken amongst trainers.  Well, today I’m breaking the code because the one competency that all trainers have in common is that we’re psychic – we can read your mind.  And because I can read your mind, I know what it is that you want.  Deep down, you want to be confident.

You may laugh (I certainly hope you do) but I can be fairly – pardon the phrase – confident that you want to be confident because I’m playing the odds, rather than reading your mind.  When I ask people what they want from this assertiveness workshop, or this time management workshop or this leadership workshop the answer the majority give is a variation on “I want to be more confident.

Being part sadist, my immediate response to that request is “When you say ‘more confident,’ what does that mean to you?”  The answer is enlightening because, very often, they don’t actually know.  In fact, when I ask them what confidence actually is, they can’t define it for me.  So I press on (told you I was a sadist) and ask them “What has to happen in order for you to feel confident?”  Again, they usually don’t have an answer.

Rosabeth Moss Kantor defines confidence in this way: “Confidence is certainly mental, but it’s… an expectation of a positive outcome.  And that expectation leads to all kinds of investments in making that outcome come true.  Because of confidence people put in the effort. They invest financial and other resources. Instead of giving up, they stay in the game longer and, therefore, have more chances to succeed…”  But now we know what it is, how do we know we have it and how do we get it?

Confidence is a belief and it’s slippery – sometimes our minds play tricks on us.  If confidence is an expectation of a positive outcome, my advice is to look at the evidence in your life.  Look for the situations that you have found yourself in and which you have handled; look for those situations that you influenced, turned around, resolved, dealt with.  I’m willing to bet (because, after all, I’m psychic) that, more often than not, the outcome was positive – whatever it was, you dealt with it and it turned out okay in the end.  The fact is, you’re already a confident person; you just have to start trusting the evidence in your own life and believing it.

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