No matter how confident you feel, there is always something that can shake that confidence. And if you don’t feel confident there’s always work you can do. Often we’re told that to boost confidence we should learn more. Become the expert. The smartest person in the room. That often sends us on a wild goose chase of never ending learning and, along with it, never ending avoiding taking actions or making commitments. While it’s certainly true that building knowledge or skills can boost your confidence, that’s usually not enough, especially if you are in a leadership role or are an entrepreneur. This is where your personal values come in.
What Is Confidence?
Everyone has their own, personal, definition of confidence. Often that definition is vague and we don’t give a lot of time and effort to really specify it for ourselves. So naturally, the first step to feeling confident is having a clear understanding to what being confident means to you.
For starters, you can consider this definition, some variation or make your own
“Confidence is a state of being expressed as a feeling of safety derived from the faith or belief in yourself to engage in an activity at a level that you define as competent.”
This definition of confidence is different than most that you will find. Consider what seems to fit and not fit when thinking of your own definition. There are a couple of key points to notice about what confidence really is. First, confidence is a feeling. It's not a characteristic or a skill. People with confidence may act a certain way, but that is the outward expression of what comes from the inward feeling. Second, this feeling is completely controlled by you. You determine what the level of competence is that is required to feel confident! Let's look a little more at each of these components and see why they are so important.
Confidence is a state of being and a feeling. It's important to realize confidence is a feeling you have because if you are not looking for the right thing you're unlikely to find it. In working with people I have often seen that people have a belief that confidence is a skill or a characteristic or even a state of being (He is confident, for example). These are close, but not quite accurate. And without an accurate picture it's difficult to recognize where we are confident and what we need to do to build confidence. We need to know what we're looking for!
What Are Values?
Most of us have a vague understanding of what our values are and what exactly we mean by them. To the extent we do, rarely do we put them up against each other to really understand which values are the most important to us.
“Values are the operating principles that guide every decision you make.
In corporations, values guide how employees interact with each other and customers. Corporate value statements declare what is important to the company, what the company stands for. Similarly your personal values statement declares how you operate and what’s important to you. They describe your character both in and out of the office and don’t change whether you are at work or home.
Three Ways Values and Confidence Are Connected
Decision Making: You can make decisions faster and be more confident when you know and understand what is most important to you. There is no reason to question your judgment or spend forever looking for more information. You’ve already done the work that you will need to be confident in your decision.
Self-Image: Values are a core part of who we are and how we see ourselves. By getting clear on your values you gain clarity about who you are and what you stand for. You can understand what current values are undermining your self-image and build beliefs and habits to replace them.
Constructive/Destructive Behaviors: We are all subject to social pressures, some that help and support us and some that weaken or may even be destructive. When your values are clear you will seek out people and organizations that are in alignment with those values an either leave or seek to change those that do not align and have a negative impact on you.
Values and the Business of You
Understanding your personal values is the foundational element of creating the “Business of You.” Just like companies have values that define their culture and operating principles, your values do the same for you. They no matter what your career or life vision is, no matter what your skills and talents are, living and working in congruence with your values is critical for achieving the best you can. It is when you stop acting in line with your values that you run into trouble. Learn more about the Business of You and how you can increase your confidence and success.