Confidence – what is it? No really what is it?! The other thing I don’t really understand is why do we think it is so valuable?
Let me explain.
Over the years I’ve heard lots of views on confidence and the more I hear the more I question. It seems to me that we are chasing an ephemeral and elusive thing. Something that can disappear in the blink of an eye.
Many people give the allusion of confidence and yet they are quaking on the inside. Others may be shaking but have an inner calm and sense of purpose that carries them through the scariest of situations. Which is the more valuable?
The more I discuss confidence with clients the more convinced I become that self-esteem is actually a more important topic for discussion.
Confidence can be a mask we wear as we act out our part. It can easily slip or be whisked away at a crucial moment.
Self-esteem on the other hand is ours to have, to nurture and build and provides us with an inner ‘knowing’ that we are ok on our own terms.
In a place of strong self-esteem we know that whatever others may think of us we can remain strong. If we fluff a presentation or job interview our confidence may be dented but we know that we are the same person inside so we can protect our self-esteem. It doesn’t make us any less than we are.
It’s a highly personal thing and relies on no-one else but us and our own values, views and consistency. We can grow and confirm our esteem by staying strong to who we are rather than how others want us to be.
My dad, for the most part, was a quiet man. He didn’t want to be in the limelight and rarely stuck his head above the parapet. He may have appeared to be low in confidence and may well have felt that as well, particularly in large groups. However, he had an incredibly strong sense of self. He knew where he wanted to be in the world, what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be around.
Success for him was a job well done, responsibilities met, friends and family looked after and a comfy chair, book and cup of tea.
Self-esteem is so much more achievable, long lasting and reliable than confidence. So let’s build that instead!