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Confidence is Overrated

Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide

One of the topics that comes up the most in my supporting women-led entrepreneurs is self-confidence.  As in, “I have imposter syndrome.” Or, “I need more confidence.” Women seem to think that they can’t succeed unless they find confidence somewhere. That’s why I loved the recent blog by Activator Dia Bondi, who says things in a much more memorable way than I do. I encourage every woman who thinks she has a confidence problem to read and take it to heart:

“Confidence is an outcome of action.  Not a prerequisite for action.

“I get this question a lot:

`How do I get the confidence I need to [fill in the blank]?’

“My answer?  Get into action.

“Find small (or big) actions you can take and when you take those actions, watch the confidence roll in, wash over you and fill your chest with the knowing you can do what’s next.

“Getting into action requires you to stop expecting confidence first.  It requires you to look at the actions you can take, and let yourself DO them WHILE you feel a little shaky. Forgive yourself for not having that impenetrable confidence you think you need.  Let go of the expectation of having superhuman powers as a requirement.  Let yourself be nervous.

“None of that is a signal you’re not ready to get into motion.

I don’t have to be perfectly confident
to get into motion.
I can act and trust that confidence
will be the outcome of that action.

“If we wait for confidence (to take that bigger stage, to step into that negotiation, to write that book proposal etc.) we’ll never do it. 

“Here’s what to look for instead: 

  • Are you prepared?  
  • Do you know the plan?
  • Do you have control over how you show up?
  • Do you know what matters?
  • Are you clear on your objective?

“These are the questions you can ask to evaluate if you’re ready to act.  

“Then do it and confidence will come.”

I would only add one thing— when you take action, notice your accomplishment and plant it in your brain!  Confidence is built through registering what you have done so that next time, you can think to yourself, “I did that, so I guess I can do this.” As someone I just read recently said, “Doing is believing.”

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