Is a lack of self confidence stopping you?
by Ilise Benun
I hear from creative professionals every day, both in-house and freelancers, who tell me all the things they wish they could do, if only they had the self confidence to do it.
And it always makes me wonder what exactly is getting in their way? What is self confidence anyway? So today begins a series of posts attempting to explore the “what” of it and give a few ideas about how to develop it.
So what is self confidence?
According to Webster’s, confidence is “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances” and “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper and effective way.” In other words, to be confident is to know you can handle whatever comes along (which you probably can, by the way).
I notice that without self confidence, creatives can’t do what it takes to keep climbing the career ladder, whether that means striving toward better positions at better companies or leaving the companies behind and striking out on their own.
Do you believe you need “self-confidence” before taking a plunge?
This logic suggests that “having confidence” is somehow a prerequisite to effort and success. But it’s a catch-22, because unless you possess this elusive self confidence (which you can’t buy in a store), you won’t believe you’re capable of succeeding, so you won’t make your best effort. Indeed, many people make no effort at all, using lack of confidence as the excuse.
But is self confidence required before any action is taken? (And if so, exactly how much, because self confidence isn’t quantifiable?) Or can taking an action eventually result in the confidence needed to take the next one? In other words, which comes first: self confidence or action toward a goal?