I guess my bias shows through in the title of this article. It implies that we can be confident now. Yes, I chose the word remaining, and not building, rebuilding, or salvaging. Confidence in uncertain times is important for us personally and can be a beacon of hope to those around us. The question is, how do we do it?
Importance of Confidence Now
Confidence in our abilities and actions is always an important part of our success.
Remember when you were learning to drive a car? The instructor (even if was mom or dad) started out in parking lot and side roads to teach you the basics. They knew that learning in a low risk situation was, well, less risky, but also allowed you to build your confidence.
After some practice, that same instructor deemed you ready. They pointed you to the onramp, and you graduated to the highway with lots of traffic. You were more confident, until with the crush of cars and complexity, you weren’t. When you needed your confidence most, it wavered.
The uncertainties you deal with today are much the same – now more than ever both as an individual and perhaps as a leader your confidence in the ability to navigate situations and circumstances most needed.
If you feel it faltering, or want to make sure it doesn’t what can you do?
Today, for every fact there are fifty opinions. Unfortunately depending on our sources, we might hear more of the opinions repeated more often. And most of those opinions don’t point to a sunny positive future. Just when we need to know what is really happening so we can deal it proactively, we might be operating in greater fear and reacting when we need to be responding.
You can grow your confidence by focusing on the known and building plans for them. Even in uncertain times (whether a pandemic or a corporate merger) there are facts inside the flurry of gossip and “what-ifs.”
Confidence can live better in the facts and will grow when you choose to focus on the facts and work from there. Finding whatever certainties you can in the flood of uncertainty is the key.
Four Specific Ideas
Here are four more specific actions you can take to maintain and even grow your confidence in uncertain times
- Focus on your future vision. Perspective can change your viewpoint drastically. The longer your view, the less daunting today looks. Keep looking at your purpose and your long-term goals. Making needed adjustments will be easier when you can look up and beyond the current uncertainties.
- Focus outwardly. The “good news” in the news these days is often about everyday people doing things for others. Their focus is on others and how they can help, not on themselves. You have seen the same thing inside your organization in times of crisis or uncertainty. Take their lead – focus on other people and their needs. Focus on service and not yourself, and your confidence will be fortified.
- Apply your strengths. You are always most confident when working from your strengths. Yet during uncertainty people often withdraw and become more tentative about everything. Think about how your strengths can relate to your response to the uncertainty.
- Apply the confidence/competence loop. I’ve written about this in the past, but here is the short of it. Confidence and competence can create a self-growth loop. When we approach anything with greater confidence, we will get better at it – and our increased skill raises our confidence further. If you want to remain confident in uncertain times, keep working, keep trying and keep going.
Your confidence in uncertain times can be bolstered in many ways, and I have just shared several. All the tactics and suggestions have one underlying thing in common.
Confidence grows when we act. When we are doing things to address any issue, our thoughts follow. When we stop moving, our thoughts take the lead, possibly leading us to be more tentative and more uncertain under the weight of the worry.
Movement beats moping.
If you want greater confidence in uncertain times, do something. Waiting won’t win. When we begin to act with boldness our confidence will come with us, bolster us, improve our results – and help others in the process.
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