The Confidence Continuum.

I used to be in awe of public speakers with vibrant energy, entertaining content and a sparkle in their eyes, especially when I was teaching and wanted to speak more. Then I shifted from the classroom to a business career. That’s when my admiration went to those who sell seemingly without anxiety. Clearly, I was constantly looking at role models – those I emulated were those I strived to become.

Today I realize my awe was based on those I assumed had confidence. The energetic, witty, and outgoing personalities just seem to be confident. But that’s because I am not reading the mind of the person I am observing. What they see and what I experience could be quite the opposite.

For instance, I define myself to be introverted. My college roommate wouldn’t, and neither does my mom. But they base their assessment on what they see. I base it on what I experience. Although many times I practice extroverted behaviors, much of the time I prefer the introverted temperament.

Confidence, like our temperament,  is on a continuum. Some days it is higher, other days lower. Similar to an infinity symbol, we journey along our confidence path up and down, in and out, never truly reaching the confidence we want yet feeling better some days than others.

Things that affect our confidence include those times we compare ourselves with others (like in my cases above with salesfolk and speakers); our personal successes/failures (mine improves as I get better and more practiced); our willingness to seek assistance and feedback (although scarey, when I ask for feedback, I gain wisdom which motivates my behavior). The commonality in each of these catalysts is whether we experience faith or doubt in ourselves.

Confidence is based on feeling more faith than doubt.

Interestingly, every moment of our day is riddled with both doubt and faith. This polarity of options allows us to determine for ourselves how to respond to things we face.

Even the best public speakers doubt themselves. Even the least-experienced sales person has faith. Every moment of our lives we test our abilities.

How do you feel about yourself and your ability to adapt to new circumstances? Are you willing to speak up? To promote yourself? Which will it be? Faith or doubt?

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