Helen Keller once said “Optimism is faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
She’s hardly the only one to credit confidence as a key factor in being successful at any endeavor. From Norman Vincent Peale (“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble, but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.”) to Queen Latifah (“I’m living proof that with confidence and believing in yourself, you can accomplish any goal.”), there is no shortage of quotes linking success to your mindset.
If there’s one trait successful people have in common, it’s confidence. That’s a term that may require a bit of discussion because true confidence may not look like you expect it to look.
Success Is Earned
Confident people don’t assume success is their birthright. They believe they can achieve their goals because they know they’re going to work for it. They are aware the road may be difficult and that they will likely face challenges. They may even have setbacks. They also know, however, that they are going to put in the hard work to get over the finish line.
Questions Are Welcome
Confident people are aware that they don’t have all the answers. They aren’t looking to hide their knowledge gaps from others. They’re honest about what they don’t know and what they don’t do well. More importantly, they seek out others who can fill in those knowledge and skill gaps. Confident people are avid, life-long learners, as well as strong team players.
Failure Is an Option.
Confident people are not afraid of failure. They know that success requires you to step out and take a risk. Sometimes those risks don’t work out and that’s okay. The confident person is willing to learn from the failed endeavor and use it as a catalyst for their next one.
Stretching Is Preferred
Likewise, confident people are willing to stretch beyond their known limits to test the waters outside of their comfort zones. They are willing to take on the challenge of stretching and trying new things. Of course, their willingness to ask questions, learn new things, and risk failure makes this easier.
Cheers for Small Victories
While they’re comfortable with a failed attempt, confident people, like the rest of us, enjoy their wins. Not just the big wins. They acknowledge small victories, too. They recognize that a series of successful efforts can cultivate a mindset of confidence or further bolster the confidence they already have. Think of it as building a habit of success, one small victory at a time.
Confident people share their thoughts without hedging. They don’t classify their assertions with phrases like “Well, I think…” or “I’m not sure if this is right, but...” They are comfortable sitting back and not offering input unless they can comment with conviction. They recognize that if they aren’t onboard with their own input, no one else will be either. If you’re willing to put it out there, own it.
Confident people don’t believe their success requires someone else to not succeed. Their sense of self-worth comes from within. They don’t need to steal the spotlight or compare their own accomplishments to anyone else’s as a means to measure their own value. This frees them up to recognize and celebrate what others have to contribute. They instinctively praise others for their contributions and achievements. Leaders, pay attention to this one. Confidence is contagious. The person who believes in their own ability to succeed and is willing to build people up in the process will cultivate confidence in others.