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The Confidence Factor, Part 1

Recently, I wrote on families and crisis, as metaphor on how we might consider working together in times of trial.  Over the last few weeks indeed, we have explored the virtues of acceptance, unity and zeal… and often referred to times of trial and triumph alike.  We are certainly living in interesting times, locally and globally.

Enter Confidence; the virtue.

We often think of confidence as a skill… and it is… on one level.  The behaviours that we practice both build it and manifest it.  As a wise Vietnam Vet named “Mike” once said to me back in the 80’s, “Courage first, confidence second.”

As we practice courage in facing that which we fear, we tend to build confidence.  Indeed, there are many great programs out there that help advance the practice and skill of confidence building.  Practicing this strength of character provides the fortitude to meet life head on.  It allows us a sense of self-assurance and trust in others and ourselves.  We approach learning in a whole new way, seeing mistakes as stepping stones and not failures.  It advances both patience and excellence in the approach to mastery.  It frees us to create and express as us; and strengthens a positive and optimistic approach.

Confidence is one cool cat.

Still, Confidence is a virtue; a pre-existent strength of character… accessible by all.  And the question I believe begs asking is “Confidence in what?”

Confidence in a skill we have is one thing.  As you read this, your confidence in your ability to breathe, read or write might be fairly high.  Your confidence in that which you know how to do is typically high.  We all have confidence in doing something… from the most fundamental skills and knowledge and beyond.  That kind of confidence is built by doing.  The child first learning to walk has the courage and curiosity to try and perseveres.  We all have this ability to build what I call the functional confidence.

But that same child had confidence in walking, before they walked.  There is a knowing of potential.  This is a deeper, richer more sustaining level.  It is the virtue of Confidence.  Some might call it faith.  Real, sustaining and sustainable confidence comes from changing our focus on what we can and cannot do to our potential and life in general.  The virtue of confidence, practiced daily causes us to understand that we are “ready in all circumstances”.  It is the confidence in our ability to triumph, even through and amidst the trials; especially the trials.

Confidence believes.  It is a choice.  The virtue of confidence is a choice that requires no track record.  It is a leap of faith… or jump of confidence… not unlike my own mother’s final words of wisdom to me last year.  She said, “We are all gonna make it.”

So, I suggest great cultures on campus, in companies and throughout communities breed this kind of confidence; the virtue.  It is not a confidence that depends on what we have done or not done in the past.  It is a confidence that says “we got this” when we do not even know what “this” is yet.  It is not arrogance.  Arrogance would believe in the ease of the journey.  Confidence says that it might be hell, but we will get through it.

Great champions possess this.  Great classrooms, workplaces and communities too.  So, how do we access it?  We choose to believe.  We choose to be real.  We choose to encourage ourselves and others.

First, I suggest we might study it a bit.  Here are some perspectives I like and choose to consider.

  • Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. — Norman Vincent Peale
  • Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. — Helen Keller
  • Kindness in words creates confidence.  — Lao Tzu
  • You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done. — Robert Downey Jr.
  • When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. — Joe Namath
  • Great leaders don’t need to act tough. Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness. — Simon Senek

This week, we will explore confidence and leadership.  For now, I leave you with a question.  To what daily practices can you commit that will foster and advance the virtue of confidence in yourself and others?  In other words, how can you move beyond functional confidence and the knowledge that you know how to do what you know how to do… to that confidence that says humbly “we got this”?  In still other words, how can you best manifest the Talisman that you are… and that those around you are?

How can you access, practice and manifest the virtue of Confidence?

Until next post and beyond, practice that. Access that.

Peace, passion and prosperity…

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

I sang this at two conventions over the last two years… Because We Believe… that is another story. 🙂

PPS

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