As people, we sometimes find ourselves in situations that leave us feeling uncomfortable and uneasy. As leaders, that’s pretty much a constant.
You know what I’m talking about. It could be something positive—maybe speaking to a large crowd, launching a new product, or re-upping an important client.
Alternatively, it could be something negative—a confrontational meeting, a disappointing phone call, or an ambush by hostile board members.
In my experience, a leader’s day is filled with a mix of both the positive and negative. And, if you’re like me, we don’t always feel up to either.
Challenges are a constant, but confidence is not. It comes and goes. And I find I’m usually on the low end right on the front end.
I experience the greatest doubt and anxiety at the start of something big. Whether it’s good or bad, I’m usually fine once I’m going. But until then, I’m like the person on the tip of the high dive, overlooking way too much blue.
Here’s the problem: If you’re a leader, jumping isn’t optional. You have to go—and you have to go first.
So, how can we kick fear to the curb long enough to get off the diving board? For me, it comes down to connecting with three critical truths. And I think these can help anyone facing a moment of doubt or uncertainty.
Together, these three truths represent what I call the Confidence Triad.™
Truth No. 1: They Matter
Whoever you’re dealing with, whatever their circumstances, they matter. This is non-negotiable for gaining confidence. Why? Because it draws us out of ourselves and our own concerns.
Being brave is more than getting over our fears. It’s about reaching beyond those fears to address the needs of others.
Here are three questions that can help us get past ourselves and connect to others:
- What do they want?
- Where are the now?
- What’s standing in the way?
Truth No. 2: It Matters
Not only do others matter, but so do our solutions. As leaders, our job is to meet needs. We could also say—just as easily and accurately—our job is to show how our offer answers those three previous questions.
Confidence comes when we realize that we have answers that will resolve real problems. One way to access that confidence is to use the Fast-Forward Technique. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Where will they end up if nothing changes?
- Where will they end up if something significant changes?
Truth No. 3: I Matter
Frankly, this truth might be the hardest for some of us to believe. Sure, the people you’re dealing with matter. And yeah, you know what best addresses their situation, even if it’s bad news.
But—and this is the hard part—what if you’re not the right person to handle it? This is one of the ultimate confidence shakers.
Answering questions won’t cut it. Now it’s time to go on the offensive. If you already know that (1) others are important and (2) you can solve their problems, then it’s time to make three bold affirmations.
You don’t have to believe them immediately. You probably won’t. I rarely do. But for your own sake, let these fill the air and see how they sound:
- I am not here by accident. God sent me. To this person (or people). At exactly this time.
- What I have to share is vitally important. It matters. To them, to their loved ones, and to the world.
- I have all the resources I need to make a positive difference in this situation.
Go Ahead, Jump!
This is not going to solve all your problems. You’ll still have the uncomfortable meeting and the angry board. But who cares?
Thanks to the Confidence Triad™, you now know their fears and concerns are just as real as yours. Beyond that, you also know you can handle them.
It won’t be easy. I have to walk myself through this list several times a month. And I’ve been doing it for years. Still, I’m fine once I’m over the edge.
You might be the same way. Get over the initial fear and you can accomplish almost anything. Just jump.
Question: What big move—positive or negative—are you dreading right now?