As we prepare our pre-professionals to educate, serve, and lead, we want to make sure that they are confident and competent. We have discussed competence in the forms of culture, technology, linguistics, and development, but have not really talked about confidence. I want our pre-professionals to be confident in their knowledge and skills and be able to take on leadership roles in their places of work. As I grow older and wiser, I am more confident in my abilities to listen, learn, and lead. The 15 statements below that outline confidence are what we need to inculcate in our students. The statements may also be a refresher for ourselves as we navigate our personal and professional lives.
1. They don’t make excuses.
Highly confident people take ownership of their thoughts and actions. They don’t blame the traffic for being tardy at work; they were late. They don’t excuse their short-comings with excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “I’m just not good enough;” they make the time and they keep on improving until they are good enough.
2. They don’t avoid doing the scary thing.
Highly confident people don’t let fear dominate their lives. They know that the things they are afraid of doing are often the very same things that they need to do in order to evolve into the person they are meant to be.
3. They don’t live in a bubble of comfort.
Highly confident people avoid the comfort zone, because they know this is a place where dreams die. They actively pursue a feeling of discomfort because they know stretching themselves is mandatory for their success.
4. They don’t put things off until next week.
Highly confident people know that a good plan executed today is better than a great plan executed someday. They don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right circumstances,” because they know these reactions are based on a fear of change. They take action here, now, today – because that’s where progress happens.
5. They don’t obsess over the opinions of others.
Highly confident people don’t get caught up in negative feedback. While they do care about the well-being of others and aim to make a positive impact in the world, they don’t get caught up in negative opinions that they can’t do anything about. They know that their true friends will accept them as they are, and they don’t concern themselves with the rest.
6. They don’t judge people.
Highly confident people have no tolerance for unnecessary, self-inflicted drama. They don’t feel the need to insult friends behind their backs, participate in gossip about fellow co-workers or lash out at folks with different opinions. They are so comfortable in who they are that they feel no need to look down on other people.
7. They don’t let lack of resources stop them.
Highly confident people can make use of whatever resources they have, no matter how big or small. They know that all things are possible with creativity and a refusal to quit. They don’t agonize over setbacks, but rather focus on finding a solution.
8. They don’t make comparisons.
Highly confident people know that they are not competing with any other person. They compete with no other individual except the person they were yesterday. They know that every person is living a story so unique that drawing comparisons would be an absurd and simplistic exercise in futility.
9. They don’t find joy in people-pleasing.
Highly confident people have no interest in pleasing every person they meet. They are aware that not all people get along, and that’s just how life works. They focus on the quality of their relationships, instead of the quantity of them.
10. They don’t need constant reassurance.
Highly confident people aren’t in need of hand-holding. They know that life isn’t fair and things won’t always go their way. While they can’t control every event in their life, they focus on their power to react in a positive way that moves them forward.
11. They don’t avoid life’s inconvenient truths.
Highly confident people confront life’s issues at the root before the disease can spread any farther. They know that problems left unaddressed have a way of multiplying as the days, weeks and months go by. They would rather have an uncomfortable conversation with their partner today than sweep an inconvenient truth under the rug, putting trust at risk.
12. They don’t quit because of minor set-backs.
Highly confident people get back up every time they fall down. They know that failure is an unavoidable part of the growth process. They are like a detective, searching for clues that reveal why this approach didn’t work. After modifying their plan, they try again (but better this time).
13. They don’t require anyone’s permission to act.
Highly confident people take action without hesitation. Every day, they remind themselves, “If not me, who?”
14. They don’t limit themselves to a small toolbox.
Highly confident people don’t limit themselves to Plan A. They make use of any and all tools that are at their disposal, relentlessly testing the effectiveness of every approach, until they identify the strategies that offer the most results for the least cost in time and effort.
15. They don’t blindly accept what they read on the Internet as “truth” without thinking about it.
Highly confident people don’t accept articles on the Internet as truth just because some author “said so.” They look at every how-to article from the lens of their unique perspective. They maintain a healthy skepticism, making use of any material that is relevant to their lives, and forgetting about the rest.