The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
— Mark Twain, American author
Stepping into the real you takes confidence — and maybe a healthy dose of ignorance. It may also take competence but confidence trumps competence all the time. It's natural for people to misinterpret confidence as competence. Perhaps because doing so is a judgement call and making this call is easier — determining a person's competence usually involves some form of test or observation, and that takes time. A judgement call on their confidence is often instantaneous. It may not be accurate but it is a judgement nonetheless. If you believe someone to be confident, you will assume they are competent and vice versa. If you sense a lack of confidence, you will assume a lack of competence. This may not be fair but it is what people do. So, as leaders, it is important for us to not only feel confident, but also aim to project confidence. Obviously, confidence and competence together is the ultimate goal, but many leaders have more than enough competence — what they lack is confidence, and it is this area they need to work on. Many things can cause a lack of confidence, and I explore a few instances in this chapter.
I have always believed that confidence is like a muscle. You need to keep working at it on a regular basis to keep it strong and, if you want to get stronger, you need to lift heavier weights. ...