A thought hit me like lightning recently. I lack confidence.
My brain raced through the scenarios where this is true.
I lack confidence in:
Playing soccer (where this idea really hit home)
Being a good husband
Creating lasting and meaningful relationships
And so much more
Your Lack Of Confidence Is Disturbing
At least I hope your lack of confidence is disturbing. My lack of confidence disturbs, no, wait… This lack of belief in myself scares me.
As it should.
I discovered my lack of confidence in my abilities fully on the soccer field, of all places.
I can play defense well. I can do man-to-man coverage and do a decent job of keeping my man out of the goal.
However, where I lack confidence in my soccer game is offense.
Whenever the ball comes to me, I freeze. Like I can’t move and I don’t know what to do.
My head goes side to side. I look for an opening. I can’t see any play to make.
Then the opponents take the ball and move towards their goal.
This is humiliating! I should know how to move the ball forward. Actually, I do. But I lack the confidence to do so effectively.
I’ve faced similar situations in my marriage and my career and my friendships. I know the right things to do. I don’t have faith in my ability to do so.
Not only does this impact me. This impacts those around.
My soccer teammates can’t trust me with the ball. My spouse can’t always trust me to do what I need to in our marriage. And the list goes on and on.
And this damages my leadership.
I love how Brian Williamson sums this up –
Some of you are undermining your influence not because you lack competence, but because you lack confidence in your competence. Step up now!
How To Increase Your Confidence As A Leader
I’m slowly working on improving my confidence in soccer. So far, the tactics to increase my confidence could apply to you in your business or personal life. Let’s take a look at what it takes to increase your confidence.
Get the advice of others: I never played soccer growing up. Heck, I never played soccer until I was over 30 years old.
And I never watched soccer on TV or in person. Soccer wasn’t of interest to me so I didn’t know the rules of the game.
That meant I had to ask someone for help.
I approached other members of my team to ask their advice on the rules of the games and how to improve my skills. This took courage to put myself out there but doing so has helped out tremendously.
Are you willing to go to those wiser than you and ask for their help? If you do this, you’re guaranteed to get some wise words of wisdom that will help you gain confidence.
Practice the right skills: There were soccer skills I knew how to do. I could defend the goal by watching the opposite team and watching where they were going. I had an instinct on where to move and where the ball was going.
I didn’t have the skills to move the ball forward. Over and over again, I would fail.
Getting the ball downfield was the skill that I needed to practice. By practicing getting the ball in front of me and then moving it towards the goal, I was able to feel more confident that I could do this.
Are there skills you’re lacking in or that you don’t feel confident in? Begin practicing those skills that you don’t feel are strong.
Doing this goes against the common advice of practicing your strengths. However, I’ve found practicing in your weakness can help boost your confidence.
Watch the professionals: We can be honest here, my teammates aren’t soccer pros. We’re just a bunch of 30+ year old men who want to get out and have some fun kicking around a soccer ball. And, we want to win a game or two.
Watching and talking to these guys will only get me so far. Observing how they play soccer has helped me improve my game and confidence. Yet that will only get me so far.
To gain even more confidence, I needed to watch semi-pros and professionals play the game of soccer.
Luckily, we have a semi-professional soccer team in Muskegon called the Muskegon Risers. I can go to their games and watch them play. By watching them, I can see new tactics and tricks to improve my offensive soccer game.
Who’s a professional you can watch? What do you need to learn from them and how can you observe the work they do?
Remember your wins: There’s been a few successes in my soccer playing. I’ve moved the ball downfield a time or two and it felt good. Until I froze.
But I still had success. And I can count those towards my wins.
You’ve had success as a leader. You know it, you may not remember it though.
Tally those wins. Keep a running checklist of the times you’ve succeeded as a leader. There’ s a lot of success you’ve had.
Have that list of wins handy. Your list of wins will help remind you that you’re making progress and you can have confidence in what you’re doing.
Lacking confidence as a leader can kill your effectiveness. You have got to get your confidence under control and know that you have what it takes to be a great leader.