“Lacking confidence” is a phrase stamped on assessments and appraisals quite frequently.
It’s possibly a misdirection and it’s hobbling us. If you tell someone they lack confidence- or seem to – they often believe you. They’ve heard that their whole life. You may have as well. And what’s familiar, feels right. But that’s a huge lift. Getting more confident, finding confidence – yikes.
Let’s reframe lack of confidence: let’s say, you really are only lacking comfort in a certain situation.
Why do we so readily grab on to the fact that we lack confidence?
Initially, in looking at this perspective, I assumed it was going to show up more on intake surveys of female clients. But that isn’t the case. It’s across the board — people accepting that they lack confidence because someone said it to them in relationship to the way they show up or speak or lead a meeting means they lack confidence. Reframe: How about it shows they may be uncomfortable and that they lack a few tools and techniques that can help?
Confidence can be a head game and quite discouraging.
Comfort can be a technique game and you can learn communication techniques that allow you to be more comfortable.
Many of us were full of joy and confidence when we were little – maybe 5 or 6 – we could be anything. We were joyously confident and comfortable – not arrogant.
Did we truly lose confidence as we moved through adolescence or did we simply get less comfortable?
If we believe we are lacking in confidence it seems to be self-perpetuating – a powerful snowball situation.
Why not say to ourselves – or others – “I’m lacking comfort in this particular situation – I’m still confident and competent – just not comfortable.” Yes, it’s only wording, and yet, words are powerful.
We have seen so many people light up with this reframe! Bright, talented, successful folks who have accepted and sunk under the weight that they lack confidence, are now investing valuable time in reclaiming their confidence, when suddenly they are reminded that they already are confident.
Reframe is a relief. It rings true. Yes, they are confident and excellent at what they do. They simply are in a variety of situations that are new and different and uncomfortable.
What mileage do we get out of equating comfort and confidence? Truly, I’m asking.
You can equate them. You can substitute them for each other.
Your choice. We suggest it’s simpler to reframe your “lack of confidence” to a “lack of comfort.” Seek out the tools that free you to be more comfortable communicating in a variety of situations – and accept that some situations do feel odd and uncomfortable and you can still rock your confidence and competence.
Written by Hilary Blair