When I started this post two weeks ago, I originally titled it, Fear Is Doubt. I knew it was wrong, but the initial wrong-ness eventually led me to the conclusion I intended. Let me explain. If you look up doubt in the dictionary you will find three definitions: 1) to call into question the truth of 2) to lack confidence in 3) Fear. What does every successful coach, trainer, influencer, or business leader focus on actively cultivating in their players/teams/employees? Confidence. Period. Hard stop. Lack of confidence is the singular most destructive force to performance. Fear may be doubt, but not all fears are destructive. Everyone fears and fear can be the needed catalyst to peak performance, even greatness. But doubt, to lack confidence, is a state that no one can afford.
I am going to take a moment for some real talk. I believe framing confidence is difficult. It’s difficult for people to visualize, and even more difficult for people to operationalize it in their daily lives. An argument I have often heard in framing confidence is to not let confidence become arrogance. Here’s another definition for you. Look-up arrogance in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. You know what word is not used to describe arrogance? That’s right, confidence. Being confident does not lead to arrogance. Arrogance leads to arrogance. And just because it’s difficult to visualize, conceptualize, or operationalize, it does not mean it’s impossible. Everything of any difficulty is worthy of the time it takes to excel at it, and confidence is no different.
Ok, so what does Merriam-Webster have to say about confidence? Two of the three definitions for confidence specifically mention one word: success. That’s right confidence leads to success. Each of us is trying to succeed. What success looks like to you may be completely alien to me. But success, nonetheless, is what we are chasing. And the key ingredient to success is being confident. So how do we step out of our respective comfort zones and cultivate the confidence we need to be successful. I’m sorry, but there isn’t an easy button. There is no magic formula. Finding and building your own confidence, and subsequently your own success, is your own journey. But I offer some things to keep in mind. Fear is important, but don’t let fear develop and grow into doubt. Remember, fear can be doubt, but doubt IS ALWAYS fear. Remember that your journey is not necessarily on a strictly positive slope, and your journey isn’t just a two-dimensional graph of progress. We can more easily control two-dimensions, so we use the two-dimensional space to define what we do. That strategy can be useful, but it is fundamentally flawed. We are far more than a grade on a paper, the plotted line of individual successes and failures, or a list of achievements. We are able to imagine, to visualize. And when we use the power of those thoughts, we can achieve greatness. To me, that’s incredible to think about. We WILL our success into being. That makes us all strong. That makes us all warriors. Remember that the next time you doubt yourself.
Conceptualize your goals. Visualize your success. Operationalize your own confidence. Doubt is not just a mind killer, but a success killer. Fear may be a natural part of stepping outside your comfort zone, but doubt has no place in your journey. Dispel doubt. BE confident.
Strength and honor my friends, strength and honor.