“confidence and awareness are intrinsically linked”
There are many solutions on offer that focus either directly on increasing confidence by reinforcing positive thoughts and tools that can make you more self-aware. For me, confidence and awareness are intrinsically linked and if we can simply understand the link you can operate with higher levels of both.
The interesting thing is that I feel you have to start with greater self-awareness in order to grow your confidence authentically. If you just work on being more confident using a method that worked for someone else, there is a high chance you will be masking your new found confidence. The issue here is that at the next real hurdle you are likely to revert back (mask falls off) to your initial level of lower confidence.
So how does someone become more self-aware? Some people are naturally more self-aware and find it easily to establish where their natural traits impact their behaviour positively or negatively. Based on the last 10 years of my own coaching engagements, I estimate that a maximum of 10% of the people I meet, have naturally accurate levels of self-awareness. So what is there out there for the other 90% of us?
“the whole point of personality assessment is that we identify what makes us different”
It will be obvious for me to say that I believe the personality assessment we developed over the last 20 years at i3 is the best at heightening self-awareness but I really do know that one of our 2 key focus points is to increase self-awareness (the other is to increase self-confidence). Whatever tool you choose, I recommend going for an assessment that delivers trait based feedback rather than type based results (putting you in a group). The only reason I say that is because you tend to get categorised in type based assessments and the whole point of personality assessment is that we identify what makes us different and not necessarily the same. This again is about authenticity rather than copying what works for someone similar but not exactly you.
“most of our mind-set, be it positive or negative is a choice”
When a person (who is naturally less self-aware) understands in layman terms how their own unique make-up of traits impacts how they behave, how they are seen by others and how they interact with people, they begin to understand the pathways of their decision making. You see most of our mind-set, be it positive or negative is a choice we make part way through the decision making process subconsciously. So when someone starts to understand why people see them in a different light to the way they want people to see them it is very powerful. They start to see how a simple choice early in the decision making process to see things differently can make a huge difference in outcomes.
Here is a simple example – Say I helped a client (we will call him Robert) identify that one of his more dominant traits, makes him sensitive to the needs of others, often over his own needs. Robert is always looking to provide emotional support to people and avoiding conflict wherever possible. At the same time one of his least notable traits may be paying attention to facts or more objective information, he just make subjective, heart based calls all the time. So when Robert comes across a person who is distressed, his decision pathway goes straight to shutting out everything else around him and focussing on the person in need. Now if Robert is in a positon where he provides care and needs to be overly attentive to a customer’s needs then this decision pathway is perfect. However, if he has a role that requires him to get a set amount of tasks done (for his manager) and then get home to his partner (who he really cares about) by a certain time, he will be having problems. You see his desire is to avoid conflict and provide care to people, especially those close to him. What will play out in reality is that his manager will get frustrated (potential conflict) and their partner will feel unloved. The manager won’t understand why Robert is always distracted by irrelevant people issues and never get his tasks done on time. His partner will have Robert getting home late because he was helping out someone who in the partners’ eyes is irrelevant. Now Robert is just being himself (low in self-awareness) and the resulting lack of understanding and arguments all seeps away Robert’s confidence!
This type of example is really common. The great news is that once a person like Robert understands that the heartfelt decisions he makes daily, impacts the people he care about negatively, he will start to adjust his choices during his decision making pathway. His choices will get immediate results in how his manager and partner react to him and he grows in confidence. The most important thing is that he has just learned more about himself and his confidence is authentic. The more people work on the self-awareness part, the more natural their confidence becomes and the longer lasting it is too.
So as a conclusion, I believe that if you can understand more about yourself, acknowledge where others are coming from and make choices that lead to more positive outcomes, your confidence will grow as a consequence. The link is unquestionable.