The dictionary definition of confidence is:
the quality of being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans or the future.
Being certain in your abilities. That’s quite a statement as can we ever have complete certainty in what we do and do we, in fact, really need to?
I believe that striving for certainty can actually stifle us and make us more risk-averse. This aversion then leads us to be fearful of change, which in turn means we stick with what we know, even if it's not right for us.
For example, if we know we need to leave our current job but we’re holding back because we’re not certain of whether the next role will be the right move, then we’ll enter a state of inertia, unable to move forward. And we’ll never find that elusive certainty... There are no guarantees that the next move will be the right one, so how will we know unless we try?
If we can open our minds to the possibility that the unknown can bring us new opportunities then confidence and self-belief will naturally follow.
As you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change.
— Eckhart Tolle, 'A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose'
Here are my top three tips for getting comfortable with uncertainty:
1) Understand why you want to do something or make a change
The 'why' gives you something tangible to hang your hat on. When I was in marketing, when we discussed campaign ideas, I always used to ask ‘Why will our customers care? What’s in it for them?’
2) Open your mind to what if?
What if the next role is the best professional decision I ever make? What if I meet someone who could really help my business if I attend that event? What if I nail that interview?
3) Be intentional
Take a considered approach to choices and decisions. Find out everything you need to know. Ask questions, including of yourself. Then make an intentional choice or decision that you have confidence in because you’ve taken the time to really think about it.
Ayesha Murray is an EMCC accredited career and work life balance coach supporting working parents to create unshakeable self-belief in order to thrive in their careers and at home.