You don't have to be incompetent to lack confidence. Even the most experienced and talented people can experience a confidence crisis. Even at 50 years old, there are days where I feel like I don't have what it takes to solve a problem, write a great column, or impress an audience.
There are lots of negative factors at work. It doesn't take much mental manipulation to psych yourself into feeling inadequate for the tasks ahead. Many people are good at covering up their confidence crisis as is required for most of the workday; they simply find a way to push on and get past it. But there is no substitution for having solid confidence. You perform better and are happier about it as well.
Next time you have a crisis of confidence, try these remedies to gain back your power.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
It may be a task or project you have completed a thousand times, yet this time feels different and somehow it seems near impossible. This is the time to go back to basics. Break down the steps in the task and practice completing the parts with which you are comfortable. Get your self in the zone of owning and mastering the basic skills required. It could take 5 minutes or 5 hours but sooner or later your memory will kick in and you'll be back on track.
2. Teach somebody else.
Sometimes people do things so long it becomes reflexive. One way to gain back confidence is to explain it to someone else. You'll have to deconstruct the process into small linear tasks. The very act of thinking through the process and articulating it intelligently will be an apt reminder that you actually know what the heck you're doing.
3. Do some homework.
Often a lack of confidence comes from recognizing your own ignorance in a subject. The easiest way to solve that problem fast is to do some research. Forget the casual assumptions. Do some quick searches and reading to shore up your knowledge and within an hour you'll feel back in command of the topic.
4. Get friendly support.
Sometimes your confidence goes shallow due to a foul mood or external emotional events. This is a great time to tap into the warmth of a friendship or admirer. Let this person remind you of your strengths and the value you bring to the world. Few won't benefit from hearing words of encouragement from people who care.
5. Get unfriendly support.
Perhaps you are in that dark place that even words of encouragement won't help. Sometimes it takes the harsh, cold voice of consequence and fact to snap you out of the funk and remind you of who you are. It's the engaged critic in your life who can bluntly show you that confidence is a choice and remind you of the need to follow through.
6. State some affirmations.
When outside forces have seemingly little impact, you may need to turn to the only person that really matters... you. Find some private space to meditate and get your thoughts going the right way. Use positive affirmations like these to get back on track. Only you know what really makes you tick. By being your own best coach you'll have the added confidence boost that comes with self-sufficiency.
7. Commit fully.
If none of these techniques seems to fill you up with the necessary confidence to take on the task, perhaps it's because you just aren't into it. Reexamine the project in front of you and remind yourself of the stakes at hand. Make a conscious decision to go two feet in or just abort and move on to something worthy of your passion. You don't have to be good at everything, but you have to be confidently committed to anything at which you intend to excel.