Have you ever been frustrated by this scenario?
You work hard, to put out high quality work every chance you get. But even with all the effort you put in, the person who always seems to get ahead is the one who talks a good game, and is confident in their abilities, while the condition of what they produce pales in comparison to what you do. No bueno.
Why do stories like this play out over and over again?
In doing extensive research for their book, The Confidence Code, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman found an answer that may be troubling to some:
"Perhaps most striking of all, we found that success correlates more closely with confidence than it does with competence. Yes, there is evidence that confidence is more important than ability when it comes to getting ahead."
Being confident is essential to your success.
If you're someone who never feels like you can walk into a place and own the room, don't worry. There is good news here. The data shows you can indeed significantly increase your confidence, and it doesn't involve telling yourself over and over again how amazing you are.
You just have to be willing to put the work in the right areas.
A proven blueprint to increase both your confidence and competence
No matter how confident you feel at the moment, there are deliberate actions you can take to grow it. Here's Kay and Shipman again on the topic:
"And so fortunately, a substantial part of the confidence code is what psychologists call volitional: our choice. With diligent effort, we can all choose to expand our confidence. But we will get there if we stop trying to be perfect and start being prepared to fail."
Take action. Fail fast. Adjust. Repeat.
These aren't new concepts. You hear them touted by some of the most successful entrepreneurs over and over again.
But as more data comes out proving that taking action and failing frequently are cornerstones of your success, it starts to paint a more complete picture as to why. The process leads to mastery.
The greater degree of mastery you obtain, the more your confidence builds. The more your confidence builds, the more action you take. The more action you take, the more you learn about how to thrive.
Here's James Dyson, founder of the billion dollar vacuum company echoing how this principle led him to his breakthrough:
"There are countless times an inventor can give up on an idea. By the time I made my 15th prototype, my third child was born. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my wife was getting art lessons for some extra cash. There were tough times, but each failure brought me closer to solving the problem. It wasn't the final prototype that made the struggle worth it. The process bore the fruit. I just kept at it."
Ask any star athlete, and they've gone through the same process. They've put in countless hours on the practice field honing their skills. What we see in their matches is the result of an unspeakable amount of failures and deliberate practice.
All that work behind the scenes produced a confidence that is supported by both their abilities and drive to win.
The same can exist for you.
To build the business you dream of, you've got to be confident enough to dare to shake up an antiquated industry, because you know it can work better. You've got to be confident enough to ask for the business, because you know you can create a transformation. You've got to be confident enough to get back up to try again after falling a million times, because you know you are closer than ever to reaching your goal.
And it all happens as a result of taking action. Consistently. And knowing that even if you fail, you will be in a better position than when you first started. A much more confident one.