Mindset Mondays: Confidence

Mindset Mondays: Confidence

June 10, 2024

Stoic Quote

"Our lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence."

Seneca

Concept: Confidence

Confidence. It's the big one, isn't it? It's the difference between stepping up and stepping aside. In fact, a whopping 37% of Team Rokman members cited a lack of confidence as their biggest barrier to starting training. Add to that the 25% who fear being judged and the 24% terrified of failure, and you've got a recipe for inaction.

But here's the kicker: if we can maximise our confidence, we can increase our chances of success. When we're more confident, we're more willing to give it our all (Bandura & Locke, 2003). And let's face it, who doesn't want a bit of that?

Confidence is a powerful emotional state. According to Woodman & Hardy (2003), the positive effects of confidence are twice as powerful as the negative effects of anxiety. So, it's worth working on, right?

At its core, confidence is our self-belief—how much we believe we'll succeed. But it's not just a simple case of thinking you can. Confidence is a complex beast, made up of self-confidence and environmental confidence. It's about believing in yourself and in the situation you're operating in, and when you combine these, you get sport-confidence.

There are a few key sources of confidence:

  1. Achievement: This one's straightforward—success breeds confidence. Building a stack of undeniable evidence that you're capable of achievement is crucial. Obviously, when starting something new, this area of confidence might be a bit low.

  2. Self-regulation: Emotional regulation is key. Too much or too little arousal can negatively affect your decision-making ability. You've got to find that sweet spot where you're comfortably in control.

  3. Preparation/Vicarious Experience: Prior research, planning and preparation can take the sting out of challenges. 

  4. Social Climate: The environment you're in—your coach, your team, and even verbal encouragement—can all contribute to how confident you feel.

Take my latest challenge, for instance. I've set myself the task of completing the South Wales 3 Peaks this coming Saturday. It's 21 miles up and over the three peaks in Abergavenny. To be honest, I'm not exactly looking forward to it. My preparation hasn't been ideal. I've missed those big, long runs needed to build the endurance in my legs. But here's where my stack of evidence comes into play. I've tackled challenges like this before, and I know I've got the grit to grind it out, no matter how tough it gets. This confidence has been built over years of experience—success breeds confidence.

So, next time you're doubting yourself, remember that confidence is built step by step, challenge by challenge. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

Three Practical Tips to Increase Your Confidence

  1. Build experience: The foundation of confidence lies in experience, so start small and gradually take on bigger challenges. Set incremental goals that are slightly challenging but achievable, as each success will build your confidence and prepare you for more significant tasks. Regular practice is essential, so make it a habit to engage in activities that build your skills consistently over time, leading to mastery and increased confidence. Don’t fear failure; each mistake is an opportunity to learn and improve. Reflect on what went wrong, adjust your approach, and try again, as this iterative process will build both competence and confidence.

  2. Plan and prepare: Adequate preparation can significantly boost your confidence, as knowing you’ve done everything possible to prepare will help you feel more ready to tackle challenges. Create a structured plan by breaking your goal down into smaller, manageable steps with specific milestones, making the goal seem less daunting and providing a clear roadmap to follow. Arm yourself with as much information as possible to reduce uncertainty and increase confidence, whether it’s through reading, watching tutorials, or seeking expert advice. Whenever possible, practice under realistic conditions to simulate the environment you’ll face, as familiarity breeds confidence.

  3. Social Support: Surrounding yourself with supportive people can significantly enhance your confidence, as positive reinforcement from others validates your efforts and boosts your self-belief. Seek guidance from a mentor who has experience in your area of interest, as they can provide valuable insights, encouragement, and constructive feedback to help you navigate challenges more effectively. Join a community with similar goals, whether it’s a sports team, study group, or online forum, as sharing experiences and advice with others can build your confidence and keep you accountable.

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