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Confidence vs. Self-Confidence

My favorite podcast series to listen to is The Life Coach School by Brooke Castillo; primarily because she blows my mind episode after episode! She covers such a wide range of topics that I’m never left disappointed no matter the content she covers.

I recently listed to episode 167 on Self Confidence and Brooke talked about something I have never really thought about; the difference between self-confidence and confidence. Before listening to this episode, I would have defined them both as the same. My simple definition would have been "A belief in one’s ability".

However, what Brooke helped me see is that my definition was slightly off. Let me break it down this way.

Confidence is the belief in one’s ability. I had that right. Confidence typically comes from our past experiences. For instance, I have confidence in my ability to create training programs. That confidence comes from many years of experience, feedback, and my own interpretation of my skills. Given that confidence, it tends to be easy for me to sit down and develop any kind of training program and rarely do I question that ability. My experience has led to my belief that it is something I can do and do with great skill.

Now self-confidence is a bit different. Self-confidence is more about the belief in one’s self. It’s not based on past experiences. It’s based on your belief that you can manage your emotions in whatever situation you are in. For instance, I had never started my own business when I set out to create Amazing Grace Development. I had no past experiences to provide me with the confidence to do this. What I did have, however, was a belief in myself. A belief that no matter how difficult it would be, no matter what challenges I would face, I had confidence in myself to be able to manage the emotions that would arise from the challenges.

Once I realized the difference I started asking myself, how do you get self-confidence if you don’t have it. If confidence is based on experiences and self-confidence is based on your beliefs, how do you gain the belief without the experiences. I was noodling that around for some time; believe you me! I finally realized all I needed to do is focus my thoughts more on my abilities to manage my thoughts and feelings and less on the experiences that would provide me the confidence. For instance, I had no experience in starting my own company. But I had a firm belief that I could manage any feelings of self-doubt. I knew that even when I failed at some aspect of the business that I could turn that into a growth opportunity. I firmly believed that even when I was scared I could look that fear in the face and still move forward. I had the self-confidence to face whatever emotion came my way and still move thru it.

That is self-confidence. Plain and simple.

If you are questioning your self-confidence, I challenge you do things that you are afraid to do. Things that scare you and make you want to run the other direction screaming. Not to build the experience, but to build the “muscle” of self-confidence when you discover that you are able to manage your emotions all the way thru the experience.


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