Today I am going to do my best to answer whether confidence is power. We will look at the relationship between confidence and power. We will dig into whether an absence of confidence results in a loss of power or an absence of power results in a loss of confidence. Is there a balance?
The question takes me back to a moment when my confidence was shattered. “I am not sure I know what to do with this” I whispered to myself. Having just learned of my being betrayed, I was flooded with emotion. Yes, my partner had been cheating, and I was hurt, enraged, and felt a tremendous loss of confidence. I felt powerless.
Looking back at that moment now reminds me of how far I’ve come. By the end of this post, I hope you will have a firm understanding the relationship between power and confidence, and learn what you can do to reinstate your confidence when you are confronted with a situation where you feel that you have lost power and vice versa.
So is confidence power? Confidence isn’t power. It is proportional to power. Confidence increases as power increases. Confidence can set the stage for powerful action and living. Stated another way: Powerful action resulting in accomplishment produces confidence.
I’ll explain further, but hang on a sec. Let me get this out of the way.
You can take powerful action or be powerful without confidence.
When you take powerful action without confidence, you are operating with courage not necessarily confidence. I think it is important to make a few distinctions around what power is and what it isn’t; what confidence is and isn’t; and more importantly what you can do about it if you feel like you are in a situation in which you feel powerless or are lacking confidence.
Over the next couple of sections, I want to
What is power?
Let’s start with a definition. What is power? The dictionary tells us the following:
1. The ability to do something or act in a particular way…dictionary.com
2. The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
I think of “power” as potential energy. It is (work) capacity. Consider a powerful engine. We say it is powerful, but it isn’t powerful unless it can produce a measurable result.
A 400 horsepower car doesn’t have an engine with 400 HP unless it can produce it in real life.
You say you’ve got power? Prove it.
What power is, is potential energy.
What power isn’t is a label. We can say an engine has a 400hp capacity all we want, but it isn’t true until proven in action. It must be verifiable and tested. This will be important later as we make important distinctions about the types of results you are producing in your life.
What is confidence?
Now let’s take a look at confidence what it is and what it isn’t.
Confidence is:most useful definition from dictionary.com for our conversation
a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities
Confidence, more precisely self-confidence is believing that you are capable of dealing with any situation or circumstance that arises out of an action you take, even if the result is negative.
Self-confidence is said to ride on hope, efficacy, optimism and resilience. Further confidence is usually observed by a third party rather than experienced by the person taking action.
Here’s an example. Michael Phelps diving into the cold water at the Olympics most likely wasn’t questioning his confidence to swim against the others on his way to the gold. He was focused on performing his best. Confidence is usually the last thing on your mind when you are taking on a challenge. Rather in that moment, you are focused on the goal. Confidence was on display however. It’s the paradox of confidence.
It may be on display, and is most visible when it is furthest from the mind of the person displaying confidence.
Odd right? So if you lack confidence what can you do about it. There is so much you can do about it. I’ll unpack that in a moment, but just to wrap up here as to answer the question: is confidence power, let’s ask the question a different way.
Does self-assurance (arising from one’s appreciation in their ability) equal the capacity or potential to do something?
What do you think?
My answer – not exactly.
We see this on American Idol all the time. Someone is confident that they can sing, but their confidence outweighs their capacity to sing by miles, and we are left with our ears bleeding.
Courage, Capacity and Confidence: The perfect intersection
If you put a gun to my head and said, “Tell me what it takes to develop powerful living.” I’d be forced to give you I’d give you this recipe.
- Have courage and go for it
- Let the cards fall how they may (don’t be obsessed with the outcome.)
- Assess the results and get feedback.
This is the cycle that develops confidence and gives you power. You have to be on the court of life, trying and failing. This is how confidence is created.
Further, with each trial and error comes greater capacity. With capacity, your sense of self expands. Stated another way, courage gets you on the court. Practice increases capacity, and as capacity improves so does confidence
What can you do to set yourself up to take on life powerfully?
The biggest thing I have found that helps
Each time I take something from no this isn’t what I want to yes, this is what I want, I’m empowered. My sense of empowerment increases and with each win my sense of confidence increases.
So what did I do with restoring my own confidence after being betrayed? I started taking an MMA class. See the massive action I took there?
My thought was that if I can kick that girl’s you know what, I’d be able to reclaim my dignity.
The funniest thing happened though. Once I knew I could. I didn’t feel compelled anymore. The win I experienced in taking the action was enough.
She and I actually became friends in the end. The truth is. Had that all not happened, I wouldn’t have met my “soul mate” fallen in love and married that man of my dreams.
What is the difference between Confidence and Courage?
Confidence is faith in your ability to handle a positive or negative outcome of an action you take.
Courage however is experienced at the moment you confront fear or take an action where something could be lost. It is strength in the face of fear or pain.
What can you do to gain Confidence?
Stop worrying about whether you have confidence. Easier said than done, but I want to encourage you to shift your focus on something bigger than the questions of whether you are powerful or have confidence.
It is what will get you out there, taking action that will produce results. Results that will cause you to deal with them, increasing your experience and capacity to take on more.
Power and confidence are a self perpetuating fuel. Here’s how to gain more confidence.
What can you do to gain Courage?
Sorry Charlie, for this one, there is nothing to do it but to do it. You have to take action. Burn the boats at the shore and press forward. Some tips to psych yourself up to take on a
- Remind yourself that it’s OK if you fail.
- Don’t be attached to the outcome.
- Don’t let the outcome define you. It says nothing about your worth.
- Recognize that most things worth accomplishing have required courage.
- Get connected with what truly inspires you to take action.
- Make it about them not you.