What’s the biggest confidence-drainer for managers, leaders and business owners?

Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear.   Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Confidence comes from taking action

Most of us have this confidence thing backwards.  We think that before we take an action, we need to first feel confident about it.  But that’s just not how confidence works.

Ask any writer.  When a writer sits down at a blank page, they don’t wait for inspiration before capturing words on paper or screen.  They start to write, knowing that eventually the inspiration and confidence will come.

Confidence is a by-product

Confidence is a by-product of taking action in the face of doubt and uncertainty.  So if you want to be confident, you need to “go out and get busy.”

Here are 2 key habits that will allow you to take more action and develop your self-confident leadership.

1.       Start making more decisions, faster

Do you stare at restaurant menus and take forever to decide what to eat?  When you’re spending too much time making decisions, you’re taking away time that you could be taking action and building the confidence you’re looking for.

If decision-making is something you agonise over, decide right now to make more decisions, faster.  Start with decisions that have little consequence if you were to get them wrong, such as choosing that meal from the menu.  Then work your way up to more important decisions.  You’ll develop a new habit of making quick decisions and you’ll free up your time to get even more accomplished – confidently.

2.       Get out of your head

There’s a time and a place to be in your head, to be in that thinking, analytical space.  But that time is not when you need to take action after the decision has been made.  The voices in your head will be trying to protect you by anticipating all the things that can go wrong (and if you’re into self-sabotage, they will tell you why you aren’t capable of handling things).  Being in your head after you’ve made the decision results in confidence-draining procrastination and delay.

The antidote is to get out of your head and into your body, and it’s a lot simpler than it seems.  Here’s a simple technique to try.  Focus on your hands.  Look at them now.  Put all of your attention on your hands.  Keep doing this until you feel a warmth or tingling in your hands.  Now notice that those voices in your head are quiet.  Now you can take action.

From now on

So next time you tell yourself that the reason you’re not taking action on something is that you don’t feel confident about it, flip the equation.  Take action first, and allow your confidence to build.