Does clarity create confidence? (or vice versa)?

Thinking. Girl solving a problem.

Lacking a life vision or purpose, can be at least unsettling. However, if you have a direction that you aren’t completely confident about, that is equally terrifying, perhaps even paralyzing.

Do you have a job that you really don’t like – even hate? I bet it challenges your confidence and you know it. But like many people, you may be justifying it with thoughts such as: “it’s a means to an end”, “I’m good at it”, “it’s just what I do”, or “it pays well”. Maybe you’ve considered changing jobs or want to go into something totally different? What holds you back?

Are you worried you will be wasting all your years of achievements and effort? Worried a change makes you less senior, less respected, less comfortable? This self-talk is triggered by the fear of failure. It kicks our confidence and winds up sending fear-based neural signals into our brain stems that not only stimulate stress hormones and neurotransmitters, but the negativity wins the neuro tug-of-war with our prefrontal cortex executive functions – where all our logical, rational thinking happens. We then only react and “feel” the career-crushing, financially-fatal mistake this career change could make instead of the potentially rewarding and fun career you actually desire.

Having Impact Doesn’t Require Having Purpose

So what’s worse? Wasting your time and energy doing something safe and soul-stripping – OR – the possibility of failing? Hello!? Reality check! Life isn’t something you can control – even with something you have experience with. Layoffs, buyouts, bullies, bad bosses, family needs, health problems, and, and, and – all make even seemingly safe jobs unpredictable and potentially devastating. The constant requirements to a ‘successful life’ are your health, integrity, relationships and happiness. Those you can more consistently control.

Truthfully, most types of change freak everyone out simply because change means unpredictability – and that fear triggers our reptilian brain to protect us from uncertain outcomes. Some of us fight, others flee. In both cases, we don’t ‘think’ – we react which halts our higher brain, executive calm thinking. Our “fight or flight” reaction prevents us from considering smart questions such as: “What’s the worst that can happen?” “If anyone can, why can’t I?” and “What can I do to make it more certain that I will succeed?”

Being self-confident isn’t about being certain about what you are or your direction despite what the dictionary would have us think. It’s about being certain of your values, who you are and how you want to be perceived as a person. Confident people act in accordance to those beliefs so they have trust and have pride in themselves. Only then, others will too. Being confident has nothing to do with what you do for a living or even what you fill your life doing. Confidence is a keen awareness and mindful actions based on who you want to be – and being able to control that no matter what life throws you.

Life as a Laboratory

“I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

Try this: think of your life as a laboratory. Use this mindset when you try new things so that your failures become milestones towards achieving desired results. Allow yourself to be scared and uncertain but excited and eager to try – that is real confidence! It is what enables high performance and the zone or flow that results from the perfect mind-body/brain-behavior connection.

Don’t let a lack of vision or purpose control your confidence. YOU can control your confidence by asking questions such as the ones above; and that fuels clarity and cause – not the other way around. Consider that y Everyone’s ultimate human purpose is to be a happy, confident person. Aim for that and all else becomes much more possible and probable.

Alyssa Dver
Cheif Confidence Officer

American Confidence Institute