Confidence is a funny thing. Most of the time when we think we have it, we don’t. I’ve been feeling confident lately. This worries me. It feels good, but it doesn’t feel right.
No matter how excited I might be about an idea, confidence only comes when I manage to align my energy, potential and skills with an outcome. Until there’s a clear plan, it’s all just bravado.
There’s nothing wrong with that; bravado is what happens when you allow yourself to believe that you can do something. Confidence comes from doing the work needed to figure out how. I don’t discount the first stage but it doesn’t matter much without the second.
The truth is that I know. I may not say it to anyone, I may not even be able to admit it to myself, but I know when my confidence is real and when I’m still just trying to pump myself up. The problem is that I often try to see just how far my bravado can take me. I let myself believe that – if I work hard enough – I can will my way to the objective.
I even have some experience to back this up. I mean, I’ve pulled off my fair share of last minute sprints and all nighters in my day. I’ve accomplished more than we thought was possible when the pressure was on. It’s possible, but it’s almost always temporary. It’s a short-term mentality that derails almost any long-term ambition.
Anyone can sprint, only the prepared can run a marathon. Bravado burns out. Confidence lasts.
I have a few big rocks that I’m trying to smash – I even think I have the skills to make that happen – but something is off. I’m doing work, but it’s all over the place. I’ve been getting myself ready, I’ve been building up that early bravado and using it to make progress. That’s fine, but it’s not going I get me where I want to go.
When you feeling confident, you’re probably not. When you’re too busy working on and executing your plan to even think about this, you most certainly are.
Excuse me, I think I have some planning to do…
Note: This post was written late last week before a very thorough review and a few days of targeted cleanup. It’s amazing how – even in a matter of days – having a process for clarifying your plans and clearing your head can get you out of the weeds and back on the right path.