Build Confidence with Competence

Confidence and competence are crucial to success in whatever your goal may be. The more competence you have, the more confident you are that you can complete the challenge before you. But which comes first–confidence or competence?

Build Confidence with Competence

Confidence is a state of mind. It is the belief that you have the ability to move forward with the task at hand. It is trusting yourself to handle a situation well, regardless of the outcome. Competence, on the other hand, is the actual ability to do something successfully.

When you are competent at something, it is easy to be confident. However, being confident in your ability to learn and grow, empowers you to develop competence. The relationship of confidence to competence is much like the relationship of success to confidence, which I discussed in last week’s post. It is a spiral that starts with confidence, which leads to competence, which leads to more confidence and so on. In other words, you need some modicum of confidence in yourself to start the journey to competence, and the milestones you reach along the way improve your confidence.

Once you are on that path and have a combination of both confidence and competence, you become nearly unstoppable. You communicate strength and engender trust that you can handle the situation. And, of course, this trust that others place in you gives a good boost to your confidence, as well.

Ascend the Confidence-Competence Spiral

How do you begin your ascent up the spiral of confidence and competence? If you don’t feel confident in your ability to begin the journey, you must start with a leap of faith. Take that first baby step. And make that baby step something that gives you a relatively easy win.

For example, let’s say you want to become a decent speaker, but are afraid of speaking in front of a group. Choose an end goal, an accomplishment that will illustrate that you have become a decent speaker in some way, however small. Then backtrack the milestones you need to reach to get there. Creating a baby-step-by-baby-step plan empowers you to develop competence slowly and surely. You experience one success after another, and before you know it you are confident in your speaking skills.

Your initial plan could look something like this:

    End goal: Present my 2-minute elevator speech at a networking meeting clearly and audibly.
    (This is a clearly defined goal that you can measure.)

    1. Write an elevator speech that I feel good about
    2. Practice the elevator speech in front of a mirror until I feel confident that I can remember it and say it smoothly.
    3. Video record myself giving the elevator speech. Find ways to improve it further and record it again.
    4. Practice the elevator speech in front of a trusted friend or colleague who will give me sound advice for improving it.
    5. Go to a networking meeting and give the elevator speech, while recording it on my phone.
    6. Review that recording and determine how well I did and what I can do to improve it.
    7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until I reach my end goal.
    8. Develop my next goal.

Can you see how the early steps provide you with fairly easy wins? It is important to build easy wins into the early part of your plan so that you can start building your confidence early on. Also, this plan breaks down a competence in giving an elevator speech into simple, relatively easy steps. Both confidence and competence are developed in small, non-overwhelming steps.

What does it look like when you are confident and competent?

What are the hallmarks of someone who is both confident and competent?

  • You face challenges with enthusiasm and determination to succeed
  • You view “failures” and “mistakes” as learning experiences
  • You see challenges as opportunities

These are aspects of having a growth mindset. For some, having a growth mindset comes naturally. They are prone to see the cup half full rather than half empty and are confident that if they don’t do something well now, they can put in the effort and do it well eventually.

For others, they have become fixed and are more likely to see challenges as proof of their incompetence. If this is you, you will need to work on transforming your mindset from fixed to mixed to growth. That could fill up an entire program, let alone a blog post. So, I leave you with some suggested reading that can start you on that path.

Mindset by Carol Dweck

This is the book that started it all. Dr. Dweck’s research uncovered how powerful mindset can be in a learning situation. This book will give you a good foundation on the growth mindset concept.

The Growth Mindset by Joshua Moore and Helen Glasgow

This book gives practical strategies you can use to develop a growth mindset as a professional.

Mindset by Benjamin Smith

Grit is a concept that is related to growth mindset. This book will provide you with insights for improving your mindset and grit.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

This book approaches the idea of growth mindset from another angle, using the term “positive mindset” instead.


Would you like some help on your Journey to Self Confidence?

If you want to change your life, achieve the level of success you want, and join the ranks of the world’s respected and top achievers…you need to not only build your confidence but have a system to help you build it back when it inevitably takes a hit.

I’ve developed a program that will help you develop your own customized confidence toolkit that will empower you to boost your confidence whenever you need to. The program is called The Journey to Self Confidence and will begin in January. At that time, I will work through this program with a select group of Founders Members.

To make sure these early adopters of The Journey to Self-Confidence receive the best service, I am hand-selecting no more than 20 people to personally guide through this program. If you would like to apply to be one of these Founders Members, you will need to get on the phone with me.

Learn more about the program here.

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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.