“Selling is a transfer of confidence.” This is one of our favorite Q4i-isms.

But you don’t need to be exchanging a product or service for money to be selling. You could be selling an idea to a client or selling your capabilities to your teammates. We’re all persuading people to our way of thinking for one reason or another. And we’ll never win the “sale” if we’re not confident in what we’re selling.

Not many of us are born with bountiful confidence. But we can learn and earn it. Confidence comes from many different places, and to have the confidence we need to achieve our personal expectations and desires, we must tap into all the available sources.

Here are some definitions of confidence:

Skillsyouneed.com: “Confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance of your body and mind (your self-esteem), and belief in your own ability, skills, and experience.” 

Christy Glass, Ph.D., a sociologist at Utah State University, "suggests that confidence has to do with one’s inner perception of his or her ability to fulfill a particular job or role in society. To be sure, Glass also says that much, if not most, self-confidence is influenced by the world around us." Forbes

Neel Burton M.D., Psychology Today: “To be self-confident is to trust and have faith in oneself, and, in particular, in one’s ability or aptitude to engage successfully or at least adequately with the world.”

Our confidence lights the path to where we go, what opportunities we pursue, and how much we enjoy the experiences.

As Dr. Burton explains, “A self-confident person is able to act on opportunities, rise to new challenges, take control of difficult situations, engage with constructive criticism, and take responsibility if and when things go wrong.”

You’ve hit a wall

And things definitely go wrong sometimes. You know you’ve hit a boundary when your confidence can’t carry you further. The lighted path suddenly becomes dark, and you have to rethink what you’re doing.

Maybe you’ve not thought about it as a confidence boundary, but you know that feeling. It can be jolting. It may even feel like you’ve hit a wall.

What do you do when you reach that point? Sit fearfully and hope no one notices you doing nothing? Say a few choice words and give up? Or do you look for ways to bolster your confidence and move ahead?

As we read in the excerpts above, the answer likely depends on the circumstances of your skills and experiences, aptitude, or perceptions.

Confidence boundaries are the limits on what you can accomplish and how far you can take yourself. If you hold tight to those boundaries, you’ll stay right where you are today. Think about how this impacts your day-to-day.

  • If you want to earn more money but don’t feel capable of taking on new or additional responsibilities or pursuing larger clients, your boundaries will keep you from higher earnings.
  • Let’s say you want your team to buckle down and use the CRM you’ve invested in, but you’re concerned about making demands. Your boundaries will hold your company and the individual producers back from realizing their potential.
  • Maybe you want to have a more robust marketing presence, but you’re afraid to put your voice out in public and take a stand with your opinions. You’ll struggle to develop the presence you need to proactively influence the pipeline.
  • Perhaps it’s become apparent that you need to let someone go or reorganize teams or processes. The pushback and emotional burden may feel daunting, but without making the changes, you’ll perpetuate an unhealthy or unproductive environment and may eventually lose the respect of your team.

Replace boundaries with courage

When faced with these daunting boundaries, another option is to take a deep breath and say, “This needs to get done, and a person in my position (or the position I aspire to) stands up and makes this happen. They do the jobs that need to get done, not just the jobs they want to do.”

Dr. Burton eloquently explains that “In the absence of confidence, courage takes over. Confidence operates in the realm of the known, courage in the realm of the unknown, the uncertain, and the fearsome.”

Sometimes we need to dig deep into our courage to take the steps we know we need to take but don’t necessarily want to.

The good news is that empowerment and thriving are usually on the other side of the confidence boundary, and you’ll find yourself in new places with new experiences, new opportunities, and new boundaries.

What are the difficult things you need to face up to?

Photo by flynt.