Written by Kathy Fauble, M.Ed., Director, Professional Education Services September 28, 2021

It’s hard to try something new. No one likes the thought of failing, so we are tentative and shy away from challenges. But if you put yourself out there and try, you get better and you become more confident. That’s what psychologists call the confidence-competence loop. You need one to have the other, but which comes first? It’s a chicken and egg question. Competence is your ability to do something well. Confidence is that belief about yourself. Confidence allows you to let go of fears as you become more competent. Competence increases your confidence.

The St. Louis Cardinals are on a confidence roll. On Sunday, they won their sixteenth game in a row, coming back in the top of the ninth to beat the Cubs. So, what changed? They have always been competent baseball players. Ok, you may have argued that earlier in the season, but they are good players, now even better because of a newfound sense of confidence. At the beginning of the year, the team believed they would play well and lose. Now they believe they will play well and win.

The Cardinal win streak is a great example of confidence breeding confidence. The same can be said about self-doubt. When Eeyore’s pals would return his tail, he’d sign and say, “Most likely lose it again, anyway.” Sure enough, he did. Do you ever find yourself in that trap? What is that voice inside your head telling you? Start by being competent in what you do, then show and project confidence to those around you. It is the key to a successful career.

Here are some things you can do to get on your own winning streak:

  1. Clear your head. Self-doubt is self-inflicted. Decide to stop the negativity in your head.
  2. Build your skillset. The better you are at something, the more confident you will be.
  3. Be prepared. Do your homework instead of winging it.
  4. Fake it ‘til you make it! Present with confidence. Dress the part. Be friendly. Make eye contact.
  5. Surround yourself with people who coach you up.
  6. Coach up others. Let them know that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed.
  7. Accept that everyone (even you!) makes mistakes.
  8. Celebrate your achievements! Rewarding yourself is a great confidence boost!