- On March 1, 2016
Can you be confident if you are not also self-aware?
I’ve been pondering that question since I spent a week working with transitioning military to help them establish a plan for their future.
I experienced dozens of men and women with amazing stories of courage and resilience who have faced incredible adversities during their military careers…Yet they didn’t think anything they’d done was worth talking about. They could speak with extreme confidence and pride of their military units, but when it came time to talk about themselves they, by and large, discounted their own roles and expressed doubt of their ability to rise to the new challenges that awaited them out of the service.
That didn’t start to change until they learned some tools for self-reflection and were encouraged to take realistic stock of their unique strengths and challenges.
An interesting juxtaposition was one participant whose veneer of ‘confidence’ quickly translated as hubris. Emanating negativity in attitude– blaming others, exhibiting denial, frustration, anxiety, fear, anger, desperation, and hopelessness—as well as in physical presence: angry face, down-turned mouth, noisy entrances, noisy exits, visually distracted when the conversation was not something of interest. The self-centered bluster dulled any attempt at connection with others. Loudness does not translate to confidence.
Confidence—the spirit that inspires loyalty and trust from others–comes from the courageous place of acknowledging our own vulnerabilities and striving to become more complete. Self-awareness shifts the dynamic; I saw it for myself in more than 30 people. The more we are willing to understand and accept ourselves, the more we are able to positively influence others.
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