We live in cynical, skeptical, suspicious times. Cynics are too ready to dismiss positive messages about will, team spirit, and motivation as self-help babble. They are wrong. Never underestimate the power of positive feelings. Confidence can turn companies around and save marriages. As Margaret Mead stated, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has.” To be thoughtful and committed is a big part of confidence.
Success creates positive momentum. People who believe they are likely to win are more likely to put in the extra effort required at difficult moments to ensure that victory. Also, on the way down, failure feeds itself. As performance starts running on a positive or a negative path, the momentum can be hard to stop. Growth cycles produce optimism, decline cycles produce pessimism.
Confidence consists of positive expectations for favorable outcomes. It influences the willingness to invest – to commit money, time, reputation, emotional energy, or other resources – or to withhold or hedge investment. Confidence determines whether our steps are tiny and tentative or big and bold.
Successes and failures are not episodes, they are trajectories. They are tendencies, directions, and pathways. Success provides the resources, the pride, and the enthusiasm that makes it easier to succeed the next time. Confidence can be manifested in body language, in demeanor, and in personal surroundings. Are your team members grounded on their feet or bouncing on their toes ready to go? Are their shoulders sagging or are they standing tall?
Do you have any “water walkers” on your team? Do they remember that the reason they can “walk on water” is because of the stones, the solid foundations, being laid down by other team members? When people can rely on each other to be accountable, to collaborate, and to take initiative, they can perform extraordinary feats.
From Confidence: How winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end by Rosabeth Moss Kanter