“Reflecting on the last quarter, where do you feel like you’ve grown the most?” This is how our CEO and owner started our latest quarterly leadership meeting. We answered popcorn style, one by one, after the first brave soul broke the initial awkward silence. For me, growth over the last quarter — and really over the last couple of years — has come mostly in the form of confidence. Nearly 2 years ago, I got my dream job. I’m working as the Finance Director for a purpose-driven company that I believe deeply in. I’m surrounded by fun-loving, hard- working individuals that inspire me daily. We care about each other and we’re driven to love and serve our communities so that together we can see lives transformed
I say I “got” my dream job because I can’t say that I landed it, or even that I necessarily earned it. If you asked me about my transition to the role, I’d tell you I felt like I came sliding in on a banana peel. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been striving my whole career to be at a place like this. But I thought it was still another three to five years away. Then I blinked, and there I was.
Now that I’ve been here at Torrent for a while, I can share some confidence-building strategies that have helped me in my journey.
#1: Know Yourself
I’m working on this one. It’s definitely going to be a lifelong pursuit, but it does help build confidence. For me, I’ve used tools like Gallup Strengthfinders assessment, 360 feedback, books, podcasts, meditation and a Personal Why Discovery with our Well-Being Coach. You might have seen “an example” Personal Why in our blog about the same (read it here). That was mine. What a cool process it was! The more I know myself, the more confidence I have in my ability to lead with my strengths. Perhaps more importantly, the better I am at recognizing where I struggle. Rather than letting those areas shred my confidence, I can work on shrinking my blind spots, playing to my strengths and being vulnerable with my challenges.
#2: Know What Success Looks Like
This probably doesn’t seem like it goes with the “building confidence” key points. I actually think it does. When it’s clear what success looks like, I can get to work on creating a path to get me there. When I have a clear path, the ground feels a lot more stable and a lot less shaky. My coach is really great at helping me see the end goal. We have frequent coaching sessions and Torrent has a Vivid Vision that helps me visualize what success looks like. I know that I’m resourceful and driven and together we’ll make that vision come to life. As we revisit the vision, we can see it starting to come to life. Each step along the way builds my confidence. One of my favorite quotes is from Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” It’s really helpful to go confidently if you know the direction of your dreams.
#3: Surround Yourself with the Right People
This is twofold for me. When I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, there are people around me that encourage me and speak life into my situation. I’m so grateful for those people. You need people that will tell you the honest truth. If those same people can also discern when you’re feeling shaky and they need to latch onto the tiny mustard grains of truth surrounding your ability and potential and help you believe that it can find roots and grow, stay close to those people. They can be your lifeline when you’re drowning in self doubt.
The other piece of this is finding people who are further down the road to lead you and guide you. For me, that often means I have to get out of my comfort zone, use all my extrovert points and strike up conversations and ask for connections. My experience is that people are generally kinder than you think and are open to sharing what they know. A good mentor is invaluable. If you don’t have one, you should really work on finding one. If you’re in a place to be one, don’t undervalue the impact you can have on someone else’s journey. Pouring into others can actually be confidence building in its own right.
#4: Use Your Resources
Books, podcasts, webinars, user groups or councils, you name it. There are a ton of resources out there. Be a learner. Stay curious. What I’ve found is that, as I expand my knowledge base, and stay plugged in to the resources around me, my confidence grows. When I was playing basketball, it looked like time in the gym, with strength coaches, video tapes, rebounding machines, playbooks and the dreaded track. It’s not all fun, but when you put in the work behind the scenes, you know that when it’s time to perform, you’re ready to meet the challenge. Business is no different. The principle is universal.
#5: Keep Swimming
Let’s go, Dory. Every day isn’t going to be sunshine and buttercups. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, the tough days can take you down. For anyone out there in the grind of a job you don’t love and aren’t passionate about, I would encourage you to keep pursuing opportunities to fuel your passions. For me, the toughest day I’ve had at Torrent was overshadowed by the deep sense of purpose and belief I have in this company. The result of making it through the tough days is a greater sense of confidence. It helps my self talk when I start to feel shaky. I reflect on the tough times I’ve been through. “If I’ve done it before, I can do it again.” “‘If I got through that, I can get through this.” Each hurdle I get past lifts me to a higher level.
While my list sure isn’t all encompassing, it’s a start. I’m curious: What strategies do you use to grow your confidence?