Defining Your Self-Worth and Locating Your Confidence Gap
January 24, 2017 6:00 AM EST | 6 min read
Let’s look at an example that explains a confidence gap before we dive into what that means for your self-worth.
Take a look at Donald Trump:
Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.
The American voting process and Electoral College have assured this.
He has been officially sworn in on January 20th, 2017.
Political and media strategists are still circling the wagon trying to understand how he won.
One need look no further than any singular newsfeed or trending Twitter line to see the visceral feelings that still linger.
Detractors continue to crucify his election win, criticize his personal attributes, and throw stone at those who voted for him.
Let’s examine a few facts
Politicians, celebrities, and athletes are scrutinized and taken to task by the media every day.
In most cases, they choose to look the other way rather than take a defensive stance on, and directly respond to, the scrutiny.
Donald Trump does NOT choose to look the other way.
He is baited rather easily by the scrutiny that is thrust upon him.
If you look closely, Donald Trump does NOT display confident tendencies, this despite his overt attempts to do so.
Understanding confidence gap from a leadership perspective
When I teach leadership classes, one of my favorite quotes to use is:
“Those who play the part well will likely get the part, no rehearsal needed.”
Very often, we spend more time auditioning and trying to prove ourselves, and less times just being confident, fair, decisive, and nice.
We have all seen people that will put themselves in any position they can to receive notice, validation, and accolades.
A confident leader needs not audition.
A confident leader does not get their confidence from notice, validation, or accolades.
Confidence starts with self-worth.
People get their self-worth from one of four things.
- Material things. Some people buy and flaunt cars, homes, clothes, chains, etc. to prove their level of success and worth to others.
- Validation from others. Some people require praise, validation, and consensus from others to feel good about themselves. These are people who cannot just do, they must hear from others about what they did. If what they hear is positive, they are on cloud nine. If what they hear is negative, they are in the dumps. If they hear nothing from others, they are in the dumps.
- Impact on others. Some people get their self-worth by having a strong, positive impact on individuals, groups of people, or organizations.
- Goal achievement. Some people get their self-worth from setting and achieving goals, especially difficult ones.
Donald Trump gets his self-worth from material things and the validation of others.
I know this and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
What about you?
Where do you get your self-worth from?
What about your friends, family, and work colleagues?
I find this to be an important introspective question, and yet one that we spend very little time exploring.
Remember these facts:
A lot of people are not truly confident.
If we can understand where we get our self-worth from, we can start to understand our barriers to true confidence.
Do You Have The Confidence Gap Issue?
On that note, here is another quote that is worth remembering:
“It’s not about what you know or don’t know, it’s understanding the difference between the two and managing accordingly.”
This seems simple and yet executing it requires true confidence.
If one gets their self-worth solely from the validation of others, they may struggle with this idea because they will worry about not knowing something and, gasp, having to look elsewhere for the answer.
They will ask themselves some questions:
- Will not knowing this put me in a negative light?
- If others no longer see me as the answer to every question, how will that change their perception of me?
If, on the other hand, someone gets their self-worth from the positive impact that they have on others, they will enjoy being able to lean on and enable others to contribute to an outcome.
Going back to Mr. Trump for a moment, his consistent ability to be baited by critics is undeniably attached to his lack of true confidence; this despite his overtly self-assured stance.
He does not want to be the person that does not know and any inference by critics that he is ignorant or shallow on a matter will draw his immediate ire and a snarky reply.
A truly confident person plays the part well, no rehearsal needed.
Mr. Trump rehearses consistently because doing so ensures that he is always on stage and allows him to stay on par with or ahead of his detractors (whether he does this successfully or not is debatable but not the point).
So, where does your self-worth come from?
Do you find yourself worrying about the judgments or feelings of others?
For that matter, do you find that you compare yourself to others?
If you do, you will consistently struggle with the confidence gap.
There are a few reasons for this.
- The thoughts and feelings of others are not yours to control.
- You will come across thousands of people during your lifetime and you will not find validation or even an opportunity for validation from each and every one of them. It doesn’t matter how often you audition.
- You will find it necessary and tiresome to align your words, actions, and inactions to the beat of everyone else’s drum, never focusing on what you want, what you need.
If your self-worth comes from material things, true confidence will continue to avoid you.
The reason for this is a lot simpler and less wordy.
You are not a material thing and true confidence has to come from within you.
If on the other hand, if your self-worth comes from the positive impact you have on others or your ability to set and meet meaningful goals, true confidence can be within your sights.
This is because having positive impact and meeting goals both require your desire, your capability, and your capacity.
Each of these things come from within YOU, and the positive outcomes they yield will resonate in kind.
Fill in the confidence gap.