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When I first joined the Marine Corps at 17 years-old I was terrified of attending Bootcamp. I’d watched videos of recruits getting screamed at by square-faced muscular men wearing smokey the bear hats. I knew that in order for me to survive that I had to be confident.
What did I do?
I worked out physically and mentally and prepared myself everyday for the 3 month journey through hell called Bootcamp. I studied for hours all of the rank structure and military history. I wanted to be the best and most well prepared before going to bootcamp. Ironically, even though I was scoring the highest in physical training and in the academic part I didn’t feel confident.
Here is the secret that most high performers won’t tell you.
THEY DON’T FEEL CONFIDENT.
And the best thing is, is that we don’t have to feel confident in order to succeed or do great things. It feels great to feel confident and to be able to get things done. However, it isn’t necessary. What we’re looking for isn’t confidence but rather conviction. Conviction is what moves and inspires people.
In this piece I’m going to share with you how to have conviction when you feel like you’re running low on confidence. I’ll share with you the misperceptions around confidence, inspiration, and action and then I’ll end with letting you know why conviction is tantamount to success, and not confidence. However, confidence goes a long way too.
While in bootcamp many thought that I was confident. However, the fact that I spent so much time and effort behind the scenes preparing myself revealed the secret that I had: a lack of confidence. However, I did have conviction. I knew that I wanted to serve my country in a powerful way and standup and defend it. I admit that at the time I was naive to politics, corruption, and the military industrial complex however I did have a true heart-felt around the love for my country and the people within it. And I was willing to die for it. Those moments in boot camp when I was doing pushups in the sandbox with sand fleas in 100 degree plus weather, or low-crawling through cement tubes and into the mud in the rain I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I was tired, exhausted, and wanted to give up.
What kept me going?
If you have conviction around an idea or a strong belief then you can go to hell and highwater………and heaven too and then I’ll the way back. Why? Because belief systems drive us. They shape our interactions with the world. And if you have a strong enough belief and feel convicted then confidence doesn’t matter. You’ll take action and do it anyway.
We ‘ve been conditioned to believe that we need to be confident in order to inspire others to action. Even to inspire ourselves to action. But if you read the biographies of great leaders who faced terrible odds they had little to no confidence. And that is perfectly OK. When you’re up against bad odds naturally you’re not going to feel confident. However, if you believe in what you’re doing and you feel convicted then the odds won’t matter to you. Neither will the lack of confidence. You’ll be able to fall back on your conviction.
Ultimately, it comes down to alignment. If you’re lacking confidence in your life around a job or a relationship then ask yourself this, “Is the thing that I’m lacking confidence around matter to me?” As Simon Sinek says, “What’s your Why?” The why is key. If you’re why is strong then the how doesn’t matter.