The journey to true confidence is not a solo path.
Being truly confident means you must become a guide for others. Three weeks ago, I started this 3-part series about confidence, giving my personal viewpoint of what it is and isn’t, and advice on how to get it. Remember: confidence may or may not be something that is innate. And, who cares if it isn’t? It’s your personal responsibility to increase your confidence if deep down you know it’s one of your struggles. No matter what your baseline at birth was.
For many of you, the story may have ended there. Nope! The final piece of true confidence is to become a beacon to assist others to find it within themselves.
Look — again — I firmly believe becoming confident is up to you and you only. But, once confident, you can be a mentor and inspiration to those on the journey you just completed.
The Myth of Confidence is that it’s just about you.
I honestly did not envision I would be where I am today. In the last couple years, I created two new companies, one which has become a successful multi-million dollar business in an industry that I had no idea about, Global Post Auditing Solutions. I did not see that happening 5 years ago, yet here I am.
I know I am confident. But, that is not enough for me to succeed. I must surround myself with other confident people to continue to reach the heights of success I dream of obtaining. With Global, I partnered with another very confident and business-savvy professional who is an expert in the space. Surrounding myself with someone like this helped me make the decision to move forward, anchoring the business side. I had no idea what I was walking into, but her confidence and assurance of great success reassured me that it was the right path. And, she was correct.
I embrace change, the challenge of not having a clue, and creating the opportunity from scratch. I want to help others get to that very place.
As my career has progressed, I have realized a very valuable lesson: You serve those around you, no matter their title or where they fall in a hierarchy. Do unto others as you have done to you. How many of you know that ancient adage? It has withstood the test of time because it is TRUE.
Servant leadership serves, listens, empathizes, respects, and creates a culture of connection. It is infectious, inspires, and provides an example for the team to help other teammates or clients. It’s a multiplier and the ROI is impressive. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Servant leaders go further because they go together.
Servant leadership is the greatest lesson I’ve learned from a leadership perspective.
I had no idea how fulfilling being a mentor would be. For me, it completes the circle of being confident. Being a mentor, however, is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for someone who is not confident. Because it’s not about you. Being a mentor doesn’t mean molding someone in your image. And, that is a slippery slope for many of us. It is giving someone the space to create their own unique image, that may or may not be similar to yours.
Being a mentor means giving someone a safe space and guidance so they mold themself into their own image.
Is being a mentor easy? Of course not. I have to keep myself in check at times and watch my own ego. But, when I refocus on the goal, I am far more rewarded inside. One more time — it’s not about me.
Another classic adage: You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink it. The same goes with getting others to gain/have confidence. Until they want to believe that they can do what they want to do, they will remain in the place that they are. And, that is ok. They are on their own path, as I am on mine. But, I will be patiently there along the way with them.
There are no setbacks when you mentor someone. I will say that it requires patience because not everyone moves at the same pace or believes in themselves as quickly as you do. It’s important to manage your expectations properly for each person you mentor and coach them in a way that elevates them.
But, on the other hand, don’t forget that a mentorship is a relationship like all others. A relationship requires two parties, and in order for it be successful, each must be mutually beneficial personally or professionally. For me? The pride and satisfaction of watching someone flourish is more than enough.
It is your personal responsibility as a confident person to give back. That should be all you require. Anything more is your insecurities, and you need to re-evaluate where you are if you feel that bubble up. (And what do you do then? Just go back to the foundations of what confidence means and how to strengthen it. Confidence is not a static point in time, it is fluid. Confidence can be dynamic: 3 steps forward, 1 step back. Just make sure the motion is consistently up.)
Confidence is a spectrum — don’t forget that both you and the one you are mentoring are on it. Keep yourself in check as you assist others.
I think it’s important to give first in order to deliver maximum value to a relationship. Giving first is a principle that has allowed me to connect sooner with people and help them be more open with me. It’s always interesting to see their reaction when you lead with the give because people don’t expect it.
Here are 3 tips to be a mentor to help them grow their confidence:
- Identify SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time specific) goals. They — not you — need to figure out where their confidence is lacking.
- Help them determine step(s) to get there.
- Be intentional about your commitment. They will feel that you are invested. Those who aspire to rise will sense and appreciate your intent.
- Remind your mentee they need the opportunity to get little wins in order to build their confidence. Help them identify what those little wins will be.
- Review progress with them every month. This will keep them on track.
- Share stories and examples of your path. It’s vital to remind them that becoming confident is a process that *anyone* can obtain (as I discussed in the last blog).
I had no idea how fulfilling it would be being a mentor to others. It has helped me reflect on actions I am doing to make sure I am practicing what I am preaching. Total win-win situation.
When I come across something that is challenging and outside my comfort zone, I want to be the example to those around me. Confidence breeds confidence.
You feel comfortable/safe when you’re around confident people because you know they are going to accomplish whatever goals they set.
It’s time for you to become that person.
Go forth and conquer!