How Courage Trumps Confidence

Published by Matt Mason,

How Courage Trumps Confidence

Liz Walker, one of the coaches listed on the AoM Coaching Directory, shares her thoughts on the importance of courage over confidence. 

Liz has over 20 years of experience in leadership, learning and development in global organisations.  Liz is a key member of Becoming – a leadership and development coaching consultancy for women.

Have you heard or said these phrases before?

“I’ve been told all I need is more confidence.”

“I don’t have the confidence to do it.”

“I wish I could be more confident in myself.”

Perhaps it was about speaking up in a meeting, volunteering for a presentation, or going for a promotion or a new role? 

“If only I could be a bit more confident.”

Well, I have news for you.  Confidence isn’t the issue.

Confidence is a feeling

Confidence is a feeling.  If you feel confident, you feel sure about your abilities, qualities or ideas.  But feelings are not things that we control. 

We generate feelings from our bodies and minds based on what we anticipate or have experienced.  And they change all the time.

Think about some examples:

  • What is the ask? For example, you might feel utterly confident in your ability to make toast but have no confidence in your ability to make a soufflé. 
  • What setting is the ask? You might feel confident about belting out a solo in a karaoke booth with your best friends, but not in front of the church congregation.
  • When is the ask? You might have had all the confidence in the world to bungee jump off that high bridge in your twenties, but not so much in your fifties.

Confidence can come and go depending on many factors, just like our other feelings. 

Think about when you feel sad, joyful, or scared.  Someone telling you that you should “just be a bit more” of any of those is ludicrous.  It is like asking us to control clouds in the sky or currents in the sea. 

Courage is a quality

In contrast, courage is a quality.  If you are courageous, then you are someone who decides to do something, even though you may feel afraid.  And even if you have no experience and anticipate difficulty or danger, you are willing to take action.

Courage over Confidence Image

So, when you decide to act with courage, then:

  • You have that difficult conversation, even though you feel anxious about it
  • You step up to the podium to give that speech, even when your knees are knocking
  • You put yourself forward for a promotion, even though you fear that you won’t get it

Courage is a quality that you can have at all times.  It is a value that can help you decide how you want to live.  It can guide and support you to follow your heart, even when your head warns you not to.

Don’t wait for confidence.  Act now with courage.

If we wait to feel confident about something, we put off the possible.  We avoid the awkward, the uncomfortable, the anxiety-inducing in favour of the safe and known.  And we lose out on what could be.

And Image expressing Courage

So don’t wait to feel confident.  Instead, act now with courage, and let confidence ebb and flow like all your other thoughts and feelings as you gain new experiences and follow your true path. 

Liz Walker Coaching Directory Profile

You can find Liz’s coaching profile on the Army of Mums Coaching Directory.

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