A QUESTION heard from one training session: “Which one must we have first, competence or confidence?”
It got me thinking of “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”
Because after all the ups and downs in all areas of life, the answer seems to be this one vicious cycle of never-ending cause and effect called the Confidence-Competence Loop.
You get confident when you are competent.
You get competent only when you have enough confidence to begin, continue, and see things through to the end.
But then, there are some people who are not that competent but just super confident. Those who succeed, learn to be competent along the way. They fake the confidence until such time that their abilities finally bring out a sense of confidence unshakeable in its foundation.
Those who fail, overdose on confidence without working hard on improving their skills or gaining the right experience. The “fake” in their “fake it ‘til you make it” motivational speech stays fake. They get addicted to simply projecting an image that they lose themselves, taking deadly shortcuts, turning into copy-cats for status, sacrificing basic manners and principles, and sometimes even committing crimes.
And then there are those who are super competent but shrink to bacteria size when assailed with self-doubt. The merest sign of criticism (even from those they don’t even regard as experts in their field) is enough to shake their confidence despite their years of hard-earned expertise and knowledge. Their great voices silenced by the skepticism of their own capabilities, their life-saving decisions halted by hesitations, and their actions frozen by fear.
The Confidence-Competency Loop speaks of how the right amount of confidence and competence is the yin-yang of life. One is not without the other. The balance of both is essential to open opportunities and maximize potentials.
Confidence is the ability to believe that we can do it. It is the trust we put in our problem-solving skills that though there may be challenges along the way, we can learn, overcome, and emerge stronger. It is, when all else fails, going on in faith believing in the purpose given by a Higher Being.
While confidence is a deeply personal skill, its very existence relies heavily on something we do outside of our selves.
Confidence only gains its durability, longevity, and authenticity when we make the effort to grow every day, whether that be in learning new skills, handling stress, applying the values that we stand for, finishing projects, or reaching goals. Knowing that competence is being achieved through the continued dedication and practice, we gain more confidence to take ourselves to the next level, to another skill set, or to another chapter in our lives.
This is where the natural beauty of the loop occurs, confidence and competence in a healthy balance bringing us to a higher perspective of growth.