Something Incredibly Powerful To Help You Triumph In Tough Times

Popeye spinachWow! The year has started with a breathtaking avalanche of change, challenge, opportunity. It’s intense. To cope with this tsunami of uncharted waters, we need one thing constantly by our side. Without it, we simply won’t make it. Here it is.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating is passionate about the power of confidence.

“Confidence,” he says. ‘is not something you can get by swallowing every now and then a can of ‘confidence’ spinach. It has to be continually with you.” He believes confidence comes from experience. That’s true. And confidence also comes from something every one of us has within our grasp. You have it. I have it. I do it. Always. Do you? I hope so. Here it is.

Confidence is preparation.

That’s it. If you prepare thoroughly, you will gain huge confidence. Yes- your heart will still beat fast and palms will moisten, but you will have eagerness in your stride to get into the challenge.

Constantly over the 30 years of my career I have ‘won’ the moment, nailed the meeting, landed the sale, smoothed through the difficult discussion, blitzed the incredibly action packed day of major deliverables- not because I was smarter, more talented, gifted, blessed or lucky- but simply because I was really well prepared. And when I stuffed up- always, it was because I was not prepared.

Here are three powerful tips to build, maintain and protect confidence.

Preparation delivers confidence.

It’s the golden rule. As you face moments this year where butterflies build and you feel fear, stay calm: think carefully about how you can best PREPARE. What research can you do, how can you uncover a genuine insights, who can help you, how can you ‘role play’ in your mind everything that could transpire and how you will handle each moment. Sweat the detail in preparation.

Take A Step Back If You Feel You Are Losing The Edge

Cricket great Sir Geoff Boycott says to build confidence, sometimes you have to go back to basics, and start preparing from the start again.

“A Test cricketer who has lost confidence needs to go back to County cricket and work on the basics, prepare afresh, and rebuild.” If, for example, you feel your presenting style is off its game, go give a few talks to internal meetings and low risk sessions. Rebuild confidence for that major new business pitch when the stakes are high.

Controlling The Demons In Your Mind

“Believe you can and you are half way there.” So said Roosevelt. Sometimes, no matter how much I prepare, there’s a voice that keeps whispering to me, “You’re kidding Chris- you will fail here, no question.”

To build confidence in turbulent times, we have to become, as Dr. Martin Seligman says, “ Brilliant disputers of negative thoughts.” The “No I can’t….” needs to be immediately countered with ….”That’s rubbish- of course I can. It is in my grasp…” I know most of you have those voices in your head too. They are like chattering monkeys in mine.

It’s Sunday night as I write this. I have a week of travel and a series of important meetings and presentations around Australia. I need to plan now each and every meeting, role-play in my mind, start rehearsing, plan how I will maximize the times I have in cabs and at airports, prepare for what can go wrong, and right. You see, preparation gives me confidence.

Always has. Always will.

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12 Responses to Something Incredibly Powerful To Help You Triumph In Tough Times

  1. Paul Alexander February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Good one Chris. There is no substitute.

    • Chris Savage February 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Thanks Paul!

  2. Simon Lusty February 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Great post Chris. I love the bit about being “Brilliant disputers of negative thoughts”.

    • Chris Savage February 6, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks Simon!

  3. Sarah February 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    What timing, Chris!
    I am in the process of developing a presentation for senior management (including Group Execs & SVPs up to 4 tiers higher than me) for next week and have been getting more & more nervous about it as the time clicks closer. With this post, you have reminded me that I will be prepared and have preempted most of the questions I’m sure to have to field.
    Here’s hoping I manage to control those demons next Friday too! 🙂
    Thank you!!

    • Chris Savage February 6, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Sarah- glad it was useful. Chris

  4. Matt February 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    As always Chris, your posts are spot on and full of insightful advice. Thanks, and on that note I better start preparing for my afternoon marketing session …..

    • Chris Savage February 6, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Go for it, Matt!

  5. Joanne Davidson February 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I once watched a documentary on people surviving terrible disasters like hotel fires and plane crashes. It said that the people who save themselves and don’t freeze up in the moment of panic are those who have mentally visualized what they will do in the event of an emergency. It is this mental rehearsal that makes the difference between a rational and an irrational response. So you never know Chris – being prepared may not only help you nail that conference presentation; it might actually save your life one day! Thanks for excellent advice

    • Chris Savage February 6, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Great advice Joanne- I will follow it always! Chris

  6. KerryAnn Bartle February 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    Another inspirational post Chris and quoting the great man himself Paul Keating amongst other highly notable leaders. Yes, confidence is key, confidence goes in hand with being prepared leaving nothing to chance and with the experience we accumulate the more our confidence grows. If you truly know what you are talking about the delivery becomes seamless. We all have that little voice inside that makes us question our abilities and talent, the moment of self doubt that creeps in and has us running for a place to hide. It is how we harness this little nugget of insecurity and prepare by going through every detail then push forward that is a sure fire way to be taken seriously and in-turn grasp even the seemingly impossible. Want to sell a plane but only know about cars then you are wasting your time and that of others, sell a car you will do well. Learn what you need to know to be prepared, have a little chat to the inner demon of negativity and make it happen. Really looking forward to your next empowering and insightful post!

    • Chris Savage February 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks KerryAnn- well said!

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