My last blog focussed on the importance of leaders having constructive mindsets during challenging times. The blog detailed how to move in to a satisfaction driven space by building a constructive mindset through the development of a personal strategic plan. The blog can be found here at the following link –The importance of a constructive mindset for leaders during challenging times.

This particular blog works through the importance of delivering on your self-promises and its corresponding effect on satisfaction and confidence. That is, the commitment and promises we make to ourselves such as:

  • I will get up early and go for that walk/run;
  • I will make time to catch up with my friends who I don’t regularly connect with anymore;
  • I will read a book at night rather than watch TV because I enjoy it;
  • I will spend quality time with my children;
  • I will go to the gym;
  • I will take up a hobby I used to love;
  • I will invest in myself to do the professional development; and
  • Many other small and large promises that we make to ourselves on a daily basis.

Our focus on ourselves can be seen as selfish. We tend to focus on making sure we meet our commitments to others in our life including family, partners, children, work, work colleagues and many others. This tends to impact on our satisfaction when we are not playing the oxygen mask on ourselves which then starts to erode our confidence that we have to be the best versions of ourselves. When confidence is eroded, this is a very difficult place to play in mentally as we tend to lose the power and feelings that come from knowing that you can control the things you can control which starts with following through on the commitments we make to ourselves.

Further to this, there are many challenges or barriers for us to be able to move to this space.  These may include:

  • Excess pressure either at work or home due to a range of circumstances;
  • Short term pressure at work to deliver results or meet significant commitments;
  • Organisational norms which promote perfectionism or conventional or approval behaviours which don’t create the right constructive environment for us to remain in the satisfaction space;
  • Who we spend time with given the power of association has a significant impact on our mindset and confidence;
  • Expectations or needs from staff we may manage that are not constructive or sustainable;
  • Societal expectations which may include people playing conventional roles, not showing our vulnerability or the perception that we need everything now; and
  • Childhood or adolescent experiences and influences that impact our ability to move to satisfaction driven thinking.

The notion of self-promises for me ties very closely to being driven by intrinsic motivation rather than external validation. Intrinsic motivation is around doing things for yourself. Improving every day because you love the satisfaction you gain from improving, getting better and building confidence in yourself to be the person you want to be and have a corresponding larger impact on the communities and people you serve. External validation comes from the need to seek external validation from others. It is false confidence as you are continually looking for affirmation or approval in meeting your security needs to feel validated or supported. It is never ending as external validation moves from a boss to a partner, through to a client or a peer. There is not one external validation master and it is constantly present.

To put this in to perspective, you get up early, you make time for family, you learn a new hobby, you run a little further or eat a little better for the person if helps you become and the confidence it gives you over time. You have made a promise to yourself that you keep. You make another one and you keep that. You build your satisfaction from within through what you do as opposed to saying something and not following through which erodes your confidence and satisfaction levels over time. It translates in to newer levels of confidence based on intrinsic motivation and meeting self-promises. It leads to new levels of confidence, ambition and impact. You start to surprise yourself on what you are capable of achieving.

I feel this is the journey for clients and people who want to shift to a highly constructive approach to thinking, living and performing. It has connected the dots for me around the insights Dan Sullivan my previous coach from Strategic Coach shared with us around confidence is the most important asset of an entrepreneur (see link to his article on top 10 tips for success – Dan Sullivan’s Best Career Advice: 10 Secrets To Success For Today’s Entrepreneur) which is best summed up by the following quote:

“Life is a confidence game. Those who create it win. Those who neglect it lose.” – Dan Sullivan

Constructive and satisfaction driven confidence is not something that can be faked. It comes from an accumulation of habits, practices, previous and current successes and the meeting of self-promises over a long period of time that give you the discipline to do great things. Start with delivering on your self-promises first and then watch everything else fall in to place around your purpose, effectiveness and ability to make a difference combined with enjoying the journey with people that truly matter.