THE STRETCH ZONE – Confidence & Arrogance!

In 2008 I had the pleasure of coaching Helen within a leadership context and, talking about confidence under pressure, she raised her concern ‘about the dividing line between confidence and arrogance’.

Given our stereotypical ideas about confidence as the opinionated, pushy so-and-so we all too often associate confidence with arrogance – a very real and avoid-at-all-costs concern.

Arrogance is nothing more than a manufactured pretence, a desperate attempt to mask underlying fear and doubt with a façade of pseudo-confidence – an unnecessary waste of effort and energy.

Authentic confidence has nothing to do with arrogance – it is congruent, the same on the outside as it is on the inside, and in it’s consistency an unassuming, honest, genuine, real and sustainable confidence emerges from within oneself as Helen so clearly demonstrates with presence and impact in her understated way.

Question: When under pressure in your STRETCH ZONE to what extent is your ‘inside’ congruent with your ‘outside’ with confidence anchored in humility?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Confidence & Stereotypes

Entwined within the fabric of our hurry-up, action-orientated and results-driven world it is not surprising that our assumptions about confidence under pressure so often reflect a stereotypical idea.

Entangled within our conditioned paradigm is the stereotypical idea associating confidence with the outspoken, action-orientated, results-driven personality, apparently to the exclusion of others.

Stereotyping confidence in this way quietly spoken, reflective, people-focused individuals often exclude confidence as an option for themselves by virtue of their personality.

Experience demonstrates that outspoken, results-driven, hurry-ups seek help with their confidence under pressure no less than their quietly spoken, reflective, people-centred counterparts. Confidence is not limited by personality, it only looks and sounds different. And difference does not mean absence.

Question: What stereotypical ideas do you hold about confidence and what is the effect on your potential under the pressure of THE STRETCH ZONE?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Avoiding the Unavoidable

Given the pressure inherent in the STRETCH ZONE we so often deal with difficult situations by way of avoidance – a flight response to avoid facing a perceived nightmare at every opportunity.

Yet, life has a way of catching up with us and we can only avoid the unavoidable for so long – and sooner or later we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and face the unavoidable.

So long as we do all that we can to avoid the unavoidable, that avoidance only exacerbates our fear and doubt at the threshold of our COMFORT ZONE – it seldom gets any better.

Whether it is a difficult conversation, a presentation, a cup final, an interview, a date, an exam or a new project, flight only remains an option for so long and eventually we have to step up – and the alternative to fear and doubt is calm, poise and composure – a very different paradigm of possibility.

Question: What do you tend to do to avoid the unavoidable and what effect does it have on yourself and the situation you’re trying so desperately to avoid?


THE STRETCH ZONE – Confidence & Personality

A really powerful assumption that undermines and limits our potential in the STRETCH ZONE is the idea that confidence is limited to the lucky few by virtue of their personality.

Stereotyping personality as extroversion vs. introversion, task-focus vs. people-focus, structured vs. unstructured, reflection vs. action, etc. – under pressure we so often associate confidence with preferences other than our own.

Inherent in this is the assumption that confidence = personality.  The reality is that confidence is in no way limited by personality, it only looks and sounds different. And difference does not mean absence.

When we associate confidence with personality we so often end up trying to be like someone else in the deluded hope that we’ll come across as confident – and it seldom makes much of an impression. The best thing we can do is to be ourselves – and our confidence will be there with authentic congruence.

Question: Given your personality, styles and preferences, what does authentic and congruent confidence look and sound like for you?