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Unconditional confidence

This semester I’m teaching a course called Leadership & Change. One of our main texts is Deep Change (1996), which approaches change through an organizational lens, though we talk about how the concepts in this text can translate to social change, personal change, family change, college, friends, relationships, etc. One concept that resonated deeply with my class is the concept of unconditional confidence, which Quinn describes as being spiritual in nature. What would it look like to believe unquestionably in the possibility of our visions coming to fruition? Would failure even be an option if we remained unconditionally confident?

Many people struggle with developing confidence. Body image issues, poor mental health, unnecessary comparisons with others, and explicit/implicit message from others are a few of the many reasons people aren’t able to develop a strong sense of self-worth. But even when people do develop healthy confidence, they’re punished for it or made to believe they need to develop more humility. Hunnies-uh, listen close-uh: Humility and confidence are not opposites…-uh!

In class we discussed how many college students won’t seek leadership roles in organizations because they believe it’s arrogant to do so, despite the fact that they’re highly qualified, competent, and practice effective leadership skills. This is true in many contexts; we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. How often do we have to remind someone else of their obvious worth, blind to noticing that worth within ourselves? I love interacting with someone who owns their confidence, whether it’s through an on-point outfit, their ability to accept compliments, or the positive self-talk they engage in.

Without unconditional confidence in ourselves, we won’t get very far. You can believe you have more growth to achieve and believe you are a quality human being. Last weekend when our spiritual intuitive friend, Amy, asked me in a healing circle, “Do you know how fantastic you are?” I smiled and very proudly said, “Yes!” That should be every one of our answers. Believing that we have inherent worth helps us believe we are worthy of all good things. When we simultaneously practice humility, however, we recognize that we understand that being good doesn’t mean being “the best,” and being worthy of good things doesn’t mean we deserve every good thing.

Do you have unconditional confidence? Conditional confidence? Confidence at all? If confidence is a struggle for you, as it still is for me sometimes, I challenge us to both figure out what those conditions are. Is it body? Mind? Spiritual connection? The answer will be evident when you notice how your energy peaks or lowers depending on what you’re doing, who is in the room, and how much vulnerability you’re needing to practice. I can only imagine what the people in our world achieve, both individually and collectively, if we practiced unconditional confidence without feeding our ego.


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