Pursue What Matters
Episode 148: Do You Have a Confidence Blindspot?
Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
You want to be confident, right? And confidence is a great thing Correct? Not so fast. Today we are taking a look at some major confidence blind spots that could be blocking your success.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:35
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast, where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So what does it mean to be confident? Does it mean you’re the loudest person in the room? Is it a strong opinion eloquently delivered? Is it sound thinking? Is it strength at trust building, so there are so many ways to define confidence, but I want to break it down and make it very, very simple. Confidence is a measure of how much you believe in yourself. So you know, of course, one of my biggest goals for this podcast is to help you strengthen your confidence to lead I talk about it every single week, I want you to be confident, I want you to believe in yourself, I want you to take meaningful action in your life. And I want you to grow your skills, and capabilities so you can contribute your highest level. And of course, I want all of these things for myself as well. But I also want you and me to understand what true confidence is, rather than what too often passes for confidence, which is sometimes looks like bluster forcefulness being the loudest person in the room. So we want to make sure that we have a shore Foundation, a stable foundation, when it comes to confidence. And so this week, right, just like every week, my goal is to help you pursue what matters. By strengthening your confidence to lead we do that with clarity, which connects us to purpose. We do that with curiosity, which connects us to self awareness and self leadership. And we do that through leading and building a community. And so primarily today with the podcast, we’re really helping you with curiosity.
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:16
So we’re really going to help you understand some of these blind spots, so that you have greater self awareness. But this is also really applicable to building and leading a community because some of these conference blind spots really can wreak havoc in our work with others and, you know, team building. And so this might be helpful for you, as a leader of a team, it might be helpful for you in terms of understanding colleagues on your team. So the hope is that this, you know, the content today can help you better understand yourself, but also better understand others. And so with that, let’s jump in and take a look at these blind spots. So the first point is that we all have confidence, blind spots, right? So there are dangers that we maybe need to be aware of. And so when I think about confidence, I think it’s really all about integration and balance, which certainly can feel elusive at times. But today, we will really be focusing on on a major blind spot that can wreak havoc in our lives. So generally speaking, there are two blind spots. So I’m going to share the first one with you. But we’re not going to spend a lot of time on it, because I’ve actually done a podcast entirely on this blind spot. So I will reference that podcast, and I will link to it in the show notes. So you can certainly go and take a listen.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:51
But this first blind spot, I’ll just introduce it now is when we have competence without confidence. So this is known as imposter syndrome. Okay, so this is a situation where our competence exceeds our confidence. So you have the skills, right? You have the skills, you have the smarts, but you lack the confidence. And so what does that look like? And what does that result in? So it can it can mean that you don’t take chances, you don’t take smart risks. You don’t put yourself up for challenges or for promotions, or for new jobs, and you back away in the face of fear. So when we think about imposter syndrome, this is a situation where we really doubt and second guess ourselves. And so the result is that we lose opportunities to lead and to grow because we don’t put ourselves out there. And of course over time, this can really stall your growth and development because you are not positioning yourself in in opportunities where you could elevate your skills even more. And so sadly Write others who might not be as competent, right? They pass you by. And you know, they develop the skills that you already have. So they’re in an elevated role and you’re sitting on the sidelines. And you might not care about roles, that’s fine. But we always want to be working to the edge of our skills, because this is how we grow. And this is how we contribute. So again, I will link to the imposter syndrome podcast. I did it a while ago. But I will link to that. And so if you want to learn more about imposter syndrome, which is the first blind spot, then you can check it out there. And so again, with this first blind spot, it’s when our competence outweighs or outpaces our confidence. And so now we’re going to focus the rest of the time on this second blind spot, which is when we have confidence without competence.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:58
So if you remember, at the top of the podcast, I said, confidence is a great thing, right? And is there any time that confidence isn’t a great thing? And the answer is yes. When we are confident, but we don’t have the competence or the skills to back up that confidence, we can get ourselves in big trouble. So this is also known as the armchair quarterback syndrome, right. And we all know those folks. And maybe we’ve been those folks, where we are acting as an armchair quarterback, we are an expert on, on topics that are absolutely outside of our domain of competence. And so this is where confidence exceeds competence. And so I want to break this down a little bit more and identify four problems that we see with the armchair quarterback.
Dr. Melissa Smith 6:50
Okay. And so the first problem is, it is ego driven, meaning it’s about making you better than others. When it’s ego driven, we’re often attempting to elevate ourselves over others. So right, like you need to be the smartest person in the room, you need to, you need to be the one that that’s, that’s an expert on football, or whatever the topic up for discussion is, and when we, when we approach discussions and decisions this way, right? Like we use this confidence as a weapon against others, which absolutely closes down collaboration, creativity and innovation, because in essence, we’re saying we’re right. And we don’t want to hear from you. Right. And so it shuts down collaboration and certainly shuts down openness to other opinions. And so that’s the first problem with confidence. Where confidence exceeds competence is it’s ego driven. Now, let’s look at the second problem. It stands in the way of rethinking. So when we, when we think we know what’s going on, right, we lack the ability to think about our thinking. So thinking about your thinking is known as metacognition. And it’s this ability to have self awareness, right, which is one of the most important things required for effective leadership. So we lack this ability to see ourselves in a larger context, to think about our thinking to be able to say, I don’t know anything about football.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:25
So why am I sharing such a strong opinion here, right? Like, that’s self reflection, that’s metacognition, that’s introspection that can lead to some self confrontation, which can say, You know what, I need to be quiet here, because I don’t really know much about this. And so this standing in the way of rethinking, right, right, like it is a lack of self awareness in action. And so let’s just think about it. If you believe you are correct, why on earth would you go looking for disconfirming evidence, you wouldn’t. And we can see a little bit of that ego coming in, as it relates to this. So it closes you off to the perspective of others, and it closes you off to your own potential blind spots, right? You believe you are the smartest person in the room. And you’re definitely not going to look for disconfirming evidence, because we like feeling smart. It brings that sense of confidence, and a sense of control. So that’s the second problem. It stands in the way of rethinking. And so now as we think about the armchair quarterback, let’s look at a third problem of this, and that is that arrogance keeps you blind. So I’ve already talked about the fact that it’s ego driven. And so whenever we see ego driven behavior, we definitely see arrogance show up.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:45
So arrogance is a weapon of compensation for low self worth. So we compensate for our feelings of low self worth by going over the top with confidence. So it is often boastful and it’s is often a result of a lack of that competence, and not really believing in yourself. But how it comes across is overconfidence. So not always, but sometimes. So when you feel incompetent, you may overcompensate with overconfidence, right? So I need to prove to people that I know what I’m doing, because I’m a little unsure about what I’m doing. And I think we can all think about examples where we have seen that maybe where we have done that. So you also may indeed believe you are competent when you are incompetent. So leading to confidence, where you have no grounding, right? Like you have no grounding in actual real life experience. And so the key difference between arrogance and confidence, right, because this is this is can be a fine line sometimes. But the key difference between these two is humility. So those who are truly confident, are humble, they’re self aware, they, they’re willing and open to the views of others. Whereas with arrogance, we close ourselves off. And there is such a lack of humility, right? Like, there’s a whole bunch of pride going on with that. And I did a podcast not too long ago, about arrogance. So if you want to check that out, I will also link to that in the show notes.
Dr. Melissa Smith 11:27
So that lack of competence can leave you blind to your own incompetence. So you don’t this is a perfect example of you don’t know what you don’t know. So this is known as the ignorance of your arrogance. So from Tim urban, he he has taught arrogance is ignorance plus conviction, right? So ignorance, plus confidence results in arrogance, okay, so we really want to be careful about that. And what we know over time is the arrogance leads to more ignorance, okay, because you resist the very activities that can correct your ignorance. And so over time, you become more entrenched in ignorance, and you are very closed off to learning. Okay, so that’s the third problem is that the arrogance keeps you blind, it keeps you from learning. And then there’s a fourth problem that we see with the armchair quarterback syndrome. So not only do you lack the skills to achieve excellence, right, because you’re lacking in competence. So not only do you lack the skills to achieve excellence, but you also lack the knowledge and the skills to judge excellence. So leaders listen up. This is where we really think about the impact on our teams. Because when we’re confident without competence, not only are we a poor assessor of our own skills, but were a very poor assessor or judge of other skills. And so you can’t judge competence, either in yourself or others, you fail to teach yourself, right, and you run the risk of teaching others incorrectly. And so what happens over time, this is really not good, right? This is not what we want to see that over time, there’s the overall level of achievement, and competence drops for the entire herd, okay, for the entire team, the entire group. And so right when we think about some of these work environments, where we let we let a slacker, stick with it, or write like a slacker can be very competent. They’re just lazy, right? But let’s think about someone who lacks the skills but boy, you know what, she’s a nice, she’s a nice lady. And so we, you know, we kind of keep her around, even though she lacks the skills needed to be successful in her work. Well, if you let that happen, first of all, it infects the rest of the team. Because when you write the level of competence drops, because you’ve allowed, you’ve allowed a mediocre member on the team, right? And that has that has continued without a focus on ongoing progress. And so you can’t see this lack of skills in yourself and you are a worst judge of it. In others, this is such a problem on teams. So what do we do?
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:35
So I’ve got a, I’ve got some solutions for you. So first of all, when it comes to the first blind spot, which is imposter syndrome, we really want to challenge that and so again, I would just refer you to the imposter syndrome podcast because I have a lot of really great solutions for you. And in a nutshell, the the work is around taking action and tolerating your fear. Because what you find is As you take action, you build the confidence. And you’ve got this short foundation of competence to really back you up to help you to succeed, even though you have fear, and you lack confidence about your ability to be successful.
Dr. Melissa Smith 15:14
Okay, so now let’s focus on how you can challenge the armchair quarterback. So the first so there are two questions that I have for you, to help you to challenge the armchair quarterback. So the first question is, why should we listen to you? Okay, so is there any foundation for you having competence in this area? And you’ve got it? Right, like, have a gut check with yourself on that? Are you really an expert? Right? So what is your training? What is your skill development? What is your background that would point to competence? So I’ve got to tell you, right, so as a leadership coach, I see this all the time. So I’m kind of in a unique position, because I am a licensed psychologist, and a leadership coach. And so I’ve had this career as a licensed psychologist, where there are very clear markers that point to expertise as a psychologist, right, you have this intensive educational experience, you have an internship requirement, you have a licensing requirement, right? Like there are so many checks and balances, to really help convey expertise as a psychologist, well, then we have the world of coaching, right? And let me tell you, it is the wild, wild west, right? I mean, anyone can call themselves a coach, anyone can call themselves a life coach, a leadership coach, there’s absolutely no framework or structure around that. And, you know, the experience that I’ve had with folks is, you know, as I do consultations, they say, it’s so hard to know who is competent, right? Like who, who is good, there’s a lot of people that are confident, but they may not have the education, the experience or the expertise to actually be helpful as a coach. And so it’s so interesting, because I I kind of live in these two worlds, in, you know, when I think about, you know, my leadership experience, so being a leadership coach, right, so much of that foundation comes from a very firm understanding, not only of psychology with business, right, if we think about some of my education, experience and expertise, but this is a question to ask yourself, you know, if you recognize it, the armchair quarterback might sound a little bit familiar. Ask yourself the question, why should others listen to you? And so it looking at whether there is a foundation for competence? Do you have the education? Do you have the experience? Do you have the expertise that really would lend to to others giving you their time and attention? Right, like, why should they listen to you? And if you can’t answer those questions, it’s really time to, to settle down on that overconfidence to go ahead and get the skills, right, get the expertise. But always we want to carry all of that with humility, right? Like, regardless of where you’re at whether people should listen to you or not, we should always have humility about that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:22
And then the second question that I want you to consider as you challenge the armchair quarterback is how are you cultivating competence? Okay, so what do you have in place to stress test your ideas? How do you seek disconfirming? Evidence? What mechanisms are built in to correct you when you’re wrong? Are there any right? Are there any mechanisms? Or can you go around life? Right? Going through your days, and weeks? insulated? From your blind spots insulated from information that you might have totally dead wrong? So what are your opportunities for feedback? Do you build in opportunities for feedback? Are you open to feedback? So how do you open yourself to diverse views? Because you might have a lot of competence and confidence in one small skill set, right? But where there are overlapping skill sets, you really need to strengthen your skills in those other areas. And so how do you open yourself to new perspectives and diverse views? Do you have a devil’s advocate, we should all have a devil’s advocate in our life, to help us to check out our arguments to see where we might be off track. This is one of the greatest gifts of a strong team. Because if you have some good trust, and psychological safety in place, you can be a devil’s advocate for one another. You can stress test your ideas, you can give and receive feedback in a setting where it is optimized for growth, do you have a truth speaker in your life? Do you have someone who can speak truth to your power? And so if the answer to any of those questions is no or to most of those questions, the answer is no, we really need to go back to the drawing board and look at ways that you can cultivate competence. Confidence is not enough. And in fact, it can be very dangerous, when we don’t have the appropriate skills in place behind that confidence. So today, we talked about the confidence blind spots, I talked briefly about imposter syndrome, which is where our competence exceeds our confidence. And I’ve got the link to the podcast for you to review that in more detail. And then we talked about the second blind spot known as the armchair quarterback syndrome. And this is where confidence exceeds competence. And I talked about four problems that show up when we’ve got the armchair quarterback going on. And then I presented two solutions to help you and really there are two questions with a bunch of sub questions to really help you cultivate more awareness about how you’re doing with competence, how you’re doing with confidence. So the first question is, why should we listen to you? Right? Why should others listen to you? And the second question is, how are you cultivating competence? So how are you building your skills to match your confidence?
Dr. Melissa Smith 21:35
So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with all the great resources for this episode at www.drmelissasmith.com/148-confidenceblindspot. So one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/148-confidenceblindspot. So again, I will have links to some of those other podcasts for your reference and know that on social I’m on Instagram @dr.melissasmith, I always have deeper dive into these topics every single day on Instagram and I’d love to connect with you there. In the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai