Pursue What Matters
Episode 150: The Confidence Matrix
Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
is confidence always a good thing? That’s really been the question I’ve been asking on the past few podcast episodes. Now, I don’t want to scare you off, because confidence is a beautiful thing. But confidence is not always a beautiful thing. And so join me today as I share the confidence matrix with you, which can really help you find the balance when it comes to competence and confidence.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:48
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 of course, over the past few weeks, we’ve been unpacking confidence, we’ve talked about two common blind spots. When it comes to confidence, right, we’ve talked about the armchair quarterback syndrome and the imposter syndrome. So we’ve also talked about not getting stranded at the top of Mount stupid, and I shared with you the Dunning-Kruger effect, which, which really shows up when we’re looking at our skills and our confidence, our competence, and our confidence. And so today, we’re going to focus on finding that sweet spot of confidence, where you have trust in yourself and your skills, while still retaining humility and openness to learning.
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:39
So I don’t want to scare anyone off from confidence, because it’s so incredibly important when it comes to achieving our potential and contributing at our highest level. But there is some nuance when it comes to confidence. And of course, every week, my goal with the podcast is to help you pursue what matters. By strengthening your confidence to lead, I try to do that in three ways. So leading with clarity, where we help connect you to purpose, leading with curiosity, where we help to connect you with self awareness, for better self leadership. And then we try to help you lead and build a community by being aware of some of these factors that can facilitate effective leadership and some of the factors that may dampen that. And so today, primarily with the podcast, we’re really paying attention to both curiosity and community because this is so applicable when working with teens. But it’s also really focused on self awareness so that you don’t get trapped in some of these blind spots, and really help you to find that sweet spot of confidence. And so I’ve shared this definition before, right? When we think about a very simple definition of competence, it is a measure of how much you believe in yourself. And so I want to start with the first point here, which is, we need to understand that competence and confidence are not the same thing. So there’s a perfect example, in the different ways men and women approach a promotion or job interview.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:15
So now I’m not just, I’m not just sharing, anecdotally, there’s some very compelling research on this topic. So when it comes to, you know, leadership, development and Skills At Work, women tend to underestimate their skills, while men overestimate their skills. So this would be an example of women have more competence than confidence, while men have more confidence than competence. And so what we see how that how that plays out, is that women will not apply for a new position, whether that’s an internal promotion, or a new job, unless they are confident that they have 90 to 95% of the skills required for the job. So they keep themselves from ever applying, they keep themselves from from stepping up. And that’s a classic example of imposter syndrome. Now, on the flip side of that, men will apply confidently for the job, even if they only have 40% of the skills required for the job. Right. So they are not very competent, but they’re confident in those situations. And so this is a classic example of that armchair quarterback where confidence outpaces competence. And so what happens, right, the confident men apply for the jobs, and they get them because those competent women are not applying and so you could end up in a situation and I’m sure this has happened. It certainly happened for me before. But you get in a situation where you have an incompetent confidence Man leading right are in a hierarchical leadership role over a competent, but lacking in confidence woman, okay, oh, that’s like so miserable and it would be miserable on either side of that coin. Right? If it were, were if it were an incompetent woman leading a competent man, right? Like, that’s not the kind of equation that we want. But this happens all the time. And so women, right, the take home message from that research is that women underestimate their leadership skills, while men overestimate theirs. And this can have profound effects across the lifetime of a career. Because right that we think about promotions, we think about advancement, and it has a really big impact.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:46
And so of course, Competence and Confidence should go hand in hand. Right? That’s ideally how we want it to go. But in practice, this is often not the case. And of course, there are those two blind spots that we see when these two diverge, right when competence and confidence are not pacing in tandem with one another. So they’re opposite blind spots. And that, again, imposter syndrome is where competence exceeds confidence. And the quarterback syndrome is where confidence exceeds competence. So there’s an imbalance or what I would say is a lack of integration between confidence and competence. And so today, I’m going to share with you the confidence matrix to help you see how you and those you work with balance out. And we’ll give you some direction to cultivate greater integration between competence and confidence.
Dr. Melissa Smith 6:40
Okay, so the first point there is, we need to understand that competence and confidence are not the same thing. Now, let’s head to point two. So there are two components to consider when it comes to confidence. So remember that simple definition that I started with, it’s a measure of how much you believe in yourself. But now I want to break that down and make it a little more specific. So the two components that I want you to pay attention to, right, so we’re getting into nuance is your, your confidence in yourself, and your confidence in skill development, right in the process of, of gaining and attaining competence.
Dr. Melissa Smith 7:19
So first, let’s talk about the self, right? So this is your belief, and your confidence in yourself. So, right, when it comes to your relationship with yourself, we want you to have confidence in yourself, right? So you, you can be confident in your ability to achieve a goal in the future, we think about this as self trust, you have a belief in yourself, right? Like I can do hard things, I can tackle challenges, I can figure it out, and you trust in the characteristics that you’ve cultivated over your lifetime, right? Like I was able to do hard things in high school, I was able to do hard things in college. And I can do this hard thing now. And so it’s really very valuable to have confidence in ourselves, right, because it helps us to face challenges and to overcome fears. Along with that, we also need to have humility about ourselves.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:12
So right, when we think about this, you’re great, but you’re not perfect, right? You’re worthy, but you may not be competent, you have things to learn. And so this humility about yourself helps to create an openness to learning that can also create a commitment to cultivating the characteristics that will help you have more confidence in your ability to take intentional action in your life. So we think about some of the characteristics that humility can really help you develop, we think about grit, we think about resilience, perseverance, and guiding values that act as guideposts along your path. So that’s the first component to consider when it comes to confidence. We want to have confidence in ourselves. And we want to have humility about ourselves. And then the second component is skill development.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:07
Okay. And there are two components to this. So the first component is we want to have confidence in your process of skill development. So it’s important to acknowledge your skills. And have you write Have you received consistent feedback about your skills? Do you have external evidence of your skills of your competence? You maybe have time tested process of skill development, right. So when I think about my experience as a psychologist I had by the time I graduated, right 11 years of training, right on not all that was in psychology that also included undergraduate training, but a very specific process, a time tested process, external evidence of those skills, right. I took a lot of tests. I wrote a lot of papers. I had to, you know, had a dissertation And committee, so many checks and balances in that process of skill development. And it’s always important to remember that skill development involves discomfort, sacrifice, and yes, sometimes suffering. So if you look at your process of skill development, right, maybe you feel confident in your process of skill development. And you when when you get into the details, it’s like, okay, well, I watched a lot of YouTube videos, right? Was there anything about that? That was uncomfortable, that required sacrifice, that was sometimes downright painful. And if it’s like, no, but I’ve watched 5 million YouTube videos, I would just say you need to do you need to do a check on that confidence, because I don’t know that you have the skills you need. Now, I’m not trying to knock self learning through YouTube, I am actually a big fan of it. But you’ve also got to have some some on the on the ground, right? activities that are facilitating that skill development, it’s not enough just to learn, it’s not enough just to know, when it comes to skill development, we’ve got to do we’ve got to be doing. So you know, some of the other texts on that confidence is you’re doing things that have worked for others, you are seeking out mentorship and guidance. So there’s a path and it doesn’t have to be rigid you it can be a flexible path. But these are some of the factors that help you to have confidence in your process of skill development.
Dr. Melissa Smith 11:34
Okay. And then the second component of skill development is a commitment to ongoing skill development, because this is what’s true, you are never done. And if you think like that you are going to have, you’re going to be in a situation where you run the risk of being an armchair quarterback, because your confidence outpaces your competence. So you’ve got to embrace lifelong learning. So what do you have in place to stress test your ideas? How do you seek disconfirming evidence? Do you seek disconfirming evidence? It is uncomfortable, but it’s so important to really ensure that ongoing skill development, what mechanisms do you have in place to correct you when you’re wrong? Is there mentorship? Is there consultation? Is there supervision? I think about continuing education units, right? As far as ongoing professional development, that would all be part of this commitment to ongoing skill development. And then consider you what are your opportunities for feedback? How do you open yourself to diverse views, okay, so we want you to go through your paces, and really consider how these, how these may fit and work where you might need a little attention.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:49
Okay, so now let’s get to solutions. So of course, with the podcast today, I want to help you find that sweet spot of confidence. And this is where you have belief and trust in yourself to take on challenges while maintaining humility and commitment to on going skill development. So you’ll recognize those components of confidence that we just talked about. So first, we want you to have a belief and trust in yourself and your ability to grow. That’s really important because it helps us to get off of go, it helps us to take the next step, step because there’s oftentimes right when we have endeavors that we don’t necessarily have all the skills that we need. But do we have enough of a foundation to not only get going, but to be able to progress as we’re on that path?
Dr. Melissa Smith 13:43
Okay, so that’s the first part of looking at this sweet spot of belief and trust in yourself and your ability to grow. And second, humility and commitment to what is required to strengthen those skills. So you know, we think about your attitude towards yourself and your life. And some of the some of the features of that is that you see yourself as a learner, you see yourself as a doer, you always retain humility. You’re always committed to contributing your best gifts, right? There’s a commitment to excellence. There’s an opposition to mediocrity, there’s an opposition to complacency. We really have to be wary of those things. And so now let’s, let’s share this confidence matrix with you. Now I’ll have this image on social media. So there’s a good place to check it out. But I will describe it for you first. So right, we think about the intersection between our belief in ourself and our skill development.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:48
Okay, so this confidence sweetspot includes both both components. And so we think about having an insecure belief in yourself versus a secure belief For yourself, and when it comes to skill development, we think about the same thing. We think about an insecure, insecure skill development and a belief in sorry, and then a secure skill development. So right like how, how confident are you how, how stable is your process of skill development, okay. And so when we kind of match up these different features, we we see different results, right and how that shows up. And this can be particularly helpful when you think about working with other people, because you may see some of these things. So let’s just break this down. So if you have an insecure belief in yourself, and an insecure belief in your skill development, you will end up in a place of debilitating doubt. It’ll be hard to get off go, it will be hard to do anything, you’ll be constantly seeking for help, and you’ll probably be micromanaged. And now let’s go to the second component. So you have an insecure belief in yourself, but a secure belief in your skill development. And what do we see here, this is where we see obsessive inferiority. So your skills are really good, but you don’t believe in yourself. So we kind of think about perfectionist often in this category, because they’re always looking over their shoulder. They’re obsessive, because it’s like, I gotta get this right. And I don’t believe that I can get it right. Even though the skills are solid, the end, probably the performance and the outcome, the end result is probably very solid, but the process is painful and obsessive, and it really shuts down collaboration, and creativity. So then the next one, we think about a secure belief in yourself, and an insecure belief in skill development. Now, this is dangerous. This is where we see some of the Dunning Kruger effect and not as blind arrogance, we don’t know what we don’t know. And this right, we can, we can fall from the from the top of Mount mount stupid, but very often we take others along with us because we’re persuasive. And so we can lead people down a harmful path or an ineffective path at the very least.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:19
Okay, now let’s think about this last category, which is a secure belief in yourself, and a secure belief in your skill development. So what does that result in? And what I would say is that results in confident humility, okay, so humility is always a part of effective confidence. And so why is confident humility? The answer, right? Because right, maybe you would say, like, no, like, you should be really, like, you should go after it and know exactly what you bring to the table. And I would agree with that, right. But we also have to carry some humility with us. Because we recognize the world is constantly changing, we’ve got to be humble, because we rack we have respect for the nature of the challenges we’re taking on, we have respect for the work, you’ve also got to be willing to rethink your approach to problem solving. What worked 10 years ago might not work today, because factors have shifted, you’ve got to be open to new data, right? There’s always new research, there’s always new best practices, and so right, they shouldn’t be changing every five days. But you’ve got to be open to new data. And you’ve got to have humility and a willingness to learn something new learners are the leaders, right? So we really have to embrace that. And just recognize that the world is not static is always changing. And so are you. And so with that, there is the confidence matrix, right? So we really want to help you find that sweet spot, by having a belief and trust in yourself and your ability to grow, and humility and commitment to what is required to develop those skills. And of course, the sweet spot is this confident humility, where we are secure in our belief in ourselves and in our skill development, but we always have a healthy respect for the challenges we may encounter.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:22
So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with all the great resources for this episode www.drmelissasmith.com/150-confidencematrix. One more time, that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/150-confidencematrix. So of course you can find more great resources on Instagram. I’m social. I’d love to connect with you there at @dr.melissasmith. And of course, if you feel willing to leave a review on The podcast I’d so appreciate that. 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