Learn to call upon the self-assured mindset
If you are not a naturally self-assured person, this quality may feel elusive to you. How can other people speak out so confidently, even when no one else agrees? Where does their courage come from? Why aren’t they as phased by setbacks?
All people have some mindsets that come naturally, and some that take more effort to tap into. No one mindset is better than another, or more indicative of emotional intelligence. Rather, all tendencies are valuable at different times, depending on the demands of the situation at hand.
Self-assured is one of the eight Agile EQ mindsets. If it is one of yours, see Your self-assured mindset in Agile EQ. For other folks, let’s look at ways to stretch into self-assuredness, and discuss when and why you may want to.
Why do it?
In many settings, people don’t take you seriously unless you project confidence in your own ideas and abilities, even if you’re second-guessing yourself on the inside. When you downplay your ideas or speak tentatively, it can come across like you’re doubting yourself, which is an invitation for others to doubt you as well. Practicing the self-assured mindset is a good way to give your ideas a fighting chance.
Situations that may call for the self-assured mindset
The goal of Everything DiSC® Agile EQ is to help people learn which mindsets are most appropriate or effective in a given situation, and to be comfortable calling on them, even if they take more effort than instinctive reactions. You might need to be self-assured when:
- making your needs known
- leading a team or project
- inspiring a sense of confidence in your abilities
- making a case for a course of action
- signaling your conviction in an idea or belief
How to be more self-assured
Recognize your thoughts
The ways to practice the self-assured mindset will be different for people of different DiSC styles. That’s because everyone is driven by different automatic thoughts that subconsciously direct their choices and behaviors. Being more self-assured may mean pushing against thoughts such as:
- It’s OK if I don’t get what I want.
- It’s safer to keep a low profile.
- It’s arrogant to assume I know best.
- I want to do what’s best for the team.
- I don’t want to be a burden.
Once you recognize these thoughts, you can be more intentional about setting goals toward comfort with the self-assured mindset. The intensely personalized Agile EQ profile (see sample) presents beginner, intermediate, and advanced goals for each learner. These goals are based on how they answered the assessment questions, their own natural mindsets, and how much effort it takes them to stretch into the mindset in question. Some example goals for being more self-assured are:
- I’m comfortable questioning ideas or policies that don’t make sense to me.
- I tend to state my opinions firmly and confidently, even if I know they will be unpopular.
- I’m OK being a little blunt with a colleague every once in a while.
- I push back if I think I’m handling a bigger workload than is fair.
- I typically take on leadership opportunities when they present themselves.
The small, daily steps that will help move you toward these goals are different for everyone and are laid out in detail in the Agile EQ report. But in general, here are some tips for being more self-assured:
- Don’t overprotect yourself from mistakes. You might be wrong. It’s OK.
- Develop a realistic view of the stakes of sharing your opinion.
- Develop clear ideas of what you want.
- Be up-front about what you believe.
- Use language that projects confidence and expertise.
- Get better at delegating.
- Take charge even if you don’t feel like an expert.
If you are not a naturally self-assured person, you’ll likely feel discomfort as you begin this work. You’ll probably make mistakes. If you do, congratulations! You’re learning and building a new skill. Have you ever started lifting weights after not exercising for a while? Your muscles ache. You are frustrated at not being stronger and dispirited at the long road ahead. But if you do just a little bit, most days, you start to see progress. Your body responds to what you are asking of it, and you build new habits.
Emotional intelligence is a skill, and as such, it improves with practice. The research shows that anyone can develop agility and EQ, no matter their starting point. Once you begin, it’s quite empowering to realize all the options available to you in a given situation—to know that your natural reaction is not your only choice.
See also: Your self-assured mindset in Agile EQ