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The success of your future is shaped by your passion to increase your competence.

Leadership Coaching Key:

Your professional career will only rise to the level of your incompetence. You will rarely be promoted beyond your competence levels.

Lisa Lane Brown played ringette for Team Canada for ten years, winning three world championships, in her book, Courage to Win, she says:

Competence is having superior technique. There are proven success principles governing money, relationships, and career. When you learn them and then internalize them, you develop superior technique . . . The future belongs to the competent. To win, you need superior technique. Few people train themselves long enough to discover how excellent they can truly be.

When your confidence increases, your competence increases at the same time. It is important to understand the relationship and synergy between confidence and competence.

  • Competence: The ability to do something.
  • Confidence: Your belief about your competence.

Confidence without competence can be a very dangerous combination. An absolute recipe for disaster consists of people who lack competence yet have unjustified confidence. For example, you can be confident that you can fly an airplane. However, if you tried to fly an airplane with no training, your outcome would spell DISASTER!

Conversely, competent people who have tremendous skills, wisdom, and understanding yet lack confidence will never act on what they know. I had the competence to run ten miles with my track coach. However, I did not have the confidence in my abilities to achieve the goal of becoming a winning track and field athlete. Competent people without confidence will end up stuck where they are because they refuse to act.

Therefore, you need both competence and confidence to operate and perform at your full potential. Confidence in the end result can fuel the training and equipping that competence requires. Muhammad Ali said it this way: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” In another arena, Dolly Parton added this perspective, “I have more confidence than I do talent, and of the two, confidence is the main achiever of success.”

Leadership Coaching Key:

Confidence without competence is dangerous.

For years I had conditioned my mind to think, I can’t. So I would not attempt to do anything new in my life. Once I realized this negative programming, I reset my mindset by constantly telling myself, in challenging circumstances or when trying something new, Yes, I can!

A few days before going to a conference, my wife mentioned that she needed a haircut before we left. However, the beauty salon was booked for the week, and she could not get an appointment. At that time, a popular hairstyle was to have it shaved short in the back. Well, with my new “Yes, I can!” attitude I sold her on the idea that I could take the trimmers and cut her hair for her. As I started with a #4 comb on the trimmer, I had difficulty cutting her hair, so I thought I would try to freehand without the guard. Well, you guessed it. The trimmer slipped and took a section of hair all the way down to her scalp.

I had all the confidence in the world. The problem: I did not have any competence.

One’s only security in life comes from doing something uncommonly well.

—Abraham Lincoln

The secret of power is the method by which the fire of youth is translated into the knowledge of experience. Competence is attained through hard work, increasing skill, and the pursuit of excellence.

Every study of high-achieving men and women proves that greatness in life is only possible when you become outstanding at your chosen field. The foundation of lasting self-confidence and self-esteem is excellence, mastery of your work.

—Brian Tracy, business authority