Do You Need Confidence, Or Courage?

22nd Mar 2016


Lately I’ve noticed a little trap that people can fall into. One they set themselves up for. Like so many barriers to our own success, it comes down to a choice of words.

That choice is between ‘confidence’ and ‘courage’.

Example: A client says she needs to build up the confidence to put a contentious issue on the table with her executive team. I ask her does she need confidence, or courage?

What’s the difference, you might ask? Surely we’re talking semantics? Let me suggest otherwise.

Courage is what you have when you face something scary, and you do it anyway. Confidence is what you have after you’ve done it.

Courage is a leap of faith. Confidence is backed by experience.

Courage comes from wanting something badly enough that you’ll do what it takes. Confidence is knowing you can do it.

Courage shows us we’re capable of more than we thought. Confidence sustains us at that new level.

You can have courage without confidence.

It’s easier to hide behind a lack of confidence, when actually, what you’re saying is that you have a lack of courage. If you reframe it so it’s about having courage, not confidence, it’s a different game you’re playing. Courage comes from a deeper place than confidence. One you can tap without having to have been there before.

In a world where we’re daily facing new situations without a blueprint, we need more leaders with courage, not just confidence.

So, for your next gnarly challenge, what do you need?


Now, read “The Source of Courage”, the next post in this series.

Like this post? You’re only getting half the story. Sign up to my ‘Fresh Thinking’ newsletter, delivered monthly to your inbox.

Photo: Digby Scott

10 thoughts on “Do You Need Confidence, Or Courage?

Comments are closed.