A Coaching Power Tool created by Steven Pfeifer
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Henry S. Haskins
When we hear the word Confidence what comes to mind? Do we conjure up thoughts of strength, beauty, wealth, or prominence? The interesting thing is that all of these associations have little to do with confidence. Confidence is that inner voice that tells us that we can do it. It affects how we look at and value ourselves. Confidence is that appreciation of our unique abilities that fosters within ourselves strength, beauty, wealth, and prominence. It enables us to step out in to the open and show who we truly are.
Dependence is a hindrance and roadblock to confidence. It is relying on others. Dependence deflects and diverts our attention from improving ourselves and puts the onus of responsibility on someone else. When we are dependent on others then we do not allow our values, beliefs, capabilities, and true personality to shine forth.
One of the key ingredients in a flower’s development is sunlight. When sunlight shines directly on a flower without any obstructions, it receives the necessary exposure in order to properly grow. Conversely, if a flower is blocked or shaded, it will not obtain the essential elements required to develop. The same is true with confidence. When we are driven by confidence, we are strong enough to stand out alone. But unlike with the flower’s external power source, the sunlight, it is our inner light, in other words, our unique abilities, which are fueled by our confidence that illuminates us. When dependence appears, it blocks us from growing. Our internal glow is shielded by the reliance on others and the inability of our unique radiance to shine.
The Why, What, and When of Dependence
There are a few questions we can ourselves when we approach dependency. Why are we dependent? What does dependency feel like? When does dependency appear? People who are dependent are not unchangeable, stuck, or one-sided beings that are frozen in one place forever. This state of mind is a habit and with a little bit of awareness, we can shift perspective to be confident. These questions need to be addressed as we dig deep into the minds and emotions of ourselves.
- Why are we dependent?
We tend to be dependent because we see ourselves as being prone to mistakes, making the wrong decisions, or sometimes being influenced by others rather than by ourselves. We gravitate to the security of avoiding responsibility knowing that we can’t fail if we don’t have to try.
- What does the dependent person feel like?
How we feel can at times make us become dependent. When we are afraid, shy, desire acceptance, or have a sense of low self esteem, we are more inclined to become dependent.
- When does dependency occur and affect our lives?
Dependency affects us in major and minor situations alike. When events happen and we can’t move to be proactive, we are stuck in dependency.
This can occur in:
- Our jobs
- Our relationships
- Our education
- Or even matters involving our personal taste.
Let us look at the following situation. Fred has been working as the office manager of his company for the past twenty years. His responsibilities have been taking blank order sheets and giving them to the ten other employees in the office. They then call various stores to see if they would like to place orders. Fred then calculates the orders, organizes them according to when they need to be shipped, and electronically enters the data. He then hands them back to Rick, his supervisor.
Rick has been with the company since its inception. He has now decided he is retiring within the next six months. Rick feels that Fred would be the ideal replacement and recommends him to Mr. Williams, the owner of the company. Mr. Williams calls in Fred to inform him of the news and of the great opportunity that awaits him. The job offers more money, better benefits, and more responsibility. Fred starts to quiver in his seat as he considers working without Rick guiding him. What if he encounters something with which he is unfamiliar? What if he makes the wrong decision? Mr. Williams tells Fred that he must know whether he is accepting the position within the next twenty four hours. As Fred leaves for home, the images of failure keep flashing before him. The next day, Fred enters Mr. Williams’ office and says, “Thank you but no thank you. I think I will pass.”
Fred has been doing a great job all these years as the office manager. However, he lacks the confidence and is mired in dependency so much so that he can’t get past it.
Confidence is Security
When we are discussing confidence, we must first examine what makes us confident. Confident people are not perfect; they too make mistakes and wrong decisions. If this is the case, from where does this confidence originate? Confident people live with the awareness that yes, mistakes will happen; wrong decisions may occur; and even failure could result. But why focus on these outcomes when success, opportunity, and achievement could happen.
What confident people feel is empowerment, desire to move forward, and accomplishment. They, at times, also feel fear and shyness but this does not play a central role in their decision making. An example of the differing approaches of a confident person versus a dependent one is as follows: Two people reach the edge of a swimming pool. One places his foot into the pool to see if it is cold. If it is too cold and uncomfortable, he immediately removes his foot. This is dependency. His thought process is that this experience is different from what he is used to and he doesn’t want to go in. The second fellow jumps right in. It is still cold but before he knows it, he is swimming and it is comfortable. This is the confidence that supports his decision. When life situations arise that are challenging, confident people take charge of themselves and move forward.