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The Rewards of Building Your Confidence is Life Changing

I recently taped a radio program during which the host asked what I mean when I refer to “backbone.” We hear the word used in many different contexts and although most of us have a sense of what it means, we’re hard-pressed to define it.

As the author of “How to Grow a Backbone,” here’s what I mean. Backbone is a strong and healthy way of living that is comprised of three elements: Competence, Confidence, and Risk Taking. These elements are intertwined, much like a strand of DNA, and they work together to create the character known as backbone.

Competence is a state of being well qualified; it comes as a result of gaining skill. You build competence every day of your life, sometimes without being conscious of it. Think of all the things you know how to do as you go about daily routines, engage in hobbies or recreational activities, operate appliances and equipment, and participate in relationships. Each time you learn something you build competence.

Confidence is what happens when you start to get good at doing things. You feel a sense of mastery and comfort with your life. You feel stronger, happier, and more willing to continue moving forward when your confidence grows. Increased confidence arises from expanded confidence and allows you to take intelligent, purposeful risks.

Risk taking is the backbone element that tends to raise anxiety in some people. Each person has his or her own interpretation of risk, developed as a result of accumulated life experiences. Risk taking, by definition, involves a measure of winning and losing. How well you deal with loss will depend to a great extent on your confidence in approaching any situation.

The way you define risk determines the rate of your forward progress. If you perceive risk in small things like asking a question or sharing an observation, chances are good you will progress at a slower rate than people who are willing to take bigger chances. It is also true that one person’s risk is another person’s routine.

So there’s the backbone equation: Competence, skills built over time and with practice, plus Confidence, the self-assurance that comes with mastering skills, equals the ability to Take purposeful Risk.

What is the result?

People who have a strong and healthy backbone speak their minds, think independently, fear no opposition, can be trusted for their honesty, can take a stand and maintain it, and can tell others what their position is and why. They exude self-assurance, focused positive energy, attentiveness, courtesy, and authenticity. People with backbone often radiate joy at being one of a kind.

Growing a trustworthy backbone takes time, attention, and practice. It is not a quick or simple process, but the rewards of doing the work can be truly life-changing.

Categories: General Advice

About Susan Marshall

Susan Marshall

Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.