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16 Dec, 2010

Confidence Trick by David Finney

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success

Confidence Trick by David Finney

Roles become redundant, not people. I have experienced seven mergers and 2 redundancies but I’m still here and now I run my own business – a role I have no intention of making redundant (although I may one day choose to retire with a house in the country near the coast). I have been an ‘Assistant’, a ‘Supervisor’, a ‘Manager’, a ‘Director’, a ‘Head of’, a ‘Trainer’, a ‘Coach’ and a ‘Managing Director’.

These are simply roles I have occupied, hats I’ve worn – chairs I’ve sat in.

Confidence is like an onyx table and naturally gets chipped from time to time especially if there is a lot of activity going on in the area. The trouble with confidence is that it sometimes gets handled with extreme, if obsessive care. There is a tendency to adopt the following (sometimes unconscious) mindset: if you like me and if you like what I do my confidence will be high; hence a confidence dependency is adopted.

Of course we need feedback from those around us so that we can improve, but what kind of trap are we setting ourselves if our confidence is wholly reliant on the words and actions of others? It’s a confidence trick that we are playing on ourselves. To define confidence we could look in the OED: “self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s abilities”. When facing a new challenge, we could view confidence like this: “I will go ahead and I will do it and whatever the outcome I will still feel good about myself and comfortable with who I am”.

The essence of this mindset is to keep confidence at a stable level – to manage it – and not to connect it wholly with success or positive feedback. It stands alone for it is only concerned with the root of our being and is not tied to the parts we play or the roles we perform. It means we work from a new base where constructive criticism is welcomed as an opportunity to improve and positive feedback is received in a relaxed state, never more than icing on an already strong cake-base.

by David Finney

13 Responses to "Confidence Trick by David Finney"

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December 16th, 2010 at 1:51 pm


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2 | Tweets that mention Confidence Trick by David Finney - Coaching Blog --

December 16th, 2010 at 2:05 pm


[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John@TCM, Sue Courtney. Sue Courtney said: Confidence Trick by David Finney: Roles become redundant, not people. I have experienced seven mergers and 2 red… [...]

3 | Alison Vaughan

December 18th, 2010 at 7:57 am


David, your item has just shown me where the light switch is!

I’ve just successfully completed a project management contract working with challenged communities and the role is ‘redundant’ at Xmas so ‘next moves’ are under consideration.

I’ll add your thoughts to my NLP toolkit.

Thank you so much.

4 | Lenka Krizova

December 18th, 2010 at 7:34 pm


Nice article….but staying confident even after many fallbacks also requires, having enough past successes and appreciations from others. These will make the fallbacks seem as a temporary fall with the view of a quick recovery as opposed to long-term state of incompetence.

5 | Peter Bennett

December 19th, 2010 at 11:36 am


Great blog David

I too have had many roles and many challenges. Some have gone well – some not so well. In the past my confidance as gone in and out like a tide, depending on what people said (or worse, what I imagined they were thinking!)

Coaching has helped me enormously in this area, which is why I’ve signed up for the 23rd Jan weekend – I look forward to it.

6 | Coral Jones

December 22nd, 2010 at 11:11 am


Great blog – food for thought.

In NLP terms someone’s confidence levels can depend a lot on their meta-programs and specifically on their ‘success orientation filter’. So if someone has the external or external check as part of that – in other words that they feel they need positive feedback from others to feel they’ve done a good job, it’s likely that their confidence will be affected if they don’t get it. One way of dealing with this is to learn other NLP tools to ensure the ‘chips’ can be repaired easily or that they don’t appear in the first place: reframing and anchoring are great tools for this and can also help manage ‘a long-term state of incompetence’ !.

7 | Marty

December 23rd, 2010 at 9:57 am


I’ve had more than a few occasions when my confidence has built, only for it to be very quickly and easily knocked down in the past. I once described my self esteem and confidence as “built of brittle clay”.

Recently, I’ve felt much stronger. As you have stated here, I’m less reliant upon dependance of positive feedback. I’m more reliant upon my gut feelings about a situation.

I love your reference to balance. It’s a key word I use in learning and sharing with others.

Great blog.

Thank you.

8 | Cherry Douglas

December 27th, 2010 at 4:14 pm


I love your suggestion that it is roles that become redundant, not people. That is such a great way of supporting people who have found their job has disappeared from under them. It is so easy to take this personally and feel that the rejection has been targeted specifically at them, but by showing that it is the role that has been ‘rejected’ they are able to still retain a strong sense of self worth.

Thank you David!


9 | Lin Rowland

December 27th, 2010 at 7:07 pm


Thanks for this – and for people’s comments. I run Personal/Self development workshops and am always collecting quotes/ideas to weave into their content.

I especially like the sentence re confidence being concerned with our “roots” and not the roles we play. I have always thought of this as the difference between confidence and self esteem.

For me, confidence comes and goes according to day to day external influences, self esteem, however, is built up over a life time and is the foundation that determines the level of impact that varying levels of confidence has on us. Although self esteem is also influenced by external factors, if it can be developed into a strong core it helps us cope when our confidence takes a knock.

10 | Sean Orr

January 6th, 2011 at 11:42 am


I recently have just had my role redundant, Truthfully I have been in depressive decline before Xmas, the doctor has put me on medication..but reading the blog is right, I am listening to my negative voice and I need to focus on the positive to rebuild my confidence…so build the core within you then then foundations and then the roof..You have a happy home..(Your Health)

11 | David Finney

January 18th, 2011 at 4:30 pm


Thank you very much for all the feedback.
Best Wishes,

12 | Coach In The Spotlight - Alison Rentoul | The Coaching Academy Blog

November 30th, 2011 at 10:05 am


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13 | Coach In The Spotlight - Glen Roughead | The Coaching Academy Blog

February 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm


[...] confidence, we need it now and we need it for the rest of our lives. I have found it’s one of the major aspects that holds people back, stopping them achieving anything and everything they’ve ever [...]

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