Courage Over Confidence

One of the things I've found challenging over the years relates to being confident. It's kind of weird, because in some ways I feel like I've been supremely confident in what I can do. But like many, it's often coupled with a bad case of imposter syndrome.

I heard something today that made me feel slightly more comfortable with this. I was listening to an interview with Debbie Millman who hosts a podcast called Design Matters. She talked about confidence being less important than courage.

True confidence comes from experience. You've been in that situation multiple times before and you know you can handle it. You've got a track record.

It takes a lot of time to develop a track record or build a body of work. If you're starting out in a new area, trying a different approach, or innovating in any way you won't have prior experience in it. You might have an inherent belief that you're capable of it, you might have experience of demonstrating those skills, but you haven't proven yourself in the past. This means there's a chance that it might not go as intended. You could fail. This is where the courage comes in. Taking something on even though you're not quite sure if it will work out as intended.

I will take courage over confidence every time, and for one important reason. Confidence might make me feel safe and assured, but courage takes me new places. It allows me to test my boundaries and find the edges of my capabilities. To have courage provides you with the opportunity to get out of the rut and get moving from somewhere you happen to be, toward a place you want to be.


You may also like: