Practice #3: Enjoy Connecting
Simply put, high performers have learn the tremendous value in relating with others. They’ve discovered that it is by connecting with others that they learn more about themselves and the world. It’s their connection with others that inspires greater congruence and competence. You know this, too. The more you work with others, the more you learn new ways of thinking, new skills, new ways of serving. That hit of learning is what high performers told me gives them so much drive to engage.
This is an important distinction, especially if you don’t consider yourself a “people person.” It doesn’t matter whether you are natural with others. What matters is this: “Do you want to learn from others? Will you take the time to do it? Will you genuinely try to engage someone and learn about how they think, what they need, what they stand for?” If you can summon that curiosity and talk to enough people with that intention, you will gain confidence. At least, that’s what high performers have shared with us.
High performers’ confidence, then, comes from a mindset that says, “I know I’ll do well with others because I’ll be genuinely interested in them because I want to learn.” In my interviews, no one said the opposite: “I know I’ll do well with others because I’ll make them genuinely interested in me, because I want to teach them who I am.” They are not thinking about their “elevator pitch” or what they have to tell everyone as much as about what they might learn or how they can serve. Confidence comes less from projection than from connection.
- The main reason I want to become better with people is …
- I know I’ll become more confident with people when I …
- To gain more confidence with people, from now on when I talk with them, I’ll think to myself …
A Formula and Farewell for Now
As you reflect these three confidence builders – competence, congruence, and connection – perhaps you’ve noticed an underlying theme. What drove the development for high performers in each of these areas was curiosity. It was curiosity that developed their knowledge, skills and abilities. Curiosity drove their self-examination. You have to ask a lot of questions of yourself to see whether you’re living a congruent life. Curiosity made them want to seek out others. Perhaps, then, there is a formula at play:
Curiosity x (Competence + Congruence + Connection) = Confidence
The promise of this equation is that you don’t have to pretend to be superhuman. You just have to care enough to learn new things, to live in alignment with who you want to become, and take interest in others. You’ll feel better about yourself, and research shows that curiosity itself can improve your well-being. Curiosity is the electric arc for life bright with joy and vibrancy. To get there, you just have to start conditioning the internal dialogue that says …
- I know what to do and how to add value here (or at least I believe in my ability to figure things out and I’m willing to go for it)
- I know I’m living in alignment with the person I want to become.
- I know I’ll do well with others, because I’m genuinely interested in learning about them and serving them.
I don’t pretend that becoming more confident or reaching high performance will be easy. Throughout this book, I’ve shared that the journey to becoming more extraordinary in life will always be brought with struggle. But as I’ve also shared, ease is not the objective in personal development; growth is. So anticipate and honor the fact that it’s going to be difficult to implement the habits and practices of this book.
- Seek Clarity on who you want to be, how you want to interact with others, and what will bring meaning into your life.
- Generate Energy so you can sustain focus, effort, and well-being. To stay on your A game, you’ll need to care actively for your mental stamina, physical energy, and positive emotions.
- Raise the Necessity of your level of performance. This means actively tapping into the reasons you must perform well, based on a mix of your internal standards (e.g., your identity, beliefs, values, or expectations for excellence) and external demands (e.g. social obligations, competition, public commitments).
- Increase Productivity in our primary field of interest. Specifically, you’ll need to focus on “prolific quality output” (PQO) in the area in which you want to be know and to drive impact. You’ll also have to minimize distractions (or opportunities) that steal your attention from creating PQO.
- Develop Influence with those around you so you can get them to believe in and support your efforts and ambitions. Without a positive support network, major achievements over the long haul are all but impossible.
- Demonstrate Courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others even in the face of fear, uncertainty, or changing conditions.
Seek clarity. Generate energy. Raise necessity. Increase productivity. Develop influence. Demonstrate courage. These are the six habits that you need to adopt to reach high performance and stay there. These are the habits that will make you more confident in life and even more extraordinary.
From now on, before every meeting you go into, before every phone call, before you start any new project or pursue any new goal, revisit the six habits.
I hope you wake up each day and decide to practice the habits that will make you proud of your life. I hope that as you endeavor to live an extraordinary life, you bring the joy and honor the struggle and seek to serve others. I hope that as you look back one day, having reached a level of performance you could never have dreamed of, you can say that you wanted it, you worked for it, you willed it to happen – that you never gave up and you never will. You became extraordinary because you chose to.
That reality, I believe, is something available to each of us. Now go earn it.