How Much Does Confidence Affect Our Performance at Work, Sport, and Home?

Tomorrow is that big basketball game, or perhaps it’s a work presentation or even a date you’ve been looking forward to. You go to bed with nervous anticipation churning in your gut. The feeling sticks with you overnight and well into the next day.

As much as you try not to, you feel anxious and concerned about how your confidence will affect your performance.

Confidence, or lack of, can indeed affect and hinder your performance. You may have limiting beliefs about yourself that puts a ceiling on your performance, or perhaps imposter syndrome or perfectionism makes you feel like you’re not good enough.

All three cases can stop you from living up to your true potential.

If you’ve found yourself in a similar predicament, this article is for you. In it, we’ll talk more about the ways that a lack of confidence can affect your performance.

We’ll also discuss why it’s so important to rebuild your confidence so you can begin doing your best every single day. 

How Does Lack of Confidence Affect You?

When we talk about performance, we don’t just mean athletic performance.

Yes, that’s part of it, but you perform regularly in your day to day life in many ways. Just take the examples from the intro.

A big presentation at work or school is a performance. Going out on a date and hitting it off is it’s own form of performance too.

You want to do your best at whatever performance is coming up on your calendar. Yet for one of several reasons, you have a hard time believing in yourself.

Let’s explore more how a lack of confidence may affect you.

Limiting Beliefs

Have you ever heard of the concept known as the glass ceiling? It’s often applied in professional settings, but you can have a glass ceiling on your personal life as well.

The glass ceiling is a metaphor for your cap in life. The ceiling prevents you from climbing any higher, so you stay where you are. Some people supposedly have a higher glass ceiling that lets them climb to the sky, while for others, it’s lower.

A limiting belief is much like that glass ceiling. Perhaps at one time, you believed the sky was the limit for you too. Then something happened, such as a comment from a boss or mentor, or a bad breakup with a partner or friend. Now you don’t believe in yourself the same way you once did.

You pull your own glass ceiling down so much lower because of your limiting beliefs. You may avoid certain scenarios and challenges that you once would’ve attempted because you feel like you’ll never succeed at them.

This is also known as conditioning. Quite simply, like an experiment once done with fleas in a jar, they would jump up and hit the lid of the jar, so they learned to jump only as far as just beneath the lid.

The most interesting part is when the lid was removed, the fleas still never jumped any higher, even though they were able to do so.

Imposter Syndrome

If you’ve experienced imposter syndrome, then you have likely tasted success, often in large doses. You may have done well in your professional or personal life that you were invited to industry events or speaking engagements.

When you meet others in business or at events, you can’t help but feel like they’re all better than you. The overwhelming feeling with imposter syndrome is that you feel you don’t deserve to be there. 

You literally feel like an imposter, hence the name.

You may go above and beyond to avoid your true feelings being revealed to others, because then they may think you’re a fraud as much as you do. This can drain your confidence, as you can surely imagine.

Perfectionism

Another area where your confidence issues may stem from is perfectionism.

As a child, you may have been told that no one was perfect, yet as you grew up, the demands and expectations began to become more and more. Even as you’ve advanced into a professional job.

You feel like you have to be perfect to excel in anything. Perfection can feel very literal, as in you cannot make a mistake ever. This can put a lot of pressure on you to do even everyday tasks flawlessly because you feel you must maintain a spotless record. 

Yet making mistakes is human, and happens to all of us, which is how we gain feedback and learn.

How Does Confidence Help Improve Performance?

confidence helps performance

You may believe you're an insecure person. To make up for that, you work that much harder, prepare that much longer, and obsess that much more so you hopefully get all the small details just right.

This is one way to go about it. Another more effective method is to work on improving your confidence.

A 2011 article in Psychology Today brings attention to a series of important studies done on confidence in performance.

The data confirmed that, besides having the ability, your confidence is as important to your success. According to the article: “confident people, regardless of their gender, tended to be more accurate.”

Just think of your favorite sports athlete and their success story. They believed in themselves, at times when no one else did, which allowed them to ascend to the lofty heights they now enjoy in sports superstardom.

When you go out there and perform,­ be it in sports, work, or anything really, and you have that solid belief in yourself, you may find that you exceed even your own expectations.

It’s not that your physical ability has necessarily gotten better, but that you’re not held back from your damaging, limiting beliefs about yourself. You can focus more on the task at hand.

What Causes Lack of Confidence?

You’re on a quest to fix and build your confidence so you can finally begin performing to your full potential.

In doing so, it helps to understand what may have caused your self-esteem to have plummeted in the first place.

Here are a few common causes of low confidence.

Past Mistakes

That time you failed a test or didn’t get promoted strongly affected you when it happened. Years later, you still feel haunted by those mistakes.

You may believe, if you didn’t do well enough once, how will you ever succeed again, especially in the same type of situation?

The People in Your Life

Those who we choose to surround ourselves with play a big role in our self-confidence. Unfortunately, you don’t always get much of a choice.

For example, if your parents treated you poorly or were negative, this can mold you into an insecure person.

The same goes for being bullied at school or dating a partner that treats you badly.

If you can identify relationships that hinder your confidence today, it may be worth thinking about spending much less time with them.

Traumatic Events

Did you experience a past trauma? Perhaps you were emotionally or physically abused at one point in your life. These and other traumatic events can cloud your mind and take over your life.

Your self worth drastically decreases, which makes your performance gravely suffer as well. If you've suffered a traumatic event i encourage you to seek help and advice from a counsellor or medically trained individual.

Why Is Confidence So Important?

As you work to boost your confidence, you will surely have setbacks. These happen to everyone and should not make you give up. On those days when you feel especially insecure, remember these reasons to work on improving your confidence.

Makes It Easier to Connect

A confident person can walk into any room and find something to talk about with everyone there.

Networking like this can open up new professional and personal opportunities. You may learn of a job opening that would have otherwise alluded you. You can also make your new best friend this way.

Can Influence Success

When you envision your success, you can then perform well and achieve your goals. The bigger your record of successes, the easier it is to feel confident in your abilities.

This confidence will allow you to keep growing, be that at a hobby or in your work life.

Makes You More Attractive to Others

Confidence is Attractive

If you’re trying to expand your inner circle, working on your confidence level will help.

Although everyone has bad days, where they feel less than worthy, someone who projects confidence is typically happier. It’s also easier for others to believe in them.

These traits make you a more attractive person to be around. This should allow you to succeed if you’re single and dating as well.

Improves Your Life

How much time do you lose agonizing over major events you’re afraid you’ll screw up?

How unhappy does it make you feel? How dejected are you as you experience failure after failure in your life?

As you become more confident and your self-esteem grows, many of the failures become less and less. 

When you do fail, you’ll have the tools to bounce back faster. Plus, as we said before, you’re happier in your life, which makes every day that much more enjoyable.

Conclusion

A lack of confidence can affect your performance, however, the good news is that - as your confidence develops - your performance improves too.

Many psychological studies have proven that yes, how you feel does indeed influence how you’ll do on that test, sports game, date, or work presentation.

Whether your lack of confidence goes back to your childhood or started later in life from imposter syndrome or limiting beliefs, it’s possible to turn your mindset around

When you do, you’ll notice it becomes easier to achieve your goals!

Now it's over to you, comment below with your thoughts and progress.

  • Steve
  • Updated June 14, 2020
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