If you look in the dictionary under the word “confidence,” you might find a picture of actor Daniel Craig. Or, to be more precise, James Bond, the dashing secret agent played by Craig.
Confidence? Regardless of who was playing him, Bond has always been a pretty confident fellow. However, Craig’s Bond seems to take that confidence to a whole new level. Steely eyed and unflinching, the unbridled confidence Craig displays in his most recent Bond film, Spectre, is nearly unmatched in the annals of the Bond franchise.
It’s important to note that the Craig-era Bond isn’t infallible. In fact, in the evolution of the character through four Bond films, Craig’s character is full of doubt, fear and self-loathing.
However, when it comes time to do the job, it’s all calm and confidence. When the competition is fierce and we need to perform at peak, there’s a lesson we could take from this and apply in our working lives.
Let’s face it—we all suffer through periods where we lack the confidence to put in our best performance. Sometimes, we lack confidence because we lose faith in our ability to perform. Other times, it could be because we have experienced a past failure that has left us off balance.
Other times, our lack of confidence could come from a career setback, such as the loss of a job, or because we are taking on new challenges that take us outside our comfort zones.
Regardless of the cause, it’s important for us to apply what I would call the “Bond protocol” in our careers. This is where we work on building and maintaining confidence for those times when we need it the most.
How exactly can we do that? Consider these three simple techniques and tactics:
- Competence builds confidence. Many times, confidence comes from being able to do some thing or many things well. Reflecting on your capabilities, and reminding yourself that you are good at doing certain things, will help you to project a confident demeanor. Also remember you are capable of learning. Mostly everything we do we had a point in our lives when we did not know how to do that. You really need to see yourself succeeding by recalling instances where you did what you were best at and by remembering your ability to learn. Then, project that confidence to others.
- Look the part. Bond wouldn’t be bond without the Omega watch and the finely tailored suits. There is no doubt that before we even say a word, our physical appearance speaks for us. Think of it as your confidence projection. Everything from your body language, to your posture, expression, tone and handshake are all common indicators of confidence. The video and audio recording technology you hold in your hand can be used to help you become more self-aware of how you are or are not projecting confidence. Call your own voicemail and record yourself saying what you want to say to someone else. Listen to it and evaluate if you hit the mark. Video yourself speaking and evaluate your body language and facial expressions. Do you look confident and if not, why not?
- Fake it until you feel it. It is possible to project confidence without actually feeling confident. For example, many people have butterflies in their stomachs or feel like they are going to pass out before a public performance of some type, and no one can even tell. A strategy to help in these situations is to focus on something other than your lack of confidence and use a positive reinforcement tool to inspire you to project a confident attitude. For some it is an affirmation or mantra. For others, quotations, spiritual sayings and even song lyrics can inspire them to exude an attitude of confidence and optimism they may not fully feel.
Not all aspects of the Bond protocol would serve you well in the workplace. But Bond’s ability to seize the moment by summoning reserves of confidence—even when he is not physically or emotionally at his best—is a lesson that we could all learn from and apply to our careers.