Building Your “COTE” of Amour

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
-Dale Carnegie

Last month we discussed the myths that surround performing under pressure. Hopefully you were able to examine the myths as they relate to your own life and began to refute at least one of them so that you could enhance your performance. This month we will explore the “COTE” of amour that Weisinger in “Performance Under Pressure”  presents as a way to addressing the myths to performance and pressure.

Let’s start with the “C” which stands for confidence. Weisinger suggests that confidence is the degree to which you believe you can influence a specific outcome. The good news about confidence is that is it malleable and can change over time so focusing on building confidence can bring about results. Brendan Burchard in “The Charge”  supports this belief and adds that competence and confidence are tied to performance success. He offers that there is a “competence-confidence loop” that builds upon competence. The more competence you feel the more confidence you feel which motivates you to take on more challenges successfully resulting in more confidence. Weisinger encourages us to evaluate our own levels of competence and then create a starting point for developing more confidence. Suggestions he makes to building confidence include; be at your best physically and mentally, seek feedback, create micro-successes by chunking down your goals, and take responsibility for your actions. Canfield in “The Principles of Success  also shares these beliefs most emphatically in the idea of taking responsibility for our actions. When we take responsibility for our actions we can effect change, when we do not we actually give our power away.

The “O” represents optimism. Weisinger contends that confidence shows up in the moment while optimism shows up on either side of confidence. Think about a recent activity that you may not have felt confident about. Your thoughts may have taken you into what wouldn’t be possible instead of what was. And then if we are less successful than we had wanted to be we beat ourselves up after the event. Weisinger encourages us to build an optimism vocabulary so when events happen when we are feeling a little less confident we are using words that spur confidence rather than diminish it. Achor in “The Happiness Advantage”  calls this “priming the brain” by flooding the brain with messages of optimism instead of negativity. Think about the words you are using on a daily basis to describe events in your life and determine where you might be able to take advantage of the “priming the brain” effect. Beyond basic words, you might consider using gratitude as a way of “priming the brain”. Just thinking about what you are grateful for prior to a difficult interaction or difficult event can increase your optimism quotient.

Next comes tenacity. Tenacity requires us to see setbacks as opportunities, leverage agility when experiences are not what

we anticipated or wanted, and encourages us to keep an open mind to learning new things. In order for us to be tenacious we have to know where we are going. Where are you focusing and do you maintain vigilance towards the things that are important to you? Have you established rituals that help you maintain effort towards your ultimate mission or goal? For example, if you goal is to write a new book, attain a new position, or even to lose weight you have to have rituals that will take you into success. Tenacity also requires us to potentially take a new direction when we are not successful. If you would like a new role in your organization but are not offered it, what else could you do? How could you use your skills to be successful in another area?

Finally, the “E” represents enthusiasm and the energy we bring to our endeavor. Enthusiasm is contagious and draws people to us. When we are not enthusiastic we appear cold, indifferent, lethargic, or even pessimistic. The energy we generate towards that which matters to us provides us with the boost that can take us into greater success. It also could enlist others in helping us achieve our goals. Weisinger suggest that we can increase our enthusiasm by doing things that energize us such as listening to music that motivates, recalling positive events from our past, and even taking a walk. Many of the leaders that I work with have a song they play when they need to generate energy and also know the songs that bring the energy up for their teams.

When you think about what you can do to strengthen your “COTE” of amour, what might be the first step? Which letter can you get most excited about and would you have the most success with if you tried to develop in that area? As always, I recommend that you find a small idea or behavior to work on as you manifest the best version of you.

To Your Success!
Dr. Peggy