A- A+

Cultivating Confidence in Your Team


June 5, 2024

I started my financial literacy work as a passion project. I would help others understand everyday personal finance concepts in a simple and objective way. This knowledge would help them get the most out of their income and live a more stable and happy life. More stable lives would create a more stable community and the world would slowly become a better place.

This world peace via individual financial stability plan sounds great. I’m guessing our state legislators had a similar dream in mind when they mandated personal finance classes in Iowa. But let’s face it, if having information or attending a class created confident individuals who regularly apply and act on the information provided, we would have a country full of citizens with a command of history, math and science.

Developing Confidence

As you can imagine, the reality of my work is much different than I had planned. I was surprised by how many clients had or quickly developed the knowledge needed to successfully manage their money. Problem solved, right?

Sadly, what a number of clients lacked was the confidence to execute on the knowledge they had. I kept running into the same situation. They had the knowledge. They knew what they needed to do. I could run the numbers. I could give them endless information. But I could not give them the confidence to do it. I quickly learned that competence alone doesn’t get the job done.

This reality took me down a long path of researching what confidence is and how to develop it. I wanted to find the key that would move someone from knowing to doing. I wanted to find this magic key for myself and those I was trying to help.

What I found was confidence is this tricky thing we are all familiar with but can’t explain and often misjudge. It is that little spark that moves us from knowing, to doing. We can have it in one area of our lives but not another. Some days we have it. Some days we don’t.

The ability to cultivate this mysterious spark is likely why I, and the rest of the country, have become Lisa Bluder fans. Coach Bluder’s track record of taking a group of young women and elevating them into a winning team is a master’s class in how to foster confidence.

Coach Bluder

Coach Bluder has provided me with hundreds of examples of how to apply the information I’ve learned about confidence. Until Bluder writes her own book, I recommend “The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Kay and Shipman do a deep dive into the research on confidence. They look at every angle and share the brutal truth with readers. Confidence can’t be learned by reading a book or taking a test. It is one of the hard-earned traits only gained from repeated attempts, real applied effort, leaving our comfort zone and surviving the inevitable imperfections that come with these attempts.

Learning the importance of confidence has been one of the biggest factors in my ability to help others. I witnessed the biggest shifts in clients after they got out of their comfort zones. The most dramatic was a woman working to pay off her debt. We had a plan in place. It was well-developed and met her goals. When she had the funds to pay off the bills, she froze. She no longer wanted to do it. She had a long list of reasons why it was no longer a good idea. The idea of being out of debt was so foreign to her it felt uncomfortable. Once she pushed past it, she took the leap and made the payments. A month later, she surprised me with a savings plan so she wouldn’t have to go back into debt due to future expenses. Once she got past the discomfort her whole view changed.

Finding Confidence Within

No matter how much we believe in or encourage others, true confidence only comes from within. The best we can do is provide opportunities and support to those willing to make the effort. What we can provide is an environment that supports the attempts and risk-taking needed. A space where action is considered progress even when it’s small.

Running a small business requires a special combination of confidence. You need confidence in your ability to run a business. And, like Coach Bluder, you also need to foster confidence in your team.

Encourage and support confidence building by encouraging action, attempts, effort and risk taking.

  • Action – It is required. Visualizing is good, but action must be taken for confidence to be built.
  • Attempts – Provide opportunities that allow for safe attempts.
  • Effort – Effort should be recognized. Even if it didn’t result in the outcome you wanted, hard work should be recognized.
  • Risk-Taking – Every attempt is a risk! Some are riskier than others, but every attempt is a risk. There is no way to build confidence without taking a risk, so look for ways to limit or mitigate.

To learn more tactics for boosting confidence and cultivating it in those around you, attend the Cultivating Confidence in Your Team session at the Small Business Success Summit on Monday, June 10 at the FFA Enrichment Center at the DMACC Ankeny campus.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.

Joey Beech

Joey Beech is an author and speaker. She combines compelling stories with proven research to move others forward. Prior to starting her own business, Joey was Executive Director of Ankeny Economic Development Corporation. She also has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.