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Remember how we described belly buttons as kids as “innie’s” or “outie’s”? Well, I got to thinking this week that maybe there is more to this description than the mere staring at our navel exercise. In fact, I think it relates to our Confidence. Is your confidence level derived from the inside or the outside? Do you look outward for confidence and approval, waiting for others to tell you you’re good enough or do you look inward to remind yourself of your value and worth? In other words, is your Confidence an “innie” or an “outie”?

If it’s an “innie” and you look inward to monitor your own behavior against your own measure of what is right or wrong for you, appropriate or inappropriate, successful or not quite there, then you’ve got skills. Keep that up and at the same time, resist the temptation to be too hard on or too impatient with yourself. I must say I speak from experience here, but I think all contagious Leaders with a sense of Contagious Confidence have likely been here once or twice at a minimum.

However, if your confidence is an “outie” and you look for others to tell you if you’re okay or worthwhile or not, here are a few reasons to discontinue that practice and make some worthwhile modifications:

1. Looking outward subjects you to the needs and paths of other people. Most people have a hard time separating what they need from what might be best for you. They don’t typically do it intentionally, but they will reinforce in you what they really want for themselves.  Why not just be you and trust your own instincts about what works best for you in most cases?

2.Looking outward gives others control. Now if you are a control freak, this may be a big problem for you, but even if you don’t attend Control Freaks anonymous meetings, why would you give someone else control over your own life, your own path, and much less your own impression of your self worth?

3.Looking outward creates instability. Do you really want your sense of confidence and whether or not you like yourself, think you can do great things, or think you are a great person to be subject to the mood of whomever you’re asking that day? We all have bad days and ups and downs so relying on others to tell you if you’re great or not will depend on whether or not they are in the mood to comply or agree or lift you up. That is a shaky foundation upon which to build your confidence level and candidly, just like your mood is contagious, if someone rode their broom into work, you don’t want that to rub off on you inadvertently, too, do you?

For these reasons and many others, consider being an “innie”. Consider deriving your own sense of self worth and confidence from your internal knowing and beliefs that you are wonderful and worth while and frankly, able to conquer the world. The truth is you can do, be or have anything you want if only you will believe you can.

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