Understanding Situational Confidence (& How to Get Past it)

Situational confidence is a very interesting concept, and something I’ve only really wrapped my head around in the last few months. In its most basic form, it is the manner of having confidence only in certain situations and then turning into a shy, less identity aware person when you are not in those situations or environments. This post is going to look at some examples of what situational confidence might be (some will surprise you but you will recognise them), why it is not a good thing to have and how you can move on from that so you can let the real you shine through more often.

Examples of Situational Confidence

When I go out to clubs, which can easily be 4 or 5 nights a week (I very rarely drink), I often see groups of guys trying to act alpha and macho and up in your space. A few weeks ago, when I went out with a few buddies, a group of about 4 guys were trying to act cool by insulting the dancing of others or how they looked; all of them were joining in. When myself and my friends were dancing, these guys came onto the dance floor and of course doing nothing but basic rocking so that nobody could really insult or mock how they were acting. When 3 of the guys left and one was all alone, I seen a complete change in his actions. Now he was trying to be friendly to myself and my friends whilst it was clear he had lost all confidence he had with his group. He relied on them to act cool and have a good time, without them he had nothing but anxiety. This is just one example, there are many forms of situational confidence that can happen:
  • Your manager or boss who is very authoritative and confident at work might become shy in a nightclub environment
  • A barman who is very used to his environment and can act confident around women might change when he has to give a lecture to 100 students
  • A celebrity who relies on their looks that has an accident that results in physical scarring will lose their confidence
Everybody has situations where they are more confident, whether it is an athlete on the sports field or your favourite bar where you feel at home and know more people, it isn’t a rare thing. However, if you are stuck in situational confidence and don’t feel as comfortable in other environments then you need to learn to get past that.

How to Overcome Situational Confidence

Being able to overcome situational confidence is not always an easy feat. Whether you can be confident in any situation is unknown until you are in a new environment or moment you’ve never experienced before. There are some steps to help with this aspect of your life that I’m going to share below. With these, hopefully you can express the real you by plugging in to your identity in more situations than usual and showing the world the real you on a more regular basis. Push your Usual Boundaries No matter how big or small your personal boundaries are, if you can push them you can begin to grow. So for example, if you are fearful of wearing a pink shirt because people might laugh at you but you actually want to wear it then actually do it. Or if you want to speak at an industry conference of 1,000 people when you usually speak in front of 50 but are too shy then push your boundaries to help you grow. The interesting but real truth about pushing your boundaries is that you’ll laugh at why you were worried about something in the first place. The barman might struggle to lecture 100 students, but if he keeps at it and pushes his boundaries he’s going to improve in that area and in general. Stop Caring what Other People Think This is one of the biggest filters that people face to stop them showing who they really are, and will definitely have a blog post of its own in the future. Once the boss is out of his office environment and in the nightclub, he starts to worry about what people think of him and wonders how he is supposed to act. Instead of carrying his confident qualities into a new environment he leaves them at the office. Once you start pushing boundaries and doing things without caring what other people think (obviously don’t go crazy and be violent or break the law) you’ll start to realise that people don’t care as much as you think they would. You’ll also start to realise that if you can be confident in situations or when taking certain actions, people will fall into your reality and go along with whatever you are doing as being cool or normal. Don’t base your Identity on anything except Yourself You are not the clothes you wear, you are not your job, you are not your material possessions. You are you, it is that simple. Another reason it is easy for people to lose confidence in certain situations is because they have based their identity around who they are in other environments. The millionaire might not be comfortable in a club he doesn’t own because he doesn’t have the validation of people knowing he is rich or owns the place and thus loses confidence in himself. If you were forced to go to a party in clothes that were a lot less stylish than you would usually wear or without doing your hair, would you be as comfortable than if you had of dressed up? If the answer is no then you are basing aspects of your identity around how you look and what people think. Of course there is no harm in wanting to look nice, but if it affects your confidence positively or negatively then it is something you can work on. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m nowhere near being confident in all situations, but I’m definitely on the right track by pushing my boundaries and beginning to not care what people think. I would love your thoughts on this!

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