My oldest son is one of the most confident people I know. At 4, he was on his first set of skis and by 9 was confident he could snowboard…and he did. He felt confident that if he ran for school president as a 5th grader in a K-8 school, he would win. He didn’t learn to ride a bike until he was 10 and when I asked if he thought he could do it, he confidently said, “Of course I can.” I have a ton of examples of his confidence. But, is confidence enough to get through really tough challenges? Or, do you need something else?
Self-esteem vs. Self-efficacy
There is a difference between self-esteem, which is “having confidence or satisfaction in oneself” and self-efficacy, which is having confidence that your skills and strengths will enable you to work through and/or successfully complete tough challenges and/or problem solve. Think of self-efficacy as the combination of self-esteem, strength, self-respect, motivation, and the belief you have control over the outcomes of events in your life.
Benefits of Self-Efficacy
While both low self-esteem and low self-efficacy can contribute to anxiety and depression, the benefits of having high self-efficacy have a lasting impact on goal fulfillment, problem solving, and increase in your well-being which also leads to a higher self-esteem. Take a deep look inward and think about your self-efficacy. Is it as high as you’d like it to be? If not, there is good news as you can boost your self-efficacy. Below are some ways you can boost your self-efficacy:
- Good role models – find good role models who seems to have high self-efficacy and learn from them.
- Have a cheerleader (or a group of cheerleaders) – be sure they are authentic and able to truly support and be genuinely happy for you and your accomplishments.
- Use your strengths – know what you are good at and use those strengths regularly rather than only focusing on where you might improve. If you don’t know your strengths, take the free VIA Character Strengths assessment.
- Manage your stress levels – this could be through meditation, exercise, or a combination of whatever works for you.
- Create mastery experiences – these experiences are when you take on a new challenge and succeed. So create opportunities for you to be successful in your day.
- Savor your wins – take time to appreciate and bask in the feelings you get from an accomplishment or any of your wins, including small tasks and those mastery experiences.
- Own your worth – you are good enough as you are today, what you bring to the table is needed and desired so own your worth! (This is self-respect!)
As you have new experiences, take risks, acquire new skills, and keep putting your efforts towards succeeding in all you do, your self-efficacy also keeps growing. And, in the growth of your self-efficacy, you are more likely to have new experiences, take risks, acquire new skills, and keep putting your efforts towards succeeding. It’s a virtuous cycle that has amazing benefits.
With my son, I definitely see self-efficacy in some areas. His desire to try snowboarding came from his belief that his skills acquired through skiing would also enable him to snowboard. In many instances, he knows his strengths. However, he is still young and has a lot more life experiences in front of him. My goal is to support him in finding ways to continue boosting his self-efficacy and to point out his abilities and strengths, not just telling him how awesome he is (though he is pretty awesome).
CEEK a Better Way and start today in boosting your self-efficacy and support others in building their self-efficacy.