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I often talk and write about the importance of having self-confidence for business success. I believe that when you connect with your value proposition, you can talk about your accomplishments and talk up your business with confidence and authenticity, and that most people associate your confidence with competence.

But here’s another take on the subject. According to author, Margaret Heffernan’s article for CBS News,

The best work isn’t done when you’re confident. The best work comes from pushing yourself beyond what you know you can do. 

And she quotes Steven Spielberg on the topic:

You know how many movies, I woke up in the morning, gotten to the set and said, ‘What the bloody hell am I going to do today? I have no idea how to attack this scene.’ All the planning that I did from the safety of my office is no longer valid because the day, the weather we have, the new ideas the actors came to the set with that morning, have trumped every single of my best laid plans and I have to start from scratch.

 I get stage fright every single morning. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be a director. You can’t make a great movie from a position of great confidence. The more nervous I am, I think the better the films turn out. Confidence sometimes is a bit of an enemy.

Margaret goes on to say,

Sports coaches will tell you the same thing: Confidence is an outcome. It’s what you get after you’ve done the work, taken the risks, pushed yourself beyond the comfortable, the planned and the knowable. It’s your reward for courage and, if you use it correctly, it will encourage you to take big leaps next time. But it will never offer guarantees, real or imagined.

The question is what comes first here, the chicken or the egg?

Does it take confidence to stretch yourself and move out of your comfort zone or does confidence come from knowing that you took the leap and succeeded?