Confidence tempered by realism, is an advantage the strongest leaders share. Winning often requires persistence when your goal appears to be in doubt. Persistence is fueled by confidence. Confidence is the attitude that if you do something, it will make a difference. The strongest leaders have this attitude and they actively nurture it. They are life-long “learners”. They utilize executive coaches (formally and informally), pay attention to what is going on around them and ask questions.

Those with confidence know that when the situation looks unfavorable, the story is not over, even if the great majority of those around them think it is. This is a situation many sports fans have experienced. For example, you are at a football game and your team is down by 10 points with little time left on the clock. You head for the parking lot thinking the outcome is certain. Needless to say, during the walk to the car, the seemingly certain outcome turns dramatically and your team ends up winning.

Certainly there will be occasions when situations (even with persistence) do not go your way. These are the times when confidence needs to be tempered by realism. For example, a one-person operation spends the majority of its time chasing a Fortune 50 client prospect located across the country. While the Fortune 50 prospect probably warrants some time, it may make more sense to reallocate some of that time to pursue higher probability prospects in your backyard. In this case, if you believe in yourself so strongly that you act rashly, confidence can actually make you irrational.

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