Referring to a past article from Harvard Biz Review – “Stop Underestimating Your Own Influence,” let’s take a look at how we perceive our own influence as it plays out (or not) in the world around us. The article began with, “We persistently underestimate our influence. We don’t suggest ideas to our boss or ask coworkers for help because we fear rejection. So, we wind up missing opportunities because we doubt our own powers of persuasion.”
Is it our powers of persuasion we doubt, or is it our sense of self-efficacy – the ability to cause, bring about, or make happen – that we doubt?
Efficacy, or human agency as it is sometimes referred to in sociology and philosophy, is the capacity or capability of a person to act in any given situation. Self-efficacy simply means our own ability to act in a given situation. What it really comes down to is our belief in our own ability to act, to cause, to make something happen.
Beliefs are powerful things. At the very foundation of our behaviors and actions are the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our abilities. In the subject matter of the Harvard Biz Review tweet, it’s not so much that we underestimate our influence, but we don’t really believe that we actually have influence. We stop ourselves from contributing, because we don’t believe that what we have to say has value.
How often have you had something to say in a meeting or conversation, but stopped yourself before a word escaped your lips, because you didn’t believe you had anything worthwhile to contribute? Self-editing in social situations is one thing; stopping yourself from contributing is quite another.
“People listen to me when I speak, because I have valuable and worthwhile things to say.” When you find yourself holding back, feel free to use this affirmation – this statement of fact – to change your inner belief about you. All of us have worthwhile ideas, creativity and energy to contribute and it is time to genuinely believe it, inside.