In a student leadership program, one of the most important areas is confidence. Many teens lack self-confidence, but most would agree that confidence is an attribute essential for leaders. It is particularly important for teens to develop confidence, since the teenage years can prove to be especially difficult.
Q. But, how do you acquire confidence?
A. It is developed over time by working on skills, trying new things, and overcoming challenges on the way to success.
In other words, you don’t wait for confidence to appear before you try new things, you try new things and as you master them, you grow in confidence.
The ACT Formula
Just think of the three-letter word ACT, and you will remember what to do to build your confidence.
“A” is for Action
In order to build confidence, it is important to take action. Without action, nothing can get accomplished, and lethargy can take over. Action is required to try new things and take on challenges. Persistence is also necessary because you may need to try something many times before you succeed. Confidence cannot grow without effort, and it develops as you become more proficient at your task.
“C” is for Courage
Courage is sometimes confused with confidence. To clarify, confidence is something you have when you feel certain of the outcome, and courage is what you need in order to continue to act when you don’t know the outcome.
Where can you get courage? There are many ways. Courage can come from the encouragement of other people, from inspirational books, audios or videos, and from creating it within one’s self.
Courage is necessary in order to try things that you are apprehensive about before having developed confidence. Effective leaders use courage to face difficult problems and new challenges.
“T” is for Target
When taking a trip, how do you know when you get there if you don’t know where you are going? The same is true in life. Since in order to be successful and build confidence, you must accomplish, overcome, develop… something, you first need a clear target at which to aim – a vision of what you want the outcome to be.
Then, you have to teach your students to set the goals that will get them to their target. This allows them to have focus and keeps them moving forward. As students continue to advance toward their targets, their confidence will grow.
The three-step ACT formula is an excellent way for teens to learn about gaining confidence. By following the ACT formula, teens will learn how to take action, build courage, and reach targets, and in so doing, develop leadership skills that will make them more successful leaders.