I coach leaders. I'm a pastor and have helped other pastors with leadership issues for a long time now. And one of the most common struggles I see in pastors is the fear of being confident.
A lot of Christians have been taught that humility and confidence are mutually exclusive, or at least that humility renders confidence unnecessary.
When a pastor is confident, he usually gets criticized for it. (And when a pastor is arrogant, he should be criticized for it.)
Other men, in most other professions, get the freedom to be confident without being critiqued quite as harshly over it. Confidence is usually a virtue in the business world. But even in atmospheres where confidence is celebrated, I still see a lot of guys struggling to find it.
Most men tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Bullies are arrogant. What seems like confidence is actually insecurity masquerading as confidence. To keep the focus off of their weaknesses, they're quick to point out the weaknesses of others as well as their own strengths.
- Wimps are afraid of what will happen if they actually become confident. It's easier to live in the land of self-pity, accepting mediocrity and coasting along than to take the risk of being assertive.
- Warriors are truly confident. They know who they are and are at peace with it, so there's no need to put others down, and warriors put their boldness to good use.
There are all kinds of factors that determine which category we land in.
Sometimes it's our childhood, the values we saw modeled and the messaging we heard on repeat.
Our personality certainly plays a role, too. When introverts retreat into seclusion or extroverts run loosely over the feelings of others, things go badly.
And our culture is a heavy-weight in the fight, too. False pictures of masculinity tend to either elevate the bullies as the alpha leaders or treat wimpy-ism as a virtuous path in an age of enlightenment.
Bullies, Humble Yourselves
If you know you're a bully, it's time to do something about it. It's not OK. You need a mindset shift.
You need to realize several things:
- You'll never find peace by stealing the energy of others.
- We all know you're a little kid on inside, so own it for once.
- Your strengths can be extremely valuable for the world around you.
Wimps, Stand Up for Yourself and Others
When you know you're a wimp, you're going to have to get off the sofa and go looking for some trouble.
- The people who failed to raise you to be confident were wrong about you.
- Resenting the bullies, and even the warriors, is getting you nowhere.
- The world needs you to stand up. And you need you to stand up!
Warriors and Warrior-Wannabes, Stay on Track
And what's the track?
How do you emerge from false humility to develop the right kind of confidence while avoiding the opposite extreme of egotism and self-centeredness?
Here's a few pointers.
- Forgive the people who have sold you short.
- Learn who you are and what real manhood is (and isn't).
- Pick a fight. A goal. A cause. Someone who needs a fierce advocate.
- Get a mentor and/or a coach. Work with them on a plan for change.
- Read. Read. Read. Don't like reading? Then listen.
- Die to your self-focused self-pity, which is another form of egotism.
- Make some decisions. Make a tough call.
- Challenge people around you in positive ways.
- Cultivate a big dream.
- Choose honesty, even when it's uncomfortable.
This blog post won't fix all of your problems. And that's why, thankfully, there is plenty of grace to go around for all of us.
You don't have to perfect yourself today, or even this week. It takes time to unlearn some unhealthy patterns of thinking and to learn some healthy ones.
But you'll get there, when you decide to go there.
Come on, man. Be a warrior!
Brandon Cox has been a pastor since he was 19 and has served churches, large and small, including serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church. Currently, he is planting a purpose-driven church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor of pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders as well as a blog about men's issues, a blog about blogging and a blog about social media.
This article originally appeared on boldforgood.com.
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