When faced with difficult situations do you rise to the challenge or raise the white flag of surrender? Are you more like the famed engine from the classic children’s story, The Little Engine That Could, telling yourself, “I think I can, I think I can! I think I can!!”? Or do you find yourself stuck at the station, doubting your abilities to face life’s challenges?
According to the American Psychological Association, self-efficacy is “the confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment.” Self-efficacy plays a big role in our self-image and belief that we can accomplish our life’s goals. It’s the fuel in our engine to make us believe that we can do it, and take the steps to get there.
People with high self-efficacy tend to be highly motivated because they’re focused on positive outcomes, are passionate about their activities, and easily rebound from setbacks. It’s a necessary characteristic for success.
How do you build self-efficacy within? Psychologist Albert Bandura identified 4 key sources of self-efficacy to help you keep your momentum going when facing life’s challenges.
- Mastery. Achieving mastery in a situation influences our perception of our skills and potential. Achieving success builds upon our sense of confidence.
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There’s great value in watching others succeed when facing difficult situations. We believe that, if they can do it, so can we and by imitating their behavior we increase our chances of success when facing similar situations.
- Personal cheerleader. Positive feedback and encouragement from others help us overcome our insecurities and refocus our attention on putting our best effort forward. Who’s your biggest cheerleader?
- Rescue remedy. Our emotional and physical reactions to situations influence how confident we feel about our abilities in different situations. By reducing stress and improving our emotional state we enhance our self-efficacy.
The next time you find yourself doubting your abilities remember the Little Engine That Could, add some high-octane fuel to your tank, and tell yourself, “I KNOW I can, I KNOW I can!”