“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this 2 part post, I will discuss what I have learned about the importance of self-efficacy in my life.

We admire those who have the courage to bet on their own ideas those who, to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, risk going too far as the only way to discover how far they can really go. This applies not only to entrepreneurs, but to everyone. Those who risk going to the edge to achieve an important goal are individuals who have high self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is commonly defined as our belief in our ability to succeed in reaching a specific goal. It’s trusting that we have what it takes to cope with a given situation. In common parlance, it is having a can-do attitude.

Individuals with high self-efficacy are more likely to put a greater effort in achieving specific outcomes; they also attribute any failure to things that are within their control, rather than blaming others or the conditions surrounding them. Most importantly, they are able to recover quicker from setbacks and are, therefore, more likely to succeed in realizing their goals.

Here are a few tips to help you raise your self-efficacy:

Listen to the whispers of those who encourage you.

Whether it’s a partner, a family member, a coach or a newly-found friend, spend more time with these people. They are a gift in your life. A recent University of Exeter study, for example, showed that emotional support and encouragement improves performance in different areas of life including sports performance.

Be vigilant of those who undermine you.

It’s a sad fact that it is easier for others to lower our self-efficacy with criticism, than it is to raise it with encouragement. Therefore, be particularly vigilant of people in whose presence you may feel diminished. You need to be aware of who they are so that you can stay clear of them, if you can, especially before an important event, such as a major presentation, where you need to be at your best performance.

Create a list of individuals who inspire you.

Look for social models of people similar to you accomplishing great things, despite adversities and setbacks. Actively observe these people and derive inspiration from their ability to stick it out through tough times. These people inject us with hope for the future.

Resolve to be an efficacy builder for others in your environment.

This could be a spouse, a child, a constituent, young people starting fresh on their career path or an old friend in a transition phase. When we build others up and see them succeed, something flows over to us. It increases our leadership self-efficacy as we become catalysts for developing others.