Step on to the playground and listen. As tensions rise, you just might hear a preschooler or perhaps a kindergartener squeal, “My dad can do anything!”
Flash back to 1946 and hear the battle of the sexes put to music as Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton perform “Anything You Can Do” in Annie Get Your Gun.
Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.
However, the battle for many is not whether their super hero can do something or even the competitive nature of “I can do better.” The conflict focuses on the measure of their ability to get it done and reach their goals.
I think I can, I think I can
In Demolition Friend I wrote about moving from your “Comfort Zone” into the “Safety Zone.” High performers exit the place of a non-threatening life of status quo thinking, behavior and low performance marching into new territory. While they calculate the risk, they go for it.
To exit the comfort zone requires self-efficacy, that “can do” way of thinking. What you believe about your ability and how much you trust yourself determines whether you take the exit or stay put.
It’s not all about the job
Leadership development originates with you understanding you. Attaining the skills to “do the job” is the easy part. Self-managed leaders and high performance teams enjoy positive self-efficacy.
What you expect matters.
Self-efficacy theory suggests that personal mastery expectations highly influence behavior change. What you believe matters, too. I think I can, I think I can.
When it comes to changing unproductive behavior or implementing a new approach the question is: Do you believe you can successfully perform the behavior in question?
According to Bandura (1977), expectations of self-efficacy are the most powerful determinants of behavioral change because self-efficacy expectancies determine the initial decision to perform a behavior, the effort expended, and persistence in the face of adversity.
In another study Tabernero and Wood (2012) found
Self-efficacy beliefs contribute to explaining the range of difficulty people consider feasible to attempt when initial performance is controlled. Individuals with high self-efficacy chose tasks that maximized their learningopportunities.
Whether you decide to leave your comfort zone or not hinges on what you believe you can do.
Insight into you
Research done by Schyns and Collani (2002) provides these eight statements to help you evaluate your “Occupational Self-Efficacy.”
(Rate yourself with 1 = not at all true, 6 = completely true.)
- Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know how to handle unforeseen situations in my job.
- If I am in trouble at my work, I can usually think of something to do.
- I can remain calm when facing difficulties in my job because I can rely on my abilities.
- When I am confronted with a problem in my job, I can usually find several solutions.
- No matter what comes my way in my job, I’m usually able to handle it.
- My past experiences in my job have prepared me well for my occupational future.
- I meet the goals that I set for myself in my job.
- I feel prepared to meet most of the demands in my job.
Hello Safety Zone
Does your self-efficacy need a boost? If so, here are two simple exercises to help you out. With journal in hand…
1. Rehearse your successes.
You may find it helpful to explore your story using this approach: Divide your life into three seasons. (For example, if you are 36 years old, review ages 1-13 | 14-26 | 27-36.) Now, write at least 3 successes from each season.
Reflect often (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) on those successes when you moved from “I think I can” to “I thought I could.”
2. Read the Stories of others.
Discover people who decided to “go for it;” they left their comfort zone, stepped into their safety zone and moved forward.
It’s not about your “super hero” or whether you can do it “better” than him/her. The question is whether you believe you can do what is in front of you.
Here’s to your next level…