“You must earn the right to be confident.” – John Wooden
John Wooden, one of the most successful basketball personalities of all time talked about earning the right to be confident. If there was anyone who was justified in being confident, he would certainly be the one.
But how does one earn that right? What can someone do to earn it?
A couple of months ago we talked about the danger of overconfidence. That is not what we are talking about here. Coach Wooden defined confidence as “the knowledge that your preparation is complete, that you have done all things possible to ready yourself and your organizations for the competition, whatever form it comes in.” Pretty powerful stuff.
Let’s break down this definition down in true Wooden fashion.
“...the knowledge that your preparation is complete” – this statement addresses the personal responsibility of the trainer to be prepared. To be a subject matter expert. To have researched, practiced, and perfected your craft. A lot has been done by the trainer before the student even gets to the training.
“...that you have done all things possible to ready yourself and your organizations” – now we go beyond personal preparation and get into the bigger picture. It’s not enough for the teacher to possess the knowledge or the skill. It has to be passed on to the end user – the people who need it the most. This requires that the trainer not only be a subject matter expert on the topic at hand, but an expert in delivering that knowledge to the student. This is often where a disconnect occurs in the training environment. We do not consistently and constantly try to improve our skills as teachers.
“...for the competition, whatever form it comes in” – the brave folks in law enforcement face dangers that are ever-involving and increasing in scope. Training must be realistic, timely, and ongoing in order to be ready for what will be faced. We cannot simply look to the training that was provided last year for material for this year. A true needs assessment must be conducted to ensure the best possible training is provided.
After all this effort, all this time, can the right to be confident be earned. Confidence is a desired trait, but it should not come easily. Put the work in, it’s worth it.