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Confidence is just shorthand for feeling safe

Think about this for a minute. Confidence is just shorthand for feeling safe. If I feel safe with you, I’ll speak up and share what’s on my mind. If I feel safe with you, I’ll be okay with making mistakes and being myself. If I feel safe with you, then I’ll look and feel confident.

The 6A Model of Safety is one of many ways to view the concept of self-confidence. This isn’t a growth-stage model, although each element builds off of the next, nor is it a prescriptive framework. It’s simply a way to organize and categorize practice and growth when it comes to confidence. It’s a way of breaking down a big idea into smaller, more bite-sized chunks.

There are two supporting "A" dimensions: Awareness and Application. This honors that all self-development work begins inward, with awareness and understanding, and ends outward, with application and further action. The four core dimensions of the 6A Model, though, are Acceptance, Appreciation, Authenticity, and Assertiveness.

Acceptance is the ability to lean into reality, into what is; it’s an active word that deals as much with letting go as it does with taking clear ownership. Appreciation is the skill of seeing beyond what’s lacking and seeing self-acceptance in a balanced way, finding opportunities for gratitude in reality. Authenticity is the choice to be honest with yourself and others, building on self-appreciation to source value internally instead of only external validation. Assertiveness is simply authenticity in action; it’s a communication style and a practicable skill related to holding respect for self and for others in balance.

These four core dimensions are like four legs of a table. We need all four to be sturdy and stable in our self-confidence. And each of us will have our own unique relationship with them, meaning that one in particular will be more repressed and hidden in daily life. Take this short, 20-question quiz below to get a sense of which dimension of the 6A Model is most undernourished for you. There's no right or wrong here, just an opportunity to foster deeper understanding.

Confidence Quiz: HTML Embed
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