How to Build Confidence During a Setback

One of the toughest challenges facing automotive leaders is the ability to gain genuine confidence while facing setbacks. I’m not talking about the fake kind of confidence some of us portray only to cover our insecurities. I’m talking about real, genuine self-belief and confidence that we must depend on as Leaders when times are tough.


Here are 5 strategies to quickly and effectively regain your confidence:


1.  Know that setbacks are part of the process: The perception we put on the setback is subjective. It’s as severe or innocent as we believe it to be. More often than not, the setback is minor. Even the best Leaders in the world face setbacks.  The difference is in the way they frame it. They remove the victim mentality and view it as a learning opportunity. It’s about what’s happening for them, not to them. Take a few minutes and consider what you can learn from this setback.

2.  Recognize your progression: With nearly every performance metric in the automotive industry being quantitative it’s easy to get caught up in underperformance if we don’t hit a specific number.  This often overshadows the underlying progress that we’re making. When we’re instilling the right habits, routines, effort, and attitude, the results we are seeking will soon follow.  Even though at times they don’t happen as fast or consistently as we want them to doesn’t mean we aren’t successful. At the end of each day, week, and/or month, write out 1 thing that you’re most proud of and celebrate it!

3.  Stop comparing yourself to the competition: It’s easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to other dealers. Unfortunately, this is the fastest way to give your self-confidence a beat down. If we simply focus on becoming better than we were yesterday, we can shift our focus to a healthier self-competition instead of an unhealthy external competitor. There will always be dealers who sell more than you or have a better marketing campaign. If you want to shred every ounce of confidence you have, always compare yourself to others.  Or, to continuously amplify your confidence, you could focus on being better than you were yesterday – as a leader, as a spouse, as a parent, or as a business person.

4.  Daily Preparation: Preparation breeds confidence. Your outcomes are a direct result of the level of preparation you have.  If you were to take a 30,000 foot view of the setback you’re currently going through, there’s a good chance that it started with a lack of preparation.  It could be how well prepared you for that meeting with your team member, or the historically slow month or quarter of the year, or how you show up to the dealership on a consistent basis.  To be well-prepared all starts with an effective morning routine because this helps provide clarity, motivation, intention, and purpose for each day which all contribute to how you show up and the level of confidence you bring with you. What does your current morning routine look like and how disciplined are you with implementing it?

5.  Reach into your Jar of Awesomeness: We’ve all had moments that we’re proud of in the past.  The challenge lies in recognizing and extracting confidence from these moments when we get stuck in a setback.  Imagine a mason jar filled with small ripped up pieces of paper that each share a quick story of past moments that you’re most proud of.  It could be big or small. It could be nationally recognized or not. It could be from when you volunteered your time, donated to charity, mentored a colleague, held yourself accountable to achieving a goal that only you knew about, or the consistent effort you put in every day towards personal and professional development. Whatever those small pieces of notes are in your Jar of Awesomeness, be sure to reach in, pull them out and read them every once in a while to quickly rebuild your self-belief and confidence. 


Be sure to share this with your team because there is no doubt they face the same issues.  

You got this!


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