top of page

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

Well, you’re right.

If you think you can, or you think you can’t you’re probably right.

How do I know this? Self-efficacy, my friends.

Self-efficacy is your core belief in your ability to be successful in a given situation.

Self-efficacy is deeper than confidence. Confidence is situational…. I can give a leadership communication lecture, but I’m not so sure I’m going to bring down the house with my karaoke skills.

I like to think of self-efficacy as a bank. We do little things and big things to expand our skills and our knowledge and how we see ourselves. All of these “deposits” add up allowing us to take larger calculated risks and engage in more, new endeavors.

So how do we make these deposits? How do we enhance our self-efficacy? There are 4 routes:

  1. Direct Learning: You learn by doing. You ran the report by yourself for the first time or you successful led the training solo. You walked the walk, my friend. '

  2. Vicarious Experiences: Just as we can learn from doing, we can also learn a lot by watching others. Think about job shadowing and the time we spent observing others when we’re new in a job. Another example? Traveling abroad. Not sure how to buy or redeem that train ticket? Take a step back (literally) and watch someone who does it with ease. Viola!

  3. Social Persuasion: This is a biggie. The way we talk to ourselves (hello, inner monologue anyone?) and to others matters. What? Words matter? Lol. Bear with me for a minute here. Sure, we expect a lot out of ourselves, but do we reach that end goal more quickly if we berate ourselves or call ourselves names? Nope, we might make it across the finish line, but mentally we’ll be limping. Same goes for our communication with others. Formal leaders out there - I strongly encourage you to return to episode 2 for a refresher of “Say this, not that.

  4. Altering Emotional Tendencies: Say what? I know this sounds weird, but it’s really important and can be really helpful. Essentially this fourth source of self-efficacy stems from recognizing your emotional reactions and responses, and then learning to harness those feelings as energizers. I know it’s a tall order. Taking those sweaty palms and transforming that into a positive? While it is a big ask, it is one that (with time) can really help you to move more easily through your life, in and out of potentially stressful situations, with (more) ease.

Until next time, communicate with purpose and

lead with intention.


Looking for more tips?

Join our weekly email list to receive episode recaps, previews, and most importantly, communication-rooted solutions for your everyday workday questions and experiences. Sign up here:


bottom of page