As parents, grandparents, teachers and such, we want to teach our children to believe in their own ability to “cause, bring about or make happen” the things they want in their lives – or as Dr. Albert Bandura calls it, self-efficacy. As employers, we want to see this same belief in our workforces. However, is there an expiration date to self-efficacy? As it turns out, there isn’t.
Just recently, in preparation for his 100th birthday, retired Captain Tom Moore of the UK, decided to do his own bit for the National Health Service and raise some money. Having broken his hip 18 months earlier, Capt. Moore took his walker, and set the goal of walking the 82 feet of his brick patio, 100 times. His goal? One thousand British pounds, during the coronavirus pandemic. You probably know the end of the story. His spirit caught the imagination of the world, and he raised the equivalent of $40 million dollars and has become a hero to the nation.
As we work through our responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and all of its attendant shutdowns and lockdowns to control the spread, Facebook is filled with examples of personal efficacy from every age and location. Children feeding the hungry because they see the need, and not questioning their own ability to help. Seniors keeping active creating playgrounds, teaching kids how to read, and contributing their time and talents to solve problems and fulfill needs, all through video chats and social distancing.
We all have this capacity, this belief in our own efficacy, and it changes with the situation. We may feel totally confident in our ability to paint the house, but not in our ability to create a work of art on a painting canvas. We may make a terrific grilled cheese sandwich, but not believe we can pull off a full seven-course, sit-down banquet dinner for 20 guests.
You see, it’s all about our beliefs about who we are and what we can do. Change the beliefs, and you change the way you run your life. Grow your self-efficacy, and you get yourself walking every day to raise money for charity, in the run-up to turning 100 years young. Change the beliefs and there is very little stopping you from fulfilling your dreams.
Build your self-efficacy so you try new things because you believe you can. Efficacy causes us to do more and be more. Life is meant to be lived, not observed from afar. What are you waiting for?