Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

George Herbert, “Proverbs” in The Complete English Works, 275

If your confidence exceeds your skill, you’re overconfident. My parents tried to dissuade me from spending my hard-earned money on a carnival game. It looked super easy. Throw the ball at the stacked bottles. Knock them all down, win a prize. You get three tries. The setup was only a few feet from the counter. Who could miss? I did. All three tries. It was humiliating.

If your skill exceeds your confidence, you may be nearly paralyzed by fear. I used to work as a nurse in surgery. I’ve lost count of the times I was worried that my skill level was inadequate for a particular operation with a particular surgeon. Yet, it was there. I had to believe my leaders when they told me I could do it. I certainly didn’t feel like I could.

Skill plus confidence is the sweet spot. Leaders who can help you judge your level are super helpful. No wise leader wants to puff up incompetence. Nor should they allow their skilled staff to listen to their worries.