Confidence is one of those things you can immediately tell about a person.
Confident people look like winners. We assume they’re high status.
Now, there are ways to appear confident. Make eye contact. Stand up straight. Relax.
But ultimately confidence is an inside job.
It’s how you feel about yourself.
The internet is full of confidence-boosting quotes that tell you you’re awesome, never doubt yourself, you’re the best, you’re the queen, don’t compare yourself to anyone, they’re no better than you…
But does that advice really work?
Can you REALLY make yourself more confident by telling yourself you’re the best?
Not in my book.
Authentic confidence requires more than positive affirmations, and here’s how you can achieve it.
Arrogant or Confident?
Personally, I don’t always like confident people.
There’s a fine line between confidence and ego.
People with big egos look confident, but their confidence is built on being better than others.
These people who will only do stuff they’re already good at. They won’t try something they might be bad at, because they don’t want to risk looking like a failure.
Their confidence can’t handle mistakes. Their confidence can’t handle coming in last.
To me, that’s not really confidence.
If you’re genuinely confident, you should feel strong in yourself regardless of what happens to you.
You can make mistakes and use those mistakes to learn and improve.
You can fail at something, regroup, and try again.
You can come in last and not think twice about it, because you know you put yourself out there and gave it your all.
Authentic confidence is not the same as ego.
It’s not affected by awards or accolades or the company you keep.
Authentic confidence feels like solid ground.
You’ve got your feet on the ground, and that ground isn’t shifting. You can count on it to support you.
You still have to do the hard work of keeping yourself upright when the wind hits you and the rain drenches you. You may fall on your ass! But you can trust that the ground will be there to catch you. It’s not going anywhere.
When you’ve got authentic confidence, you can try new things. You can take risks. You can mess up and laugh at yourself. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone.
You’re just showing up every day with an open heart and an open mind, doing what you do, learning and growing along the way.
There are 3 qualities that help you do that.
#1. Trust in yourself.
But self-esteem is not necessary for confidence.
You can feel confident in yourself but still struggle with worthiness.
A lot of confident women struggle with imposter syndrome, but those doubts don’t affect their ability to show up in a confident way on the job.
Authentic confidence requires something different.
It requires the ability to trust yourself.
You’ve got to be able to trust yourself to handle whatever life throws at you.
Life has a way of testing us.
As soon as you feel like your life is in a good place, something unexpected happens, and you’re back in sheer chaos.
If your confidence is based on how well you’re performing, then you’ll lose your confidence the instant life falls apart.
But if your confidence is based on trusting yourself, you know you can handle it. You can find a way through.
You don’t have to know everything. You just have to know how to figure out solutions or ask the right people for help.
Personally, I’ve always struggled with self-esteem, but I don’t struggle with trusting myself.
I’ve lived through so much and survived so much that I know I will be able to cope with whatever life has in store for me next. I may not LIKE it, but I can deal with it.
#2. Know your values.
One of the things that can really knock your confidence is when people tell you that you’re doing everything wrong.
You’re completely crazy. What do you think you’re doing? Who do you think you are? Get back in line.”
As women, we’re really susceptible to those messages, because we like to do everything right.
We absorb the social norms around us. We try to be the “good girl” who fits in and adds value. We don’t want to upset anyone.
Often that means we end up living our lives the way other people expect.
We’re not in alignment with our own values. Maybe we’ve never really given ourselves permission to think about what our values are.
When you’ve done the work to get clear on your personal values—not the values of your community, not the values of your family, not the values of your church, but the values of your heart—you can make better choices for yourself.
You’re not as susceptible to outside influence.
When people put pressure on you to do what they want, you can ask yourself whether that’s in alignment with what you want, and you can stand your ground.
I don’t think it’s possible to have authentic confidence without having a clear sense of what you stand for.
#3. Stay in integrity.
Do you ever let yourself down?
Do you ever say, “I’m going to lose 10 lbs this summer!” then give up when you realize that none of your efforts are making the slightest bit of difference?
We’ve been taught to set audacious goals, to plan our lives out, to expect big things for ourselves.
And then when we can’t reach those goals, we blame ourselves.
We feel like a failure. It’s not even that we’ve failed other people. We’ve failed ourselves.
If that’s your self-talk, it will be really hard to stay confident.
You may look confident on the outside, but on the inside you’re bringing yourself down.
If you’ve got to lose a certain amount of weight, or meet Mr. Right in the next 2 years, or be in your ideal career by the age of 30, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
You’re not allowing for the fact that life often has different plans.
And when you’re not able to meet those goals, your confidence takes a hit.
That can only happen so many times before you stop believing in yourself.
So here’s a suggestion:
Give up goals and set intentions instead.
Set the intention of living life in the most healthful way you can.
Set the intention of connecting with as many amazing people as you can.
Set the intention of honing your career skills as best you can.
Intentions are like directions. They point us where we want to go.
An intention doesn’t care whether we get there in the end. If we take a different route, or we decide we want to go somewhere else, that’s okay. You can always set a new intention.
When you know you can trust yourself to do what you say you’re going to do—you’re going to work on living more healthfully, you’re going to be more open to connection—you feel more confident.
You’re not letting yourself down. You’re standing in your integrity. You’re doing what you said you would do.
You’re not setting unrealistic goals and then beating yourself up when you don’t reach them.
You’re heading towards your destination, knowing that you make a new decision at any time.
You are the captain of your ship and the master of your destiny. Your hands are on the steering wheel.
When you can trust yourself, you know what you stand for, and you’re in integrity, you really can handle anything.
In the end, you may not be the winner of the race, or the best in your field, or the one with all the awards, but who cares?
You’re living life the way YOU want to.
And that’s confidence.