“With confidence, you have won before you started.” — Marcus Garvey
We can all agree that confident people are attractive. There is something about them that makes you gravitate toward them. You want to be part of their sphere. You want to trust them. Confidence is a trait we all need in life, but it is especially important when it comes to leadership.
A leader needs to be trustworthy. It is difficult to trust someone who seems so unsure of themselves. As Tony Robbins says, “Lack of confidence can seriously impact your ability to put together a winning team and guide them to achieving your shared goals.”
But what does it mean to be confident? Oxford Languages defines confidence as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.” That means being confident starts with being secure in your own value as a person.
When you know who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, and you can accept both the great things about yourself and all your flaws, you are halfway there. The rest comes with feeling prepared: continuously learning and aiming for growth.
Confident people are generally happy because they feel positive about facing challenges and the people within their sphere of influence. They are able to build better and more productive relationships and are motivated to act to achieve their goals.
They are open to taking calculated risks and are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Because they are self-secured, they can be more genuine in recognizing others’ wins. They are generous with compliments and can accept feedback and criticism, yet still be able to decide for themselves and form their own opinions.
Do those characteristics sound familiar? They are also the same things we look for in leaders, and what most leaders want to achieve for themselves. That’s why confident leaders, who are not arrogant, really shine.
We also hear a lot about humility in leadership. However, it takes a lot of confidence to truly be humble. You need a certain level of self-assurance to be meek. That is why leaders who lack confidence often find it hard to admit mistakes—they think that failures will define them, and humbling themselves becomes scary.
The good news is, as you can learn to be a good leader, you can also learn how to build confidence. So how can you become more confident?
Start by identifying where you lack confidence and what gives you a morale boost. A quick yet honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, your positives, and your insecurities is a good place to start. None of us are perfect; we are all born lacking.
Confidence can be built if we acknowledge the areas where we are lacking and figure out how to make up for them. Is it something you can learn? Is it something you can delegate or entrust to others? Is it something you can overcome with more exposure and experience?
Studying and practicing or training can help a lot in boosting your confidence in most areas. Never underestimate the peace of mind being informed and prepared can bring.
Quit your negative self-talk. It is often easy to feed into our insecurities, and over time, these warped perceptions of the world and ourselves, whether it is something we were taught growing up or something we picked up ourselves along the way, turn into self-limiting beliefs.
One way to counter negative self-talk and thoughts is to replace them with positive ones.
Affirmations may sound silly, but it helps a lot in building ourselves, reducing our emotional and mental stresses, and battling our anxieties, insecurities, and skewed self-limiting beliefs. Giving yourself a pat on the back might feel awkward at first, but getting into the habit of it proves to be effective, not just in boosting self-confidence but also in improving your overall mental health. Plus, you can do it with others too.
It isn’t about suppressing negative thoughts and feelings. Those are inevitable parts of life, and sometimes they are essential for self-preservation. But when we focus only on the bad side of life, it kills our potential to overcome it. Acknowledge the bad, but don’t magnify it. Focus instead on what you can change and control to make it better, or to get past it.
You can also gain control by facing your fears and overcoming them. Easier said than done, I know, but the only way to know that our fears won’t kill us is by surviving through them. And if you think it really is overwhelming, don’t be scared to ask for help. Every time you conquer something you were afraid of, you discover new strengths you possess but didn’t know about.
Lastly, stop comparing yourself to others. Look to others for inspiration, but never use their ruler to measure your worth. We all walk through life at different paces, and we all face (and overcome) challenges others don’t know about.
What you see on social media isn’t the whole picture. It is like looking at a pretty embroidery or cross-stitch piece—when you look behind the scenes, it is a complete mess. And that mess is what they had to navigate to get to where they are. You have your own story. The only valid ruler you can use to measure your success is your own.
If you want to motivate yourself, look to other people. If you want to boost your confidence, look at how far you have come.
Sometimes, our biggest enemy when it comes to confidence is ourselves.
“Conquer yourself, and the whole universe is yours.” —Swami Vivekananda
Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.