The confidence myth + how to cultivate yours

I was chatting with a friend the other day about a recent talk I’d given where all the stars had aligned.

The audience was receptive and engaged. I felt prepared and energized. And when the talk was over, I got amazing feedback.

I told her what this reaffirmed for me: When I have the right audience in the right room, I’m an exceptional speaker.

My self-assurance gave her pause.

“I need to apply that same kind of confidence to some areas of my life,” she said.

I often see women get in their own way by mistaking confidence for arrogance, especially in themselves. They avoid owning their genius for fear of seeming conceited. They chalk their success up to luck, give others the credit, or worse, act self-deprecating.

But confidence simply isn’t arrogance. At its most basic form, it’s the direction you move when there isn’t proof you will succeed. You trust yourself to do it, whatever “it” may be, despite a lack of substantial evidence. It’s faith in yourself.

It’s worth it, too.

Believing in your abilities opens doors, because others see that you know your strengths and engage you to use them. It also offers encouragement, or perhaps permission, for those around us, like my previously mentioned friend, to feel confident in their talents.

So what do you do, then, if you’ve been suppressing confidence with the misguided belief that it leads to arrogance? I have two steps for you.

Step 1: Know what you want.

The initial barrier to confidence is a lack of purpose. If you don’t have goals, you might feel aimless, discouraged, and insecure. Confidence requires a target.

Want to start a business? Go for a promotion? Make a certain sales goal? Identify an objective that excites you, so you can tap into the skills needed to get there. (If you’re struggling to narrow your focus, coaching might be the answer. I work with clients one-on-one for 12 months to help create measureable goals and intentional roadmaps that ultimately transform lives. Start here.)

Step 2: Have the capacity to deliver.

You need to get rid of the noise that is preventing you from pursuing whatever it is you want. If you find yourself never having time to put in the work, edit to create capacity.

I have a client who wants to chase after her side hustle but keeps filling her day with her other job and obligations. It’s hard for her to feel confident about her side gig when she lacks capacity to nurture it.

Ultimately, trust is gained with time and effort, and trusting yourself is no different. As you set intentions, make space in your life to pursue them, and start taking deliberate steps to get to your target. Your confidence will flourish.

And when it does, own it.

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