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The attribute of confidence

“When you have a lot of confidence and you feel like nobody can beat you, it’s game over for everyone else." - Jason Day, former world #1 golfer


Defining confidence


The Oxford dictionary definition of confidence is:


The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something


We are looking at confidence in the form of having confidence in yourself, so this definition becomes:


The feeling or belief that one can have faith in oneself or rely on oneself


Confidence as an attribute was referred to in episode 5, by Charlotte Li, co-founder of Toco Swim. She pointed out that, although her and her sister, Olivia, are not fashion designers, they have created their own swimwear products and, without being web developers, have built a website that they can sell their products through. Without trust in themselves, they would not have been able to do these things.



Why is confidence important?


Applying Jason Day’s notion that a confident individual will not be beaten to your career is simple. If you have self-belief, you will be able to attempt things that you might otherwise believe impossible. Or, less drastically, you will at least try things that you ordinarily believe are just out of your reach. Confidence gives you the ability to try where you might fail.


More importantly, if you are incapable of being a confident individual, then success will become much more difficult to attain. Quite in contrast to Jason Day’s comment, Stefon Diggs suggests that:


“If you don’t have any confidence, you’re not going to do anything.”


And I tend to agree with him.


Imposter syndrome is synonymous with a lack of confidence and is a phrase that is very familiar to most people. Up to 70% of people will feel imposter syndrome at some point in their lives, so I imagine that most of you are sympathetic with how restrictive it can be. Even in approaching potential guests for the Success in Finance podcast, I have heard a handful of people mention that “imposter syndrome” leads them to question whether they are worthy of sharing their “success”.


A lack of confidence exposes you to a susceptibility to suffer from imposter syndrome and will sufficiently inhibit you from achieving what you might otherwise achieve.


Without confidence, you will likely be without success.


What does confidence look like?


As Charlotte mentioned in episode 5, a demonstration of confidence is the willingness to do things that you aren’t necessarily qualified to do. This might be designing a website or building a fashion brand.


In your career, this might take the form of asking to lead a client meeting that a more senior team member might usually run. It could be asking for a promotion that you know you deserve, like Tom Steabler, or, as Ian Daly demonstrated, it might be having the self-assurance to set up your own business despite a number of “false starts”.


Every day, successful people across all walks of life have to demonstrate confidence to continue to succeed.


If James Dyson hadn’t persisted with 5,126 prototypes over 15 years, spending his life savings in the process, would he have succeeded?


Would the Smiths ever have formed if the 18 year old Johnny Marr lacked the conviction to knock on Steven Patrick Morrisey’s door, uninvited?


Could Stuart Pearce have drilled home his penalty at Euro 96, having missed such a crucial penalty in the 1990 World Cup if he didn’t have faith in his ability?



Become a confident person


Telling somebody to be confident is easier said than done. However, there are measures that you can take to give yourself the best chance. The first half of the battle is to ensure that you appear confident. The second part is providing yourself with the tools to actually improve the confidence that you have in your own ability to deliver on a task...


  1. Fake it till you make it - I know it’s a cliche but it’s true. Men are apparently much better at putting on their “game face” but, if you put yourself in the positions that you want to be in, doing the things you want to do, you’ll pick things up quickly and become capable. With capability comes confidence…

  2. Become capable - If you have the capability to do something, you are drastically more confident than when you are uncertain of your ability. Therefore, if you want to lead a meeting confidently, make sure that you know the content inside out so you know that you can nail it. If you aspire to be a great public speaker, practice in a safe environment so that when your opportunity to deliver an important presentation arises, you know that you can do it. If it’s a promotion that you are looking for, work hard and take on the responsibilities of the more senior role to justify your request.

  3. Believe in yourself - Of course, believing in yourself is synonymous with confidence, but there is a reason that you are in the situations that may put you out of your comfort zone and cause you to lack confidence. If people ask you to do something, it is generally because they think you can do it better than they can, so stop worrying about your qualifications for the task and focus on what you can do well. Being successful necessitates that you are surrounded by other impressive people, but there is a reason that you are in that room with them - so back yourself!


Confidence grows with experience, but the more you work on it, the more it will be accentuated.



Let me know your thoughts


If you found this article useful, or felt that there was something missing, go ahead and leave a comment!


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