Confidence is a valuable trait to have, especially in the workplace. It helps you leverage your strengths, show your expertise, perform well and lead strong teams.
But as Richard Nugent points out in his book Secrets of Confident People, we shouldn’t confuse confidence with arrogance. They are two very different things.
Arrogance is something separate to confidence – it is superficial and ego-driven, and often comes from a deep-rooted place of insecurity. Meanwhile, as Richard writes in the book, ‘true confidence is humble; it helps you to share the limelight with others and is at times vulnerable’. True confidence combines courage, poise, optimism, strength, determination, modesty and self-awareness.
In his book, Richard outlines 50 different techniques for achieving self-confidence. Here is a bite-sized look at four of those strategies for feeling, looking and acting more confident:
1. Be proud of your strengths
We unfortunately live in a culture where we are encouraged to constantly look for the imperfections. This can turn into a vicious and pointless cycle of never feeling good enough. While personal development is important, it’s equally imperative that you accept and love who you are – this includes your strengths, challenges and areas for development.
Confident people are able to look in the mirror and accept themselves for who they are. They can identify their best qualities and feel proud of their place and role within the world and the workplace.
2. Practice positivity
Next time the alarm clock doesn’t go off or the car park is completely full, don’t just assume the world is against you. Take a positive and accepting attitude to events, even at their worst – believe that everything happens as it should. Every challenge is an opportunity and every time you fall down is a chance to pick yourself up. This will lead to greater happiness, determination and focus.
Confident people carry an optimistic presence that makes you want to trust their vision and follow their lead. They have courage to carry through on actions because they are positive about the outcome.
3. Make decisions and follow through on them
Being a strong, assured and effective decision maker is all about using your heart, head and gut. It’s about thinking logically, sticking to your values and trusting your instincts. But it’s important to know that not every decision will produce the result you wanted – it’s about knowing how to act and when to act, and that sometimes the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Confident people are efficient decision makers – they consider the options, make a choice, take action and don’t waste time lamenting when things don’t turn out as expected.
4. Use optimistic ‘towards’ language
Richard describes this technique as using ‘towards’ language when trying to instil influence in your communication. For example, instead of saying “if we lack focus, we will lose” you could say “if we focus, we will win”. This sort of positive spin on your words can make you appear more sure of yourself and will instil confidence in your team.
Confident people are clear about what they want and use concise, simple, direct language to prompt action. They often use positive and resourceful language that is more effective at being influential.
Obviously these are just four of the many different ways you can feel, look and act more confident in a workplace setting. But the important thing to remember is that confidence is a trait that doesn’t always come naturally – it is a way of being that often requires great focus, practice and self-development in your mindset and attitude.