What is Confidence?
Confidence is our belief that we can accomplish whatever we set our mind to, the conviction that we own the ability to meet challenges and the willingness to act accordingly to meet and rise to each challenge, ultimately to grow. Grow in value and in experience. Grow our skillset right along with our resilience. Confidence on the other hand, does not mean you don’t have your share of moments where you don’t feel so sure of yourself. Confidence, however, is knowing you’ll handle any situation – no matter what.
With it you can do anything.
Have you ever wondered how some people seem so confident and sure of themselves? They probably have their moments of self-doubt just like any of us. It is important to know confidence is not innate, you build and develop it over time and through your experiences. Knowing what we want and going for it gives us the ability to grow in our confidence. To avoid living in a restricted circle of potential, we have to find ways to gain in our confidence by our own consistent effort and courage to get uncomfortable and take risks despite our fear of failure.
Here’s how we build more of it:
- Speak up.
- Reach out.
- Make the call.
- Send the email.
- Apply for the job.
- Ask for that raise.
- Start your business.
- Take on that project.
- Keep reaching & growing!
Taking these growth steps is not only essential to our success, but not taking enough growth risks may keep us from building confidence or worse, may cause losing it.
Channeling confidence when you need it most is the silver bullet. We have channeled some of today’s most inspiring women, champions in their respective fields, and whose confidence radiates in their every move. We asked them how they channel and own their confidence, their impactful statements will undoubtedly influence and boost your confidence!
Amy Diehl, Ph.D, Chief Information Officer, Wilson College
I learned my strongest life lesson on confidence during my dissertation research on adversity in which I interviewed 26 women executives in higher education. These women were all highly successful, serving in vice president and president positions. But some who had risen to the highest level (president) also seemed to be most insecure–perhaps due to their highly visible, challenging roles or due to life experiences or both. When I need to channel confidence, I think of these women. They feel insecure sometimes. I feel insecure sometimes. They are hard working. I am hard working. They don’t let their insecurity stop them. Neither do I.
Anna V. Eskamani, State of Florida Representative
I think about my Mom who passed away to cancer when I was thirteen years old and all of the women and women of color who came before me. The stress that I experience and moments of self-doubt are not original to me; they’ve been felt by women across the world and experienced by women across generations! And when we place ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors and remember the strength they had and the perseverance they demonstrated it grounds us in being just as brave and just as resilient. It also reminds me to never settle, to trust my gut, and to be myself.
Amanda Goetz, Founder & CEO of House of Wise
Everything is about doing the work (for me that work has been in therapy) to understand how to set boundaries, relieve myself from guilt and realize I’m in control of my happiness and life and self-worth. I no longer let anyone dictate those or have access to me when it drains me. I channel my confidence by knowing my worth and what I want to accomplish and realizing the only thing that can stop me is myself. Societal constructs are meant to be questioned and overthrown. I can be a single mom of 3….I can be a VC backed founder……I can talk about sex and dating……I can own crypto…..there are no more boxes to put us in.
Rebekah Monson, Co-Founder and COO, WhereBy.Us
Confidence is a reward earned from consistently choosing to be true to myself. It is the compound interest paid on my courage. No one can give it to me. My confidence is a living, growing result of all the times I am brave enough to serve my mission and my values despite an outcome. Confidence comes from the bruises and scars of failure as much as from the laurels of success. I can’t have confidence without taking uncomfortable risks. I can’t grow it without constantly deciding who I want to be, and then choosing to do difficult things to become me. So, I practice working against my fragile, fearful ego. I write down my worst fears of failure and edit the story into success. I seek the wisdom of a courageous community of colleagues, mentors, friends, and family who share their experiences and remind me of mine. I plan. I role-play and rehearse. I turn down other opportunities to keep focused. I do the work. And I try to remember why I am choosing the brave, hard thing. In the end, it’s always a simple answer — because it makes me who I am.
Learn More About Rebekah Monson
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Caitlin Hartsell, Associate at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Before I go into a situation where I need to project confidence, I take a few minutes to prepare myself and set a small goal for the situation. If I am at a conference where I have to network, I make a plan to get business cards from at least two different people. If I have a negotiation with opposing counsel, I think through one particular message I want to get across in the conversation. Being prepared and focusing on a goal helps me to feel more confident in situations where I would otherwise be nervous.
Sandra Portocarrero, Ph.D. Candidate, Columbia University
I have developed my own “boost my confidence tool-kit” when I feel insecure. First, I pause and think about where this emotion is coming from. Is it reminding me of how I felt during my childhood? Is it my fear of rejection? After reflecting, I remember the obstacles I have overcome. Writing a paper or presenting at a conference is hard, but it does not seem as hard when comparing it to the hurdles I have endured. Finally, I lean on my friends to remind me of my strengths. My village boosts my confidence when I forget about my power.
Dr. Maria Ilcheva, Assistant Director, Jorge Perez Metropolitan Center, FIU
Confidence is grounded on knowledge and experience, and my ability to project confidence is a product of these two factors. But also, one of the lessons I learned early on in my career was to take time for self-reflection. We often think about the next step, move to the next task, without a break to consider what drives us, what conditions our choices. It is this self-awareness, in combination with knowledge and experience, that allow me to be confident that the decisions I make or the work that I do, no matter how challenging, will ultimately be positive and impactful.
Lawanda Wright-Robinson, SBD Section Chief, Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department
I first recognize that I’m confident not arrogant. I understand the role and the position I’m in is to make a difference with the business community. I learned early on that when I was sent to cover meetings and events it wasn’t just because it was my job but because I was trusted, I belonged there, that I was not afraid to learn or meet new people and to share information. Yes, I was nervous but that didn’t stop me from embarking on new territory. I would enter the room with a simple smile because I didn’t want to come off an unapproachable.
Learn More About Lawanda Wright-Robinson
Monica Skoko Rodríguez, MPH, RN, Executive Director, Miami-Dade County Commission for Women
When in need of confidence, one of the best tools is to think of yourself a year, five years, or ten years ago. You are likely living out dreams and goals you wished to attain and hoped to achieve but haven’t taken the time to enjoy that win, congratulate yourself, and see how far you’ve come. Never forget to give yourself the credit you bestow to others. In addition, don’t let imposter syndrome get the best of you. You are in that room for a reason and let yourself know that you do not ever have to be perfect or know every answer. You are enough as you are.
Jeannette Paulino, Management Consultant
To present my best self for a meeting, a presentation, or a difficult task, I rely on three things: preparation, a support system, and belief in myself. I feel most confident when I have studied the material sufficiently so that I am assertive when I speak. When trepidation consumes me, I count on my cheerleaders – my partner, my brother, my parents, my mentors, and my friends, who empower me with the wisdom I need to keep my head held high. And when I am unable to seek that assurance, I rely on the conviction that I have overcome challenges before, and I whisper to myself, “You’ve gotten this far already. Keep going. You got this.”
Natalia Brown, B.S. Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami
I am only beginning to wade into the deeper waters of self-awareness as a working woman. Many of the spaces I am entering for the first time are loaded with long-standing judgements of what methods are “legitimate” and whose knowledge is more “valuable.” Few days go by where I don’t question my role and my voice. I’ve been prepared for disagreements that get passionate, but no one really prepares you for condescending remarks or personal attacks. Reflecting on these moments continuously helps me to breed my own kind of confidence. I remind myself that I stand on the shoulders of generations who’ve spanned harsh boundaries and built radical partnerships. I also look to the women around me: my mother, colleagues, and community partners. As I carve out my path, I know that I can’t afford to give anything less than the most of myself to create meaningful spaces for those who will take on our positions in the future.
Helen Rankin, Chief Swag Officer, SwagUp
So you’re in a meeting and you suddenly get the rush of “I’m not enough.” It’s a moment we all experience at some point in our careers where we feel like we aren’t smart enough and struggle to push forward. How to channel through those moments and insecurities have always boiled down to one thing and it’s the voice we communicate inside our heads. Most times, in moments of insecurities, it’s our own thoughts that are the most judgmental and hurtful. So when I hear myself being overly critical, I remind myself to be kind. The moment you can ditch the little voice in your head, will be the moment where you unlock a more confident way of thinking.