Confidence matters

We can ‘spot’ confidence in others. But, what does it look like, or feel like? What does someone do to create that impression?! How do we experience it? How do we know?  Many people may look confident but feel very different inside, masking insecurities in some way.

So what is it?

Dictionary definitions include:

  • the qualityof being certain of your abilities.
  • capability to succeed.
  • overcoming life’s ‘ups and downs’.
  • having trustin people, plans, or the future.
  • self-belief rather than a dependence, reliance, even a need, for others’ approval, validation or one’s self esteem.

But, what does that mean?

Here’s a collection of different descriptions.

  • Having a ‘Can do’ or an ‘I can….’ attitude rather than ‘I can’t …’ attitude.
  • Worrying [far] less about failure or the disapproval of others.
  • Trusting/believing in myself.
  • Tolerate uncertainty – not worrying or fearing the unknown.
  • Brave.
  • No fear of failure.
  • Independent thinking.
  • Ability to succeed, overcome.
  • Knowing that whatever life throws at me, I’ll deal with it.
  • Open minded
  • Being able to accept others’ opinions, feedback, critique without anxiety, worry, concern, taking it personally etc.
  • Feeling strong, a sense of inner strength, power, empowerment.
  • OK to be different.
  • I don’t have to be perfect.
  • Willingness to grow, develop, learn, try new things.
  • Accept making mistakes is part of learning, life’s process.
  • Comfortable in my own skin.
  • OK to make a fool of myself.
  • Good at problem solving, and good in a crisis!
  • Taking responsibility and accountability for my actions.
  • Accept when I’m wrong.
  • OK to speak up, present own views, risk being unpopular.

What’s your understanding of confidence? 

Confidence and, or, mentally healthy? Mental health and confidence are intricately connected. Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. Interestingly, the dictionary definitions and people’s descriptions of confidence almost mirror the definition of mental health!

Having, lacking or lost confidence are words on many peoples lips, words which lead to limiting beliefs. “Oh I can’t do that!” before even trying!!

Are we too hooked up on the word confidence perhaps? Many people just get on with things. Is that confidence, or mentally healthy, or both? Do those people think in those terms though?  So do we sometimes overthink, or over worry about being confident rather than considering ourselves mentally healthy?

It’s clear that confidence is a key factor in our mental health and well-being, but are they interchangeable, or even the same thing, given the two definitions?

Yet in reality, fear, the unknown, being unsafe, or not in control, impacts confidence. Things like getting hurt, challenging ourselves or someone, people laughing at us, failing, losing, coming last, not getting the expected exam results, relationship break up, can be factors affecting confidence. Equally, confidence to run a business, be a freelancer, have a job with all the ‘ups and downs’ too is challenging. It’s easy to see how confidence can be effected.


How we regain, find, improve our confidence; how we overcome fear, apprehension, or caution should be done with patience, encouragement, support and time.

  • Take a step back, pause even.
  • Think about what you could do differently.
  • What exactly do you need? Time, training, knowledge, experience, support, encouragement, honesty etc etc
  • Have trusted people around to help you. Friends family, other learners, etc
  • Practice, play, have fun with the ‘problem’.
  • Keep it in perspective, avoid catastrophising.
  • Be kind to yourself. Stop beating yourself up!
  • Speak up, talk, share your concern and how you’d like to proceed.
  • Take realistic, manageable steps forward, size and pace that works for you.
  • Balance that with gently challenging yourself so you move forward and avoid getting stuck.
  • Be courageous; Be brave.
  • Think: will you allow the setback to block you doing what you love?
  • Read inspirational stories; what did/do other people do?
  • Ask others for advice, guidance, ideas etc.
  • Remember, if we had confidence, we can regain it. If we lost it, we can find it again. If we have it, we can develop it.
  • Check body language and posture. Our way of being – how we sit, stand, walk, talk, move etc – reflects ‘confidence’.

The saying “feel the fear and do it anyway” can motivate too. How often have we done what we’re fearful of, to then have a huge smile on our face! Performing that dance, doing that treatment, using that equipment, singing in front of people, returning after an injury or illness.

And remember, if we’ve done something once, we can always do it again.