9 Qualities of True Confidence

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. ~Peter T. McIntyre

First things first let me explain what we mean by confidence.  Confidence is not boasting, or showing off, or an overt pretense of courage. Confidence is not some bold or brash air of self-belief directed at others.  Confidence is quiet.  It is a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.  It comes as no surprise that all great leaders share these nine qualities concerning confidence.

1. Take a stand because they are not afraid to be wrong. 

Living with fear stops us taking risks, and if you don't go out on the branch, you're never going to get the best fruit. ~Sarah Parish

Conceited people tend to take a position and then proclaim, bluster, and totally disregard differing opinions or points of view. They just know that they are right.  Truly confident people don’t mind being proven wrong. They want you to convince them.  They believe finding out what is right is a lot more important than being right. And when they’re wrong, they’re secure enough to back down graciously. Truly confident people often admit they’re wrong or don’t have all the answers.

2. Listen ten times more than they speak. 

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. --Bryant H. McGill

Bragging is a mask for insecurity. Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming. They already know what they think; they want to know what you think.  So they ask open-ended questions that give other people the freedom to be thoughtful and introspective. Truly confident people realize they know a lot, but they wish they knew more… and they know the only way to learn more is to listen more.

3. Shine the spotlight on others. 

Step out today not seeking to be in the spotlight but seeking for a spot to light - be a blessing to someone.  ~ Bernard Kelvin Clive

Perhaps it’s true they did a lot of the work, overcame obstacles and turned a collection of individuals into a high performance team.  Truly confident people don’t need the glory; they know what they’ve achieved.  They don’t need the validation of others, because true validation comes from within.  So they stand back and celebrate their accomplishments through others. They stand back and let others shine – a confidence boost that helps those people on the team become truly confident, too.

4. Ask for help. 

Never let your ego get in the way of asking for help….  We have all been helped at a point in our lives. ~ Edmond Mbiaka

Many people feel asking for help is a sign of weakness; implicit in the request is a lack of knowledge, skill, or experience.  Confident people are secure enough to admit a weakness or lack of knowledge. So they often ask others for help, not only because they are secure enough to admit they need help but also because they know that when they seek help they pay the person they ask a huge compliment.  Saying, “Can you help me?” shows tremendous respect for that individual’s expertise and judgment. Otherwise they wouldn't ask.

5. Think, “Why not me?” 

Why oh why tell me why not me.   ~ Enrique Iglesias

Many people feel they have to wait: to be promoted, to be selected, to be chosen... like the old Hollywood cliché, to somehow be discovered.  Truly confident people know that access is almost universal. They know they build their own relationships and networks, choose their own path – they can choose to follow whatever course they wish.  And very quietly, without calling attention to themselves, they go out and do it.

6. Don't put other people down. 

Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up. ~ Michael P. Watson

Generally speaking, the people who like to gossip and speak badly of others do so because they hope by comparison to make themselves look better.  The only comparison a truly confident person makes is to the person they were yesterday – and to the person they hope to become tomorrow.

7. Aren’t afraid to look silly. 

Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up. ~ Thomas Wolfe

Running around in public wearing costumes or pajamas can be done when truly confident and oddly enough, people tend to respect you more when you do – not less.  It shows that you can laugh at yourself …be silly and have FUN!  It shows that you are approachable and you love life. 

8. Own their mistakes. 

Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.  ~ James Altucher

Insecurity tends to breed artificiality.  Confidence breeds sincerity and honesty.  That’s why truly confident people admit their mistakes. When you’re truly confident, you don’t mind occasionally “looking bad.” You realize that that when you’re genuine and unpretentious, people don’t laugh at you…they laugh with you. 

9. Seek approval only from the people who really matter.

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. ~ Confucius

When we earn the trust and respect, no matter where we go or what we try, of the few people in your life that truly matter, we do it with true confidence – because we know the people who truly matter the most are truly behind us.  These few usually also display these nine qualities as confident people attract other confident people. 


Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. ~Roy T. Bennett

These nine qualities are the building blocks to true confidence.  When you look at those leaders that you admire you will see them reflected.  They are building others up while really listening to what they have to say.  They are admitting to the mistakes that they have made and telling you what they learned from them.  In exhibiting these qualities they build better teams and help those they come in contact with.

Are you confident as a leader?  Does your team see you as someone who always has to be right or as a confident leader? Are you displaying all nine of these attributes? Where do you need to improve?  If you want some help developing some techniques to become a confident person please contact me, or sign up for my newsletter, I would be happy to help you build and project true confidence. 

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