Do you want to be more self-confident?

By: Steve Marshall Friday October 18, 2019 0 comments Tags: Steve Marshall

By Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall & Associates

There are many success lessons to draw from and success inducing behaviors to emulate. But nothing might be as crucial for success as self-confidence.

A study by the University of Melbourne showed that there's a correlation between advancement at work and self-confidence levels, even self-confidence levels dating back as early as primary school. And confident workers tend to be happy workers that are motivated to achieve higher performance.Steve_Marshall_insideFIXED 

When you feel self-confident, you don't feel the need to bring anyone down; just the opposite, in fact. Therefore, you're more likely to be working in a mutually supportive, inspiring environment.

Maximum self-confidence matters

And yet the levels of self-confidence in the workplace are shockingly low--and we're often our own worst enemy here. Here are seven ways we tend to sabotage our already fragile self-confidence without even realizing it.

1. You Fail to Shut Down the Nuclear Reactor

Self-confidence plummets when we "go nuclear" with our fears and doubts and overreact to the actions of others. Self-confidence problems are often triggered by our perception of what others' conduct says about us.

But there's a good chance their actions don't say anything about you; they're just actions. Be mindful in these instances and stop assuming the worst. Even if it's patently apparent, their behaviors were intended to strike a blow to you, remember that no one defines you but yourself. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

2. You Fail to Mind the Inner-Monologue

Our internal dialogue can either help or hurt us--don't let yours spiral downward into self-negativity. Recognize when this is happening and call it to a halt. At that moment, consider your self-talk as if you were an outsider. Change the tone like you would for a friend that needs support (or that you want to borrow money from).

3. You're Under-Prepared

One of my favorite sayings comes from an unknown author; "Only the well prepared can afford to be spontaneous." Preparation breeds poise. As authors, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval wrote in Grit to Great"When confidence becomes muscle memory, panic is replaced by peak performance."

Go so far as to engage in mental rehearsal. Sports psychologists have made an entire industry out of helping athletes to visualize their success. And knowing you gave it everything you've got is mission-critical. When you don't, it means a crisis of conviction, which is on the path to a crisis of confidence.

4. You Forget That There Are always Drops, It's How You Pick up

An ancient Japanese proverb states, "Fall down 7 times, get up 8." Human nature dictates the occasional crisis of confidence--for everyone. Yes, even Dwayne Johnson, The Rock. Probably. So know it when you're in it. Know that we've all been there. Know that the lows are necessary to experience higher highs. Then pull yourself out by pushing yourself up--into a more positive-minded direction. Draw on your memories of resilience to recover quickly and with authority.

5. You Constantly Seek Approval Instead of Authenticity

When we seek approval, we're seeking external validation, which is an empty victory at best, and elusive and confidence eroding at worst.

Fall in love with your internal qualities, not external accomplishments. Internal validation is what counts and is as sure as your commitment to remain true to yourself, your values, and your beliefs. Self-confidence comes from self-congruency.

6. You "Validate Parking"(Getting Too Comfortable With the Status Quo)

Playing it safe all the time (parking) and not venturing out to try new things can give you the most temporary and false kind of confidence--one born out of merely avoiding failure.  Become uncomfortable with long periods when you're not taking on new challenges. Successful new experiences breed self-confidence. Draw on unswerving faith in your ability to figure things out along the way.

7. You Engage in Beat-Down Behaviors

Self-deprecation is one thing; self-defamation is another. Don't lower others' expectations of you by doing it for them. Talking your self down (or excessively up) both smack of insecurity. 

Avoid making sweeping, negative generalizations about yourself from one isolated incident. Accept your imperfections and focus on potential, not limitations. Please don't feel compelled to mask your mistakes, view them as hard-earned progress towards an even better you. And resist the natural temptation to compare yourself to others--compare only to who you were yesterday.

You also must be cognizant of avoiding beating down others in an attempt to preserve your self-confidence.  Start by taking responsibility for your actions.  The question isn't "who's to blame," but "what's to be done?"

The bottom line is that you'd never want to make someone else that's extraordinary feel ordinary--why should it be any different for you?


As always, you can find all my blog posts from 2013 to the present on my website at

Steve Marshall

About the Author: Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall coaches, consults, and facilitates for clients.

With over 35 years' experience in revenue and organizational development, strategic planning, leadership coordination, and managing change, Steve comes to the table with real-world skills and deep insight.

Steve has led building and capital expansion campaigns at hospitals, colleges, and large non-profit associations. Steve worked for three prominent national consulting firms and for himself in on-site, supervisory and executive capacities. His work has included revenue and organizational development work for national, regional and community projects and involved hospitals, medical centers, educational institutions, national and community-based organizations.

To Steve, living has been all about the experience – lots of them in the military, adrenaline sports, education and the health care world. Coupled with his lifelong curiosity about most things that he doesn’t know, Steve feels uniquely qualified to comment and ask lots of questions. His quest is to make things the best they can be, to see more people tap their untapped potential, and to create workplace environments where all that can happen.

Steve enjoys life to the fullest, with his wife, two children and two Golden Retrievers. He served on numerous boards in Washington and Colorado, assisted in the creation of the Fort Collins Bicycle Retailers Alliance and is thrilled to see Fort Collins become the 4th City in the nation to achieve Platinum designation as a Bicycle Friendly City from the League of American Bicyclists.

See Steve's LinkedIn profile for more details