What is confidence?

By Paul Malone

fear, nervous

Well, I gave a workshop on confidence last weekend at the Toastmasters District 76 Annual Conference. And, I will tell you a little secret — I was very nervous!

I loved the look in everyone’s eyes when they realized the presenter of a workshop on confidence wasn’t confident.

But, is that how confidence works? Can someone who is nervous, also be confident?

I came across an interview with Dr. Steven C. Hayes on the Art of Charm podcast.

In this interview, Dr. Hayes pointed out the Latin root of confidence is ‘confidere’, which means full trust in someone. This means that confidence is full trust in yourself that you will be able to achieve a goal.  Confidence is also the trust that you have in your network of colleagues and friends to help you be a success.

But, I don’t think that trusting in yourself and nervousness are mutually exclusive. In fact, nerves and self-doubt can help you. Use your nerves to push you to study, prepare, practice and then practice some more.

If you are not a little nervous before you make a speech or presentation, you should ask yourself why.

I’m not talking about paralyzing fear, but a few butterflies in your stomach will make you double check that you did everything you could to prepare a competent speech.

I like the following definition of confidence:

Confidence is not the absence of fear; confidence is trusting in yourself that you will be able to overcome that fear and do a great job.

In preparing for this conference, I trusted not only in myself that I could do a great job, but I also trusted in my network of friends, who I knew I could count on for their support. My network is amazing!!

Remember, confidence is not the absence of fear; confidence is trusting in yourself that you will overcome the fear and do a great job!

So, go out and take that next step you need to take in your life. Do it scared if you have to, but use that fear to help you build your skills. Trust in yourself that you will do a great job.

That is confidence.

Paul Malone

About the author

Certified World Class Speaking Coach, Paul Malone has lived in Japan for 20 years. He works with Japanese business leaders and startups to excel in their presentations and speeches in English.

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