The Key to Mastering Unshakeable Confidence

Goal Setting in the New Year

Unshakeable confidence is that moment when you are so sure of something, nothing can negatively impact your ability to make a decision or become the person you want to be. But, is it really possible? Even the most accomplished leaders have moments when they doubt themselves – when confidence eludes them. With practice, and a few tips and tricks, we all can learn to be better at it.  

We’ve all seen TED Talks or been to conferences where speakers seem to exude the power to captivate us and hold our attention, so much so that we’d buy anything they are selling. But, if you thought that ability to motivate us and inspire us, came naturally to them, you’d likely be wrong. Building seemingly “unshakeable” self-confidence takes practice and deliberation. And, it takes believing in yourself!

Having unshakeable confidence allows us to rise up and reach our true potential. And, I know for many, it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. However, I guarantee that the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Believing in yourself requires a change in mindset – consciously choosing to be more confident. It comes from within, not from what you have achieved in the past, but from what you see yourself achieving in the future. 

Nelson Mandela said confidence is about “Living life as though nobody is watching, and expressing yourself as though everyone is listening”. So, if that’s all it takes, why do so many of us struggle with it and feel like “imposters”?

I was asked recently to help a high-potential young leader who was an otherwise phenomenal performer, help build greater confidence in himself. I started by asking him why he thought he lacked confidence, and he told me that he just didn’t feel as “qualified” or as “experienced” as some of his colleagues. This made him uncomfortable speaking up in meetings and presenting to small groups because he didn’t think he was “worthy”. So we did “a thing”.  

First, we watched and critiqued a video of a colleague making a presentation whom he believed displayed a very confident manner. I asked him what he thought gave this colleague such confidence, and he said that he seemed to really know his subject manner and shared this knowledge like an expert.  

I then asked him, if he was well-prepared on a subject that he knew well, if the audience was “friendly” (ie. made up of people who were supportive), did he think he could make a similar presentation. After thinking about it, he agreed he thought he could. So, we chose a subject he was well versed in, that would be of interest to an audience and prepared a short presentation. He then practiced it until he really knew the material.  

Once he was prepared, we assembled a “test” group of colleagues that he could present to.  The result – the feedback from the group was very positive. They stated that he seemed much more confident than they had seen him in past presentations. Hooray, a small win! So, over the next several months, we tried similar things, to help him continue to build his confidence level.

Here are just a few of the things we tried, that may be helpful to you, in building a greater belief in YOU:

  1. Practice positive self-talk- Start out by simply stating things like “I believe in me”, “I can do this!” and repeat these positive affirmations as often as possible, to break that habit of doubting yourself.
  2. Envision your future self: What would it look like if you had greater confidence? How would you show up? What would your demeanor be
  3. Know your subject matter: Reflect on your accomplishments (things that have made you proud or were recognized for) and use these to strengthen your self-confidence. Keep a list handy to remind you of who you really are!
  4. Practice, practice, practice! Repetition is a good thing, and the more practice you have, the more confident you will feel!
  5. Celebrate small wins: Start small, with a small group of supporters. Practice speaking up in meetings when you have something to say and when you get positive affirmation, write these down as examples of your capabilities! 
  6. Be physically prepared! Show up as your “best” self.  Be well-rested and try not to slouch so you “appear” more confident.

Even the most seemingly confident people feel anxious at times.  But if you believe in yourself, and trust yourself, then your confidence can grow to be “unshakeable”!

Self-confidence can be learned, perfected, and mastered.  To learn more, contact Patty Prosser, Coaching Practice Leader, The Center for Leadership Excellence, at or 317-727-6464.

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