Penny Mallory

Penny Mallory

Confidence is not a thing you can hold in your hand. It’s not something you can photograph or get out of your pocket to show someone. As far as I know, you can’t get any from eBay or Amazon.

And no one can give confidence to anyone. It is something you develop inside yourself—but how? Confidence is a concept, an idea, a feeling, a state of mind. It could be described as the “level of faith you have in your ability to succeed” or a quiet inner knowledge that you are capable—feeling secure rather than insecure.

Too little confidence in yourself might prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities. Too much confidence, and you might appear arrogant and believe yourself to be better than others. You can “project” confidence to help you gain credibility, make a good impression on people, help you handle dealing with pressure, and help you to meet your personal and professional challenges head on.

Skill, expertise, knowledge—confidence—are built over time by repeatedly practicing or experiencing a task. It applies to everything: delivering a presentation, running a marathon, losing weight, playing the piano. The same rules apply. So, what deliberate and repeated practice can you start today to build your confidence?

Developing your confidence will start with a conversation that you must have with yourself. You are no longer going to say, “I can’t do this,” or “I will fail,” or “it will all go wrong.” You are going to say to yourself, “I may not be the best at first, but I am going to persevere at this, because I know I will keep improving at this task every time I practice.”

Although you may not be aware of this, we all hold beliefs about ourselves and the world, and then we spend our entire lives looking around for evidence to support those beliefs. So it’s important to remember that every confident or successful person has effectively built up their own evidence (through practice) over time to support their belief that they are capable, skillful, and knowledgeable. That they can do it.

If you had more confidence, can you imagine how you might think and behave?