How to lead with greater confidence

By Colleen Callander|29 April 2021
How to lead with greater confidence

Have you ever met somebody, either in a social or professional situation, and been in awe of how much confidence they have? Did you then walk away and tell yourself, “she or he was probably born confident”, “they are obviously an extrovert” or “they must be an overachiever”? The truth is none of us are born with confidence.

We all suffer from confidence issues, a lack of self-belief and “imposter syndrome” at different points in our lives either in our personal lives, career, appearance or the way we see ourselves compared to others.

Some of us suffer a lot and some suffer a little, but lack of confidence shows up in even the most seemingly confident people.

I have suffered from confidence issues and self-doubt. Whether that’s been walking into a boardroom of strangers and asking myself, “Should I be here? Am I good enough?”, doing a presentation and wondering if my audience was engaged or meeting new people and wondering if they liked me.

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My evolution from a shy teenager to a confident chief executive has been a long and winding path with many experiences along the way that moved me towards the point where I could approach a boardroom and kill the self-doubt before I stepped through the door, but let’s just say that transformation didn’t happen overnight!

Confidence takes practice. Confidence is a skill not a trait. It is like a muscle and the more you use it the stronger it gets.

Women seem particularly prone to experiencing confidence issues that hold them back.

According to KPMG’s women leadership study:

  • Sixty-seven per cent of women reported they needed support building confidence to feel like they could become leaders.
  • Men not only negotiate pay rises four times more often than women, but they also negotiate harder requesting 30 per cent more than women do.

There are many things we can do to build our confidence. Some of them are just small changes to our mindset and others we have to work on for a bit longer to create new habits.

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I’m going to share six simple things you can do to build on your confidence:

1. Confidence is contagious

Confidence is contagious, just like negativity is contagious. When you surround yourself with other like-minded and confident people, it is like having a massive surge of positivity thrown into your day. Spending time around confident people is likely to rub off on you and help you build your own confidence.

2. Your words become your actions

A single word or sentence has the power to change your mood. It can set off a negative mindset or boost your confidence. It’s important to practise using words that help us build our confidence.

Start telling yourself: “I am kind and helpful, I am great at my job, I am worthy, I am a loyal friend, I can achieve this, I’m going to apply for that promotion, I deserve it.”

Positive language will have a positive impact on your day and on those around you.

Feeling more confident in yourself needs to start with changing the way you speak to yourself, the way you perceive yourself and most importantly the way you treat yourself.

Every day, think about the things that make you unique, special and wonderful.

3. Change your story

The stories we tell ourselves can negatively impact our confidence. Our inner critic is highly judgmental and can leave us feeling miserable and stuck. It can even sabotage our success.

Our inner critic can say things like: I’m going to fail, I feel guilty, I’m underprepared, I don’t fit in, I need more skills or I’m not good enough.

We need to interrupt this story from taking control and create a more empowering story that helps us feel confident to take action.

Change your story – change your life!

4. Go for it!

In life there are always people who’ll tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals and dreams – whether that’s your employer, a teacher, a friend or a family member.

People will try to tell you your goal is too big or crazy, that you’re not ready or that you can’t do it.

Don’t listen to them! People are changing the world every day, despite everyone around them telling them it can’t be done. Go for it!

5. Know your values

When asked about their values, most people don’t know them. Knowing our values is super important if we want to live with confidence. Values support all of our decision-making, both personally and professionally.

Values are the things that are most important in your life – those things that really matter to you. They’re the ideas and beliefs that you deem to be most important in the way you live and work.

Values give us clarity with our decision-making. Living by our values allows us to feel more content, more confident and more in control, because our decisions are in line with our belief system.

6. Step out of your comfort zone

Whether you’re an extrovert, an introvert or somewhere in between, trying something new or stepping outside of your comfort zone can be tough. You are going to be nervous, anxious and maybe even scared (that’s normal).

If you think about the first time you tried something new – whether that be running your first webinar (I know my first one sucked), riding a bike, making your first dress or pitching to your first client – I’m tipping it was pretty awful compared to how it is now you’ve had practice.

This is because the more you do something, the more competent you become, and the more competent you become the more confident you become. Confidence starts with the willingness to try.

Most importantly, confidence starts internally. Its starts with self! Once you start to believe in yourself the magic starts to happen.

Colleen Callander is the author of Leader By Design and a former CEO. She is a renowned business and leadership coach, keynote speaker, board member and ambassador. She is also the founder of Mentor Me, a platform through which Colleen mentors women from all different walks of life.

How to lead with greater confidence
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