Most people lack confidence because they mistakenly think it is a quality only other people have. We see others as having it together, not feeling insecure the way we do. This is a failure of our imagination. We fail to imagine that most people are just the same as us in this respect, with the same foibles and limiting beliefs that we struggle with.
It is true that some people appear more confident than others so let’s first take a look at two basic personality types: INTROVERTS and EXTROVERTS. We often confuse the former with lack of confidence and the latter with having confidence. But the truth is that introversion and extroversion has nothing to do with confidence, it’s simply two different ways of processing information and relating to the world around us.
Extroverts enjoy and need constant contact with people to find validation in themselves; they process information by thinking out loud and they find it easy to chat with other people and are generally comfortable in social gatherings.
Introverts on the other hand need privacy and time to reflect when processing information. They are comfortable with and need solitude and they’re perfectly happy in their own company. They generally prefer one-on-one relationships to large crowds.
At a party the introverts are the people that hang out in the kitchen, talking to the cat, whilst the extroverts are the ones standing in the middle of the dance floor. This may be a gross generalisation but you get the idea.
Incidentally here are some highly successful public people who you may be surprised to learn are self-confessed introverts: Barack Obama, Meryl Streep, Elton John and Lady Gaga.
But there are upsides and downsides to both of these personality types and it is important to understand that one is not necessarily better than the other—just different. On the face of it extroverts may appear to have an advantage, as they seem more comfortable in social situations. But extroversion and introversion exist on a continuum and all of us have elements of both, and with some self-awareness, practice and a small measure of courage an introvert can chose to adopt the qualities of the extrovert.
Which leads me on to confidence; it just comes down to one incredibly simple thing. Having the courage to be comfortable in your own skin. Believing that you are OK and being totally and completely at peace with who you are, making no apologies for being awkward, nervous, excited, loud, soft spoken or whatever… you’re just you. And remember; confidence can be quiet. In fact—a quiet confidence is possibly even more powerful than the opposite.
True confidence will communicate to people around you, not because you have an extraordinary (extrovert) personality, but because you have a unique personality, and because you are genuinely happy with yourself—and there is nothing more attractive than a person who has the integrity and courage to be comfortable in their own skin.
Becoming more confident for a person who is an introvert may involve doing some things differently, and adopt some of the attitudes and strategies of extrovert people. But it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced. It is simple but SIMPLE is not necessarily EASY so you might need a little help.
I run a bespoke coaching program called: How to discover your true self and achieve breakthrough results in business and in life. I work with passionate, ambitious and highly successful people who are very skilled and good at what they are good at—although in some other areas of their lives they lack confidence. And this imbalance prevents them from moving forwards and getting the most out of their talent and passion. I help them build courage and self-believe, which helps them take action, which strengthens confidence; because taking action isn’t just the effect of confidence but also the cause of it.
And remember you do not need to become someone different. All it takes is small adjustments and do some things a little differently and you will soon become different. Although you will still be you, because you are unique and absolutely fine the way you are.