You may be disappointed by my view of self-confidence.

I taught The Confidence Course back in 2012 and offer confidence coaching to individual clients. Naturally, most participants want to appear less anxious, more self-assured, cool, capable and at ease.

Don’t we all? I know I do.

Most people also want to feel certain and assured and rid themselves of fear and self-doubt. Again, don’t we all wish for that?

Ironically, however, trying to control how others perceive us and how we feel tends to make us more tense, anxious, and distracted, less present and engaged.

Less confident.

So where do we put our focus?

On action.

Action aligned with our values.

In The Confidence Code, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman attempt to define the elusive concept of “confidence” and conclude that confidence is the “characteristic that distinguishes those who imagine from those who do.” Kay and Shipman were encouraged by this concept because “action, we reasoned, is something we are all free to choose.”

This is an empowering mindset – to focus not on looking or feeling confident, but on taking action toward what matters – action that makes our lives fulfilling, workable, and meaningful.

We have more control over our actions than our feelings. And as much as we would like to believe that we can control what others think about us, that’s their business.

There is freedom in this view of confidence: We don’t have to wait to feel a certain way before taking action. We can act, even when we are scared or anxious .We no longer have to trade authenticity for approval.

The icing on the cake? You will likely look and feel more confident after taking action and practicing skills.

This is what confidence looks like:

  • Authenticity
  • Self-acceptance + self-compassion
  • Trusting yourself
  • Doing what’s important
  • Engagement

Confidence is about pulling your time and energy from controlling your feelings and managing perception and putting it into doing what matters. It’s about being your best self and making your life work.

Originally published at