What is Confidence, Why is it So Important & How Do You Get Some? Top Ten List

Wealthy people always seem so confident and self assured. Leaders exude a confidence that creates followers. How do they do it? Are they born confident? Is it their upbringing? Their schooling? Why are financially successful people and leaders able to present an image of total self confidence?

  • Self-confidence is a pre-requisite for financial success. It gives you the courage to say things you would not normally say. When you are self-confident you have no problem asking for a raise or quoting a client a fee that might raise their eyebrows. Confidence allows you to say no to someone, even if that no might make that someone unhappy or even angry with you. Confidence allows you to say yes to someone when you are confident you can deliver on a promise.
  • Confidence gives you the courage to do things you would not normally do. That might be to head a committee, join a civic, church or non-profit group, accept a speaking engagement, teach, demand a meeting with someone of importance, push for what you want, enter a business arrangement, start a business, ask a favor.
  • Confidence helps you deal with adversity. Everyone, even the wealthiest individuals, experience adversity in their everyday lives. All adversity creates stress. But confident people are able to handle the stress. One wealthy person told me that when faced with adversity or stress he says to himself over and over: “Water off a Ducks Back”. When I pressed him as to what this actually meant he explained how the feathers of a duck are water proof and that the water just rolls easily off the feathers on their back. He sees adversity and stress as nothing more than water and visualizes it rolling easily off his back. What he really means is that he does not let stress get the best of him. Because he is so confident, he believes he can overcome any adversity or set-back.
  • Confidence changes your behavior and the behavior of those you deal with. And here’s the most important thing: people love confident people. They flock to them like a moth to a flame. Average people cannot get enough of confident people and will follow them, bend to their will, alter their schedules to accommodate them, do favors for them, try to befriend them and generally give them what they want. Confident people usually get what they want. They can move mountains to achieve their objectives and goals, with their tribe of followers doing the heavy lifting. You see, its just plain great to be confident. It breeds financial success.

So how do you increase your confidence?

Let me clear one thing up. You cannot think your way to being confident. Don’t listen to those self-help pundits who advocate thinking as a means to change who or what you are. Thinking you are confident will not make you confident. Gaining confidence requires action-oriented steps. Here are my top ten action-oriented confidence boosters:

1. Engage in public speaking. I have found nothing that boosts one’s confidence more than public speaking. The very thought of saying something in a public forum is so frightening to many people that they will make an effort to never put themselves in such a position. Boy what a mistake that is. Public speaking, by its very act, forces you to overcome a real fear. Anytime we overcome our fears in life through action, its a notch in our confidence belt. And there is no notch quite as large as the notch that is created when you overcome your fear of speaking in public. A friend of mine recently confided in me his fear of public speaking after watching me give a presentation to 125 people. He told me he admired me for having the courage to get up in front of strangers and speak. I mention this because this person was my secret mentor. My admiration for his skills, competence and business acumen is great. I looked up to him for years. I wished I was more like him. And here he was telling me how much he (my mentor) admired me, just because I overcame a fear he had. Understand this; most people who listen to a speaker, deep down, admire them for doing what they cannot do (or will not do). The very act of speaking in itself creates confidence faster than any other confidence booster.

2. Write. Write a blog, article or book. Write on topics you are familiar with. Write on topics that relate to your career or industry. Writing forces you to clarify what you think you know about a something. It forces you to dig deep in understanding an area so you can explain it in your writing. It causes you to second guess your thinking. To question you knowledge. It forces you to be accountable to others who are reading your writing. This accountability requires that you get it right. Writing takes you to another level of understanding what you think you know about something and this makes you more knowledgeable and, thus confident.

3. Join Groups. Join a civic group, networking group, charitable group, non-profit group, industry group. Joining a group forces you to interact with more people on a regular basis. The more you interact with people the more you are exposed to new ideas and concepts. It increases your general knowledge in life. It forces you to deal with diverse personalities and, perhaps new cultures. Whenever you join a group you add to your network of contacts and you experience new things. When we experience new things, it forces us to change and expand our horizons in life. Learning new things increases your knowledge base and grows your confidence.

4. Visualization. I know I said you can’t think your way to confidence and I meant it. However, when coupled with action-oriented confidence booster steps it will put you in the correct state of mind. When you are doing things to increase your confidence (confidence booster action steps) make sure you visualize yourself as a confident person. Visualization only works when accompanied by action.

5. Daily Affirmations. Like visualization, daily affirmations work wonders, but only if you are engaged in a confidence boosting activity such as speaking, writing or networking. Affirmations must be daily, in the present tense and represent the future you. For example: “I am a confident person because I am a professional speaker”.

6. Take on a New Challenging Career-Related Self Improvement Project. A career-related self improvement project is one that will increase your skillets in your area of expertise. It may represent an area you are not that familiar with or an area you are familiar with. It does not matter. Anytime you engage in a self improvement project you learn new things and this boosts your confidence.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice. My old buda-shaped Jesuit philosophy college professor would start our theology class every day by saying the following words: “repetition is knowledge and perfection”. He said it so often that most of us simply ignored it. In one ear, out the other. We never gave it a second thought. But a funny thing happened after I graduated college. I could not forget those words. It was as if they were ingrained in my brain like railroad tracks. It was not until sometime much later in life that I began to think about those words as I became more skilled in my career. Practice, practice, practice when applied to my career made me better and more competent and this translated into more money in my life. The more I practiced things I knew, over and over again, the more confident I grew in myself and what I did for a living. I finally understood what my teacher was saying nearly thirty years after he spoke those words. Practice, practice, practice makes you better at what you do, makes you more confident in what you do and makes you more money in what you do.

8. Fail, Make Mistakes and Get Back on the Horse. Too many people think of failure as a negative thing. Failure has all sorts of negative connotations. We fail, therefore we must not be very good or competent at what we do. Mistakes have the same psychological effect, but in a much smaller scale. Failure and mistakes equals knowledge as long as we learn from them so as to not repeat them. Failures and mistakes are a learning experience and nothing more. Every time you fail or make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up you should congratulate yourself. You just learned, through experience, what not to do. Failure and mistakes grow our knowledge base and make us more confident because we now know what not to do.

9. Teach. There is no better way to really learn something than by having to teach it to someone. Teaching forces you to really understand something so you can explain it to someone else. When you teach you improve our skillets and this gives you more confidence in the subject matter. Teaching will make you more confident about what you know.

10. Read For Career-Related Self-Improvement. Like project confidence booster # 6, reading for career-related self improvement will force you to learn new things and improve your knowledge base. Anytime you increase your knowledge base in your profession, you increase your confidence in what you do.

Tom is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, CLTC (Certified Long-Term Care) and President of Cerefice & Company, the largest CPA firm in Rahway, New Jersey. Tom works with clients helping them manage their money, retirement planning, college savings, life insurance needs, IRAs and qualified plan rollovers with an eye towards maximizing tax benefits and minimizing taxes. Tom is founder of the Rich Habits Institute and author of “Rich Habits”.