3 Types of Confidence that Contribute to Success

The lack of confidence seems to be at epidemic proportions lately. 

I talk to people daily who struggle with imposter syndrome or 
who don’t feel deserving enough for their dream life or career. 

We see a lot of supposed confidence around us, but is it real? 

The generations who have grown up with the internet have learned to marketing themselves well. 
Often though, the confidence portrayed online doesn’t align with what’s going on internally. 
For example, suicide rates have spiked since social media has been accessible by phone. 

Older generations may feel it difficult to keep up with this visual portrayal of confidence,
(even though they may have more skills and experience)
making them feel like they can’t compete with the grandiose claims of their younger counterparts. 

The lack of confidence among all generations seems to be a unifying complaint. 

I’ve isolated three main types of confidence that contribute to success. 

  • Believing in Who You Are

No matter what your job is, you have value and purpose.  Just being you is enough for you to be loved and understood.  Living a full life is more important than your job.  At the end of life, do you think you'll have wished you'd worked more?  Your job does not define who you are as a human being.  You’re more than that. 

I had to learn this lesson the hard way when health issues sidelined my career for years.  Accepting that I was good enough, even when I couldn’t work, is one of my greatest life achievements. 

  • Believing in What You Can Do

Awareness of your strengths and weaknesses is critical to developing authentic confidence, but confidence ultimately starts with doing.  It’s through the accumulation of successes and failures that we learn and grow and build confidence.  If you’re not gaining confidence as you gain more experience, ask yourself why.  Are you not challenging yourself?  Do you hold onto your failures? Do you define your achievements through legitimate, productive feedback or do you give haters too much credit? 

When pivoting my career from music education to culture consultant and coach, I had to acknowledge, celebrate, and embrace the nonmusical skills I’d built throughout my career.  Taking stock of these skills was a powerful way to combat the unhealthy areas of my competitive streak as a musician. 

  • Believing that You Can Adapt

Committees hire people who are confident they can do the job, even if they have less experience than their counterparts.  Having confidence that you can learn and adapt comes from experience in learning and adapting.  Often, we may be afraid to fail to the point that we don’t try.  Pushing ourselves can be uncomfortable, but that’s how we grow.  Realizing that we can self-correct when we make a mistake also contributes to this type of confidence. 

I remember confidently accepting my first Dixieland gig without any Dixieland performance experience, but I had years of general jazz experience and I knew how to listen critically to recordings.  My risk paid off, and I soon became known as one of the best regional Dixieland performers.  My confidence came from my belief in my ability to learn and adapt, but it was also founded in the recognition of my jazz and listening skills.  


We all have lapses in confidence, but when your confidence is authentic,
seasoned by experience and backed by certain beliefs,
these lapses are fewer and further between. 

Realizing that we need all three kinds of confidence to get there will help you recognize which areas need your attention and work. 

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, get my free guide, “3 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome and Let Yourself Shine!” here:  https://drnancywilliams.com/subscribe

1 comment