Most of us see confidence as an absolute. You have it or you don’t, right? Las Vegas-based internet marketer Suzanne Vara offers a different interpretation. Instead of seeing confidence as a fixed object, she explores the difference between inner and outer confidence and, more importantly, how to cultivate each type.
The Difference Between Inner and Outer Confidence
This is where things get confusing. If I asked you to define confidence, and then asked your colleague, and then your children… you’d all give different examples.
[Here is the video from Suzanne – her blog post is called The Entire Package]
If you watch a salesperson in action, ‘confidence’ seems like an ‘act’ or performance of some sort. It looks artificial and doesn’t ring true. At least not usually.
Whereas ‘confidence’ for a sports star is often determined by their current performance. When things change, they lose their confidence. Which begs the question: were they really confident in the first place?
The Difference Between Confidence and Bravado
Let’s step back a moment. If I’m honest, I like black and white answers. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. And this is one of the reasons why defining ‘confidence’ is so difficult.
The more you examine it, the harder it is to produce one definition that works across all scenarios.
And this is the point Suzanne makes on her blog.
Instead of seeing confidence as an external act – such as bravado, Dutch courage, faking it til you make it – look for areas where you feel confident internally.
- I’m not confident speaking in public.
- I’m not confident parallel parking.
- I’m not confident cooking.
- I am confident working with others on a one-to-one basis.
- I am confident working to tight deadlines. I’ve developed a nice workflow and get things done on time.
- I’m confident baking.
You’d get very fat if you lived with me. My pies are pretty tasty especially with lashings of cream!
What’s going on here?
Recognizing Inner Confidence
One way to do this is identify areas where one has Inner Confidence and then build upon it, for example:
Inner Confidence is how we view our own abilities
Outer Confidence is how others judge us
AND how we let this affect our self-image. In other words, the opinion of others determines how we value our own efforts.
Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’
Developing Inner Confidence
One suggestion given to me by a good friend was to, ‘do the things that make you feel strong.’
They meant to absorb yourself in those small, un-championed activities that make you feel good in yourself and see them as the seeds from which greater things will grow.
For example, I’m a fairly tidy person. Too tidy some would say. So, one way I use this is to help others put a little structure on things – in a way that doesn’t preach to them or make them feel inferior.
They can do things I can’t – and I can do things they can’t.
We all have our respective strengths. And I’m sure you’re the same.
The difference is that when you do these things – that should make you feel more confident – you take them for granted. Or dismiss it, ‘Oh, that was nothing! Anyone could do it.’
But they couldn’t. Give yourself the credit you deserve. It all starts from there.
PS – I’m sure you have some ideas on this, please share them below.