“I am fearless,” Larry said to me. I was amazed by his self-confidence and it made me contemplate and rethink my own self- confidence. I decided to be more fearless.

Being fearless and confident means you trust your personal power and judgment. True, sometimes good judgment comes from poor judgment but stubbing your toe is only a blip, not a show stopper, for the person who believes in their personal abilities.

There are several components to being confident. Here are a three factors that you can evaluate and decide how they help you put together your package of confidence.

1. Personality. Certain personality types are more confident that other personalities. It is as if they were endowed with almost a cocky self-respect and this built in self-assurance serves them well.

2. Competence. If you don’t have built in self-assurance, absolute competence is the next best quality to have. We expect to be self-confident but we can’t be unless the skill or task has been performed so many times we can do it to a high level of competence – in our sleep. It is easy for us and implies practice, repetition, and persistence.

3. Knowledge. You know your subject so thoroughly that nothing surprises you. You have an intuitive answer for anything colleagues or coworkers can throw at you.

4. Courage. The truly confident have the courage to speak up and give a transparent opinion even if their opinion may be wrong or unpopular. The truly confident will speak the truth as they see it and not wait to give an opinion until they uncover the opinion of the most powerful person in the room.

Confidence vs. Arrogance?

Some attendees in my programs have questioned me about the difference between confidence and arrogance. To me, the difference is being promoted or being shown the door. The truly confident person is promoted.

Here is an example of being shown the door. I worked on a team with a project manager who drew a large salary, was good looking, very self-assured, and self-confident. He didn’t mind taking credit for other people’s work and hogged the spotlight. We’ll call him Phil. In a team meeting, Phil was dancing around some facts he should have known and working hard to blame others for missing his deadline when we were shocked as the CEO looked at him and said, “Phil, you are nothing but a pretty face. You’re fired.”

Phil looked utterly confused. He never suspected that his behaviors were irritating his colleagues. Yes, he was good-looking and self-confident, but he had gotten as far as his good looks could take him. He was forced to clean out his desk that afternoon.

He thought he was exhibiting confidence but he came across as arrogant as he spoke patronizing to employees beneath his pay grade and made fun of coworker’s ideas with sarcastic phrases such as “Wow, what a great idea – NOT!” “That might work – on Mars in 3005.”

He had a habit of strutting into meetings fashionably late and constantly interrupting and interjecting his ideas into conversations – some of which left him standing in left field by himself.

Have you worked with an arrogant person such as this? They think they are being confident but their actions only get them shown the door.

The proud, arrogant and conceited will never lead for long – they may retain a place on the org chart for a time, but their behaviors will catch up with them. Those who draw their confidence from their innate intuitions and personality, from their competence, knowledge and courage will be fearless in their pursuit of excellence and win the promotion every time.

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