Lacking confidence is one of the most universal feelings we can experience. No one's immune to it. In fact, quite the contrary. The issue can be so pervasive that most people struggle to ever feel confident. And that's not good at all.

It doesn't help that we live in a society rife with false advertising. When social media only focuses on the perfect, happy, highlight-reel moments of life, it's easy to believe that most people are confident all of the time. Except for you.

Nowhere is this false advertising more heightened than when we think of successful people. We assume that confidence is simply a given once you reach a certain level of wealth, power, or prestige.

This just isn't true. Successful people struggle with confidence issues as much as, if not more than, the average person. Why? Because when you're really successful, you're often stretching beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone and doing things that scare you. And, ultimately, this goes hand-in-hand with self-doubt.

However, the difference is that many successful people are used to dealing with confidence issues, so they're often more prepared to manage them and utilize the tools at their disposal to overcome them. Here are some strategies and tools they use that anyone (like you!) can copy:

Strategy #1: They know why they feel less confident and are able to identify the root cause quickly. 

Most people get tripped up when they are feeling less confident--they don't exactly know why it's happening. But successful people have done the work to know their baggage and can easily see it emerge when their confidence dips. For example, my client Susan knows that her emotional baggage of not being understood means that when someone misunderstands her, her confidence takes a dive. Rather than letting it derail her for hours or for a day, she quickly notices the reason and is able to see that someone's lack of attention has no bearing on her value. She is then able to snap back into her normal confident and energetic self in a matter of 10 minutes. 

Take Action Now: Commit to working with a therapist or career coach that can help you get more familiar with your emotional baggage while also identifying your triggers. Use this language when interviewing people to help you make sure that they offer that expertise. 

Strategy #2: They resist conformity if it means they can't be who they are.

When you become someone you're not in order to fit in, you lose yourself and you lose confidence. Successful people are able to resist conformity. We all know that familiar feeling: a failure means you can't be part of a team or organization, and as a result the desire to be someone you're not is fierce. The more you know who you are and take a stand for that, the more confidently you can walk away from groups or situations where who you are is not valued. 

Take Action Now: Take action to know your Zone of Genius. Read articles, buy books, or hire someone to help you see it and get to know yourself. Doing this now will help you more seamlessly be who you are and resist the places, people, and work situations that aren't a good fit. Nothing will help you become more successful faster than doing this one action.

Strategy #3: They make confidence building a habit.

Successful people know that in order to achieve great things, you have to work hard. That means making confidence building a part of your daily living. It's not something that we're taught, but it can make the difference between letting fear drive your life versus feeling free to tackle obstacles that seem insurmountable. Building confidence is about believing in yourself no matter what and with that, there is often nothing you can't conquer. 


Take Action Now: Start a practice of believing in yourself right now. Pay more attention to the negative messages you're telling yourself. Pick one or two and reverse them. Start saying these positive messages to yourself every day. Once you do this, you will start to believe it. THIS is the essence of building your confidence--ignoring the messages that are wrong and creating the messages to tell yourself that are right. Everyone has value, and if you begin to own yours, confidence will come.

Published on: Oct 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.