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Where Does Confidence Come From?

Businessman in suit smiling

February 9, 2017

By: Ann Marie Kimble

Confidence is undeniably one of the most important qualities for a leader to possess. It’s also an extremely subjective term. We know that we need to be confident in order to gain the trust and respect of others—but how exactly does one obtain and project confidence? In this article, I’ll briefly dissect the origins of confidence to provide a roadmap for you to be a more poised and assertive leader.


If you’ve ever been called out for a factual error or inaccuracy, you know first-hand that a lack of knowledge can put a pin in your confidence. Even if you manage to “fake it until you make it,” you will likely find yourself battling impostor syndrome more so than someone who really knows the ins and outs. Knowledge is essentially a pre-requisite for genuine, unshakeable confidence. It’s not just about what you know, either. Great leaders are also able to identify and learn what they don’t know.


Lead by example, practice what you preach…whichever mantra you choose, let your actions be both conveyers and builders of confidence. When you believe in what you are doing, confidence shines through and radiates to your team, helping to create a positive culture.


You become more skilled with the hours you put in. And as you become more skilled, you become more capable of producing results. Confidence often comes from experiences. Every positive experience you have—at work, at home, and in life—molds who you are and adds to your self-assurance.

Sometimes, you have to learn from your mistakes. Trial and error is a big part of building confidence and can keep you from venturing into the territory of “cocky” or arrogant. Whenever you’re receiving feedback, try to remove the emotions, tone, and even the context—just listen to the words. You can, and should, be both humble and confident at the same time.


Confidence comes much more naturally when you’re passionate about something. Many people who are typically introverted thrive in environments where they’re positioned to share their knowledge and expertise. TED Talks are a great example of how passion almost automatically translates to confidence. The speakers are asked to present not just on topics, but on ideas, processes, and causes that are meaningful to them. The result is an ever-growing and globe-spanning collection of presentations that take motivational speaking to new heights.


Lastly, but most importantly, confidence comes from understanding yourself and being able to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. I found the HTM Master’s Program at SDSU to be a safe arena that allowed me to build confidence and enhance my leadership skills. If you have doubts or are nervous prior to joining the program, you might be relieved to hear that I did, too. But I can say—with complete confidence—that it was one of the best investments I have ever made. To learn more about the HTM Master’s Program, click here.

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