There’s confidence and there’s quiet confidence that commands respect. They’re not always one and the same.
This isn’t to say that one is better than the other, this is to say that there are differences. And it just goes to show that there are shades to confidence.
One can choose to be outgoing and one can choose to be reserved.
Someone can choose to be the kind of confident that wants to stand alone, yet someone can also choose to be the kind of confident that can lead others.
Interesting, isn’t it? Today, however, we’ll focus on the kind of quiet confidence that commands respect.
Here are 12 signs that it might be your brand of confidence.
1) You have a calm aura
You have the kind of aura that calms people. You have the kind of energy of someone who seems to have things in order.
Other people can see that you have the situation—any situation—under control.
This flocks people to you. Loud confidence has a certain magnetism, sure, but quiet confidence does, too.
People feel safe in your presence, they are comforted with you there.
2) You don’t gatekeep your knowledge
You believe in the power of collaboration and community, you know that there is strength in numbers.
And because of this, you’re generous with your knowledge and skills.
You are not threatened by what others could improve upon what you already made or already know. You probably encourage innovation.
In a paywalled world, you’re a breath of fresh air.
A disclaimer on monetizing your knowledge
Disclaimer: I’m all for people getting their checks for their expertise. In this economy, Mary? Of course, go get your coin.
Still, it’s prudent to mention how refreshing it is to find someone who shares their knowledge freely. Not everyone can do it and not everyone would be willing.
3) You’re open to being corrected
When you collaborate, you mean it. You’re open to being corrected because you understand that you can be wrong.
Look back if you’ve had people in your life, people of authority, who bristled at being corrected.
Those people who’ve made it as though their word was law, that they can’t possibly be wrong.
I personally could name a good handful. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
That doesn’t inspire confidence much, doesn’t it? At best, it evokes annoyance, at worst, it instills fear.
A note on being corrected
There’s a bigger conversation to be had about this idea that being wrong with one thing suddenly negates your previous contributions.
I think that’s why being corrected feels burdensome for a lot of people, especially for those who value their intellect.
I think that’s why a lot of us get shaken by the idea of being wrong, or that we become anxious over it.
However, there’s more to gain in being open to corrections, there’s more to learn that way.
4) You have a strong sense of self
You know who you are. You are not swayed by trends or hearsay, you know exactly who you are and what you’re worth.
You know what you deserve. You know your strengths and weaknesses, your abilities and limitations. You use them to your advantage.
And it’s not easy to influence you, peer pressure rarely works on you either, if at all. You are secure in your identity and the decisions you make are rooted in that.
And even if you don’t say anything, people see this. They are aware.
Perhaps, you might have even inspired some to follow your lead.
5) You’re humble
People respect your brand of confidence because you do not boast, and you do not talk big without being able to back it up.
You’re humble and your achievements do not inflate your ego. Your work speaks for itself, you don’t need to parade it.
In a way, it’s because you don’t need to prove yourself to anybody else.
A note on celebrating wins
As much as humility is a good trait to have, it’s also important to celebrate your wins.
Give credit where it is due, so to speak.
It is not egotistical to feel good about what you have fairly achieved. You are allowed your wins, you are allowed to feel good about them.
Give yourself the recognition you deserve.
6) You don’t panic
You stay calm during times of distress, you’re not the type to panic.
This could be because you know you have things under control, or this could be because you know you’ll be okay with whatever outcome happens.
You’re confident that you’ll survive come what may. (A very enviable trait, personally speaking.)
People around you respect this about you.
7) You’re not fazed by failure
What is failure if not another chance to learn? You know this, you live by it.
Not everyone does.
You’re truly the type who gets excited at failing better. Since your self-worth is not based on looking perfect, failing doesn’t really bother you.
A note on failing well and being given chances to get it right
There’s a bigger and more nuanced conversation to be had about failure. The fear of it is so tightly woven into the fabric of our society.
It’s seen in academic and professional spaces. It’s even seen in our family homes. It could even be cultural and part of tradition, some homes stricter than others.
Winning is so revered (and it does make sense) and failure is given such a negative connotation. And I’m not here trying to glorify it, just attempting to shed some shame.
Very few of us learn its merits, but those who do get to make full use of all they’ve learned.
Sure, winning feels great, but failure teaches us the value of persistence, adaptability, and humility.
8) You’re impartial
You don’t give anybody any special treatment.
This might ruffle the feathers of those who want to be given preferential treatment, but for most people, being impartial is more admirable.
Everybody is equal in your eyes. You’re the type to question the status quo, even if the status quo serves you.
9) You are what you preach
You talk the talk and walk the walk, this cliché totally got this right about you.
You’re true to your word. You keep promises and you’re also aligned with your values and beliefs.
People have learned to trust your word. Time and time again, you’ve shown that you’re reliable.
You need no words to proclaim your reliability, your actions have made that clear. This has instilled confidence in those who have witnessed it.
10) You admit to your imperfections
Confidence does not make you infallible, it doesn’t make you untouchable, nor does it make you omnipotent.
I think a lot of people forget this.
I have encountered people whose brand of confidence is rooted in thinking they are perfect, or looking perfect, or seeming perfect.
And I get it, perfection is alluring, but quiet confidence is not rooted in perfection.
Instead, it’s rooted in the very human quality we all share, which is imperfection.
Respect is earned in the space it takes to admit to that humanness. Perfection is difficult to let go of, after all.
11) You don’t seek validation and approval
Other people’s opinions don’t shake you. Compliments don’t get to your head nor are they the driving force in your life.
You look upon criticisms objectively but they don’t make you crumble.
You form your own decisions based on your own opinions and due diligence. Other people’s input is, once again, taken objectively.
Validation and approval from others do not motivate you. In the same breath, their criticisms also don’t bring you down.
12) You don’t shy away from vulnerability
“What’s vulnerability got to do with confidence?” you might ask.
Well, let me tell you. Confidence is not only anchored by the belief that things will go well. It is also anchored by the possibility that it might not.
And that that is okay.
There is a type of vulnerability that’s unique to confidence, one that is defined by the willingness to be wrong.
It’s what sets confidence and arrogance apart. Arrogance is thinking you will never get it wrong and confidence is knowing you will be okay even if it does.
A final note on quiet confidence and what to remember if this list didn’t resonate
First, if this list did resonate and you just needed the reminder that you’re doing well, then I hope you found it.
And if this list didn’t resonate all throughout, fret not. It could just mean that “quiet” is not your brand of confidence.
Or not yet.
Confidence, after all, is not a linear experience for all of us. Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.
So for those still on this journey, let me say this:
And at the end of the day, these 12 signs could be standalone traits. Good things in their own right.
Humility. Vulnerability. Being impartial. Staying calm in moments of panic. All this can be learned, all can exist individually.
There is no rush. There is no panic to be had.
This isn’t a package deal either, you can take what resonates the most and start there.
And if reading this list made you realize that quiet is not your brand of confidence, then that’s okay. You don’t need that to learn these traits.
Perhaps the kind of confidence you have is one that demands an audience. And that? That’s valid, too.
And while this article did talk about being able to command respect, that should be a minor motivation for your pursuit of confidence as well. Like #11 on this list, outside opinion should be looked at objectively.
That’s why, above all else, be confident for yourself and let everything else be secondary.
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