The only limits in life are the ones you make.
That’s why unshakable confidence is what takes you past your comfort zone.
It helps you push boundaries to achieve more, and increase your chances of success.
But confidence isn’t all about striving for more.
In fact, it’s just as much about feeling content with what you already have. And knowing who you are is enough.
Wondering if you embody unshakable confidence?
Here’s how to recognize it in yourself…
1) You accept your fear but try to move through it
I want to start with a little confession.
Because I know this article is about unshakable confidence.
And for sure that makes for a far more empowering headline. But I’m not so sure it totally exists.
Let me explain:
It’s normal for confidence to waver.
We’re all human. So that means we’re all fallible and imperfect.
We can get scared and we can lose our nerve.
So in many ways, it’s totally normal for even the most confident people’s confidence to shake from time to time.
I’d even go as far as to say it’s a good thing.
Because the absence of this humility borders more on arrogance than it does confidence.
Fear can be good at keeping you in check.
And we’re never going to totally get rid of it.
Anyone who says they have is far more likely to be delusional than fearless.
That’s why building your confidence isn’t about stripping away fear, it’s about trying to step through it.
Feeling those butterflies and nerves, but being courageous enough to take action despite them.
Because, as the next point highlights, there’s a really common misconception about confidence.
And that’s that it is something you have rather than something you do.
2) You practice confidence rather than waiting for it to arrive
The more you practice confidence the more confident you become.
Contrary to popular belief it’s not a trait that we’re either born with in spades or not.
And that’s really good news.
Because just as the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz learned to be brave. So too can we.
Confidence is almost like a muscle that you build. It gets stronger the more you work on it.
That means we actually create our own confidence rather than inherit it.
I’ve seen it said that we create confidence through self-belief.
Sure, it’s true that the more we believe in ourselves the more confident we come.
But I can’t help but feel like that’s still an oversimplification.
If someone is lacking in confidence, it’s not very helpful to suggest they just have more faith in themselves.
Because the important question still remains the same:
And personally, I’m keener on practical personal development tips than slogans and well-meant motivational words.
You build your confidence (and your self-belief) through actions like:
- Improving your self-talk
- Challenging yourself to try and do things out of your comfort zone
- Striving to adopt a growth mindset
You can recognize confidence in yourself when you start seeking it, rather than waiting for it to come to you.
So let’s imagine you get asked to speak at a conference.
Rather than instantly accept that voice in your head that says “I can’t do that”, you question that voice.
You strive to build yourself up through your inner dialogue rather than tear yourself down.
Then you say, “oh what the heck, I’ll give it a try”.
Despite not knowing how it will go—whether you’ll suck or if it will be a resounding success.
And finally, no matter what does end up happening, you know it’s all an important part of the process.
This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.
You believe that you are capable of learning, growing, and expanding.
And in many ways, failure is an important part of that too.
3) You show resilience when things don’t go your way
Nobody lives an entirely charmed life.
No matter how much you have, or how blessed you are, life delivers challenges to all of us at some time or another.
Cheery, I know.
So let’s swiftly move on to the more inspiring part.
One of my favorite sayings is the old Japanese proverb:
“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
I love the grit and defiance in this expression. Because resilience really is the secret sauce behind confidence.
Simply because we’re unlikely to get it right the first time. And even if we do, we can’t control all the other elements.
We’ve got to roll with life, and that means rolling with the punches too.
Sometimes life is going to come along and knock you on your ass.
When it does, the only real choices you have is to stay down or get up again and keep going.
I don’t think we give ourselves nearly enough credit for the bravery and courage it takes to do so.
Every job interview that doesn’t go your way. Every heartbreak you suffer. Every loss in life. They all can undoubtedly shake your confidence.
But the irony is that the resilience you show in dusting yourself off is what ultimately builds your confidence back even stronger.
4) You are in touch with your emotions
I suspect some people want to build their confidence in the hopes it will make them impenetrable to pain.
But I don’t think it quite works like that.
Sure confidence does have a certain cushioning effect.
It helps you to keep things in perspective rather than catastrophize.
It gives you the reassurance that you’ll be ok no matter what happens because you can rely on yourself.
But it certainly isn’t a free pass to dodge uncomfortable emotions.
You can be incredibly confident, but still deeply sensitive.
In fact, confident people are often also thoughtful, empathetic, and insightful.
Because building confidence goes hand in hand with building self-awareness.
Feelings can be really messy. So it’s no wonder plenty of people try to avoid feeling them.
It’s a real sign of strength when you seek to understand your own emotions.
When you can accept rather than run from what you’re feeling, it is a sign of your confidence.
You can recognize it when you allow yourself to express your feelings — for example, letting yourself cry.
Or when you allow yourself to feel disappointed instead of pretending it’s all fine.
This awareness of your own emotions also helps you to keep better control over them too.
So confident people are better at keeping their composure in challenging situations.
And importantly, they know how to back down.
5) You can deal with being wrong
Here’s a quick way to tell confidence from cockiness:
Can you back down when you’re in the wrong?
Let’s face it, no one likes to be wrong.
But some people can’t seem to handle it.
Cocky people have built their self-esteem around an image, rather than the foundations of inner self-esteem.
So it pains their ego to dent that image by admitting defeat.
Instead, they seek to defend themselves, blame others or live in denial.
They’ll attack rather than take responsibility.
It takes inner strength to admit when you’ve got something wrong.
That’s why both apologizing and making amends are good signs of your confidence.
It means that your core identity isn’t so easily threatened by a silly mistake or two.
6) You know you’ve got your flaws but you don’t fixate on them
Messing up is inevitable.
But confident people don’t dwell on it. They accept it, and importantly, move on.
If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, I’m willing to bet you’re also more confident.
Because the framework we use to view ourselves and the world is important.
Expect the worst, and it’s more likely to find you.
And I’m not talking about any mysterious law of attraction thing.
It’s more practical than that.
The thoughts we have shape the way we feel. That in turn dictates the way we behave. And that clearly makes a big difference to our circumstances.
Expect the best and it’s more likely to happen because you’re more likely to create it.
You believe it’s coming and so you act accordingly.
It’s all linked.
Your attitude and the mindset you adopt are at the very start of it all. Because it’s what will shape those thoughts.
An optimistic outlook helps you focus on the good.
That doesn’t mean you’re ignorant of your flaws or failings. It just means you’re not focused on them.
You choose to lean into your strengths and reflect on your accomplishments.
To conclude: Confidence is always a work in progress
Everyone has the ability to become confident.
Just like all self-development, I don’t believe there is a finish line where you can say with certainty that your confidence is 100% unshakable.
Getting there is always going to be a journey.
But when you reflect on the parts of yourself that:
- Refused to give up
- Has dared to give something a try
- Can accept you’re only human and know that’s enough
- Strives to do better
Then you’ll realize that your confidence is already far stronger than you probably give yourself credit for.