It's all About the Confidence | Professional Academy

Written by Professional Academy Management & Leadership Tutor, Kathryn Knights

Do you ever wonder how other people appear to be so confident and what their secret is? Well, I’ll tell you – it’s their self-belief. Confidence is not based on your actual ability to succeed at something but your belief in your ability to succeed.


Everything you want in life requires risk and the same is true at work. For example, If you want a promotion you'll have to take the risk of having more responsibility than you do now. Confident people are risk takers. They have a strong sense of self that enables them to keep moving forward, despite the challenges they may face.

Think about your life so far, and list the five best or greatest things you've achieved. Perhaps you have led a team to success or made the best sales figures for the year. Now think about how you achieved that success: what risks did you and others take along the way? How did you perceive the risks at the time and how did you overcome any significant ones?

By looking at your answers to those questions you will realise that you have already overcome many risks in your life so far. Taking risks allows us to learn and develop as an individual. Not every risk pays off but if you think about risk constructively you can maximise your successes. Here is a simple process you can use the next time you are faced with a significant risk.

Minimise – always look for ways to reduce risk rather than scrapping ideas altogether. Has the risk you’re currently being faced with been overcome by somebody else before – if so, how did they overcome it?

Support – don’t feel alone when making risk-based decisions or undertaking risky tasks. Speak to your network to gain support for your ideas and to challenge your thinking. Your network will help you keep up your motivation when the going gets tough.

Calculate – once you have minimised the risks and consulted with your network, think about what the potential risks might be and the scale of those risks. Use a 1-5 points system to help you rationalise the impact. If the risk is your dream, then it may be worth going ahead and taking the risk. But don’t risk everything all at once. Speak with your network again to sound out your final decision – they will have your best interests at heart.

What to do when your network changes

When productivity guru Tim Ferriss was asked on a book tour what he would print on a billboard if given the chance he shared a piece of advice he was given as a teenager that can be traced back to motivational speaker, Jim Rohn: "You are the average of the five people you most associate with".

In life there will be changes in the people who you associate with. Some of these will be determined by yourself and some will be out of your control e.g. when your favourite team member moves into a different department or organisation.

We often feel a great sense of loss when great people in our network move on. Keep in mind that no one is indispensible. It might seem a harsh view but it’s true. Rather than dwelling on what could have been think rationally and ask yourself where to go from here. How can you turn a negative into a positive? Is this an opportunity meet a new person who has a new (and better) way of doing things? They could well inject some great ideas and confidence into your world.

Career confidence

Sometimes you can feel that your career isn’t going in the direction you want it to or that it’s progressing too slowly. Rather than quitting, think about what you can change about your current job role to improve the situation. Small improvements can have a big impact on your confidence.

One way to foster your confidence is to have a craftsmen mindset. What skill can you offer the world that is valuable and valuable to the marketplace? How can you cultivate that skill?

It’s also useful to look at people who are successful in the career you have or desire to have. How and why do they inspire you? What can you learn from them? Identify those people as healthy rivals and compete with them to help you make progress.

Invest in you

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. The more you invest in yourself the more valuable you become as an individual and the more your confidence will grow.

Take position action every day:

  • Seek out fulfilling work
  • Be able to say, ‘no’
  • Have a structured morning routine to help you do the first things first
  • Define your values and use those to guide your decision making
  • Eat properly, be active and get enough sleep

If you need further advice, get in touch via LinkedIn.

Professional Academy offer a range of Management & Leadership Training as both bespoke in-company training with the option of accredited CMI qualification pathways and management & leadership qualifications for individuals looking to progress in their management career. Why not contact us today to see if we can help you with your personal development as a manager and a leader?