9 Qualities Of Truly Confident People

A friend recently sent me this post from Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at HubSpot about truly confident people and the qualities they have in common. It’s a good read as it makes you think about the people in your life (confident vs potentially cocky) and how you can grow as a person and leader. I encourage you to check out the 9 qualities below (some aren’t as obvious as others) and be sure to check out the full post here.

1. They take a stand not because they think they are always right… but because they are not afraid to be wrong.

Cocky and conceited people tend to take a position and then proclaim, bluster, and totally disregard differing opinions or points of view. Their behavior isn’t a sign of confidence, though; it’s the hallmark of an intellectual bully. Truly confident people don’t mind being proven wrong. They feel finding out what is right is a lot more important than being right.

2. They listen ten times more than they speak.

Bragging is a mask for insecurity. Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming. They already know what they think; they want to know what you think. So they ask open-ended questions that give other people the freedom to be thoughtful and introspective:

3. They duck the spotlight so it shines on others.

Truly confident people don’t care – at least they don’t show it. (Inside they’re proud, as well they should be.) Truly confident people don’t need the glory; they know what they’ve achieved. They don’t need the validation of others, because true validation comes from within. So they stand back and celebrate their accomplishments through others.

4. They freely ask for help.

Confident people are secure enough to admit a weakness. So they often ask others for help, not only because they are secure enough to admit they need help but also because they know that when they seek help they pay the person they ask a huge compliment.

5. They think, “Why not me?”

Many people feel they have to wait: To be promoted, to be hired, to be selected, to be chosen… like the old Hollywood cliché, to somehow be discovered. Truly confident people know that access is almost universal. They can connect with almost anyone through social media. They know they can attract their own funding, create their own products, build their own relationships and networks, choose their own path – they can choose to follow whatever course they wish.

6. They don’t put down other people.

The only comparison a truly confident person makes is to the person she was yesterday – and to the person she hopes to someday become.

7. They aren’t afraid to look silly…

When you’re truly confident, you don’t mind occasionally being in a situation where you aren’t at your best. And oddly enough, people tend to respect you more when you do – not less.)

8. … And they own their mistakes.

Insecurity tends to breed artificiality; confidence breeds sincerity and honesty. That’s why truly confident people admit their mistakes. When you’re truly confident, you don’t mind occasionally “looking bad.” You realize that that when you’re genuine and unpretentious, people don’t laugh at you. They laugh with you.

9. They only seek approval from the people who really matter.

You say you have 10k Twitter followers? Swell. 20k Facebook friends? Cool. But that also pales in comparison to earning the trust and respect of the few people in your life that truly matter. When we earn their trust and respect, no matter where we go or what we try, we do it with true confidence.

What do you think? What would you add to the list?

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Sabrina H. DeLay

Amy, thanks so much for posting. I really enjoyed the read. I think at the core of these 9 qualities are 3 key elements: courage, authenticity and connection. True confidence as summed up in these 9 qualities comes from the courage of being your authentic self and a willingness to recognize and nurture one’s connection with other’s. Check out my recent blog post on courage: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Lauren Modeen

great list, Amy! You pretty much said this in #5, but I’d also add that they take risks – they are confident enough that if things dont work out, they will still be in a position to try something else.

Jeffrey Levy

Great list!

I’d quibble just a little with how #2 and #3 interact with 5. I think it’s critical to listen, but it’s also ok to explain your own thinking. You can be both confident and outgoing – the point is to be sure you’re hearing others’ ideas and reacting to them, per #1.

Similarly, I think #3 misses the mark a little. It’s ok to be in the spotlight, even to enjoy it. To me, the main point is that you freely give away credit. I don’t think it’s a sign of lack of confidence to be willing to stand up and be the “face” of some project you believe in. But you need to easily, and without hesitation, use that platform to praise and acknowledge the people who helped make something happen.

So, looking at #5, sometimes you need to put yourself in the spotlight, asking why shouldn’t you make that presentation or receive that award. But when you do, you need to have gotten there by considering others’ ideas (and changed your own when appropriate) and once there, you need to acknowledge what others did to put you there.