How To Be Confident

How To Be Confident
Carly Jacobs

We were on our third glass of wine when he said it.

‘You know, I didn’t really like you when we first met!’ He smiled as he poured more wine into my glass.

‘Really? Why?’ I asked

He groaned, rolled his eyes and said ‘You were just so… confident!’

I laughed and changed the subject but I was fucking furious. This guy was a work colleague I hadn’t seen in a while and he was in town on business and suggested we catch up. I always thought he was a bit of a laugh so I said yes. It was a mistake I won’t make again because not only did he completely insult me he was also trying to recruit me for his new start-up which basically meant I worked for free for ‘equity’ when he ‘sold it to Facebook for billions’. Oh hell no.

The next day, I went over and over in my head what he meant by the scathing tone in which said ‘confident’. Because if there’s one thing I love, it’s over analysing things.

Here are some thoughts I had about this weird insult.

1. He said it with complete disgust in his voice. Like he was saying I was ‘such a traitor’ or a ‘real cheapskate’. Why did confidence bother him so much? In my experience, it’s a good thing.

2. I’m still as confident as I was the day I met him but apparently, it doesn’t annoy him as much anymore.

3. Why the hell did he tell me this?

4. I’m pretty sure there was a silent ‘for a woman’ at the end of his statement. Insert extra fury here.

5. Fuck him.

I am a naturally confident person but I also have to work at my confidence because of bright sparks like the guy I just mentioned.


1. Be competent

A lack of confidence comes from not really knowing what the hell you’re doing. For instance, confidence played a huge part in starting Smaggle but a lot of work, research and training goes into what I do. My confidence in my own abilities comes from practice and research, not sitting there chanting positive affirmations. You can apply this logic to almost anything in your life. Work, hobbies, family. It’s like preparing for a speech in high school. Your confidence is elevated when you’re totally prepared, you’ve got your notes and you know what you’re talking about. If you didn’t prepare a speech and you phone it in on the day, chances are you’re going to suck. Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? Where the less competent a person is, the more confident they are? It’s bonkers but there’s scientific research that shows this is an actual thing, which is why idiots can achieve extraordinary levels of success simply by believing they’re way more excellent than they are. *cough* TRUMP! *cough*. Competency is the answer, get competent and know what you’re doing.

2. Ask for feedback

Talk to your peers or superiors and ask them what they think your strengths are. Humans are notoriously shit at self-evaluation and you may be amazing at something you didn’t even realise. I once worked with a very shy woman who barely said anything but when she did, it was always to gently steer the conversation away from gossip or people being bitchy. I privately told her how wonderful I thought that was and she blushed for a million years. She didn’t even know she was doing and after I told her that, she started engaging in conversations more and was always this wonderful positive influence on the discussion. Ask people what they appreciate about you and offer the same service in return. We get performance reviews at work, so why not seek them out for your life in general?

3. Get over yourself

Most confidence issues arise because we assume that other people think about us more often than they actually do. Consider how often you think about people who aren’t in your immediate family or you don’t see every day at work. Like high school friends or distant relatives. Unless they text you, call you or pop up on Facebook, I’ll bet good money that you can go a few days without thinking about most of the people in your life. Now reverse that thought and apply it to how often people are thinking about you – almost never. Isn’t that such a freeing thought? If you’re having one of those moments where you feel like everyone thinks you’re an idiot just say this to yourself – ‘No one gives a shit.’ Everyone has far bigger stuff to worry about than what you said at the school gate this morning or that your jeans are a little bit tighter than they used to be.

This week on Straight & Curly, Kelly and I talking about confidence and how you can get more of it… and how you can stop people who try to take it away from you.

I’m curious… how do you feel about your own confidence? Or the confidence of others? I know some people can feel intimidated by confident people but I’m just wondering if confidence is something you admire or something you’re a little scared of?

Extra reading –

Boost Your Confidence Without Looking Like A Dick

How To Be Confident, Not Arrogant

How To Feel More Confident Than You Are

Do you think you’re confident? Why or why not?

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  1. Michaela 4 years ago

    I would say I’m confident in certain areas of my life and less so in others. But I think that’s true for almost everyone.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      Oh definitely. I also think it varies in each person. You could be a confident person who’s really shy too.

  2. Missy D 4 years ago

    Hrm, interesting. I think I’m pretty confident at work… but I’ve been there for seven years! So not only do I know a lot about the industry, I’m also senior enough that I can quickly whip up any comms in a few hours, which might take the more junior members of the team a few days. They often ask how I can do this, but I keep reminding them I didn’t wake up knowing all this one day – it’s just experience and years of learning/making mistakes.

    I also feel that maybe some men really just don’t like WOMEN being confident. I definitely got that vibe from your conversation with the former co-worker. I wonder if he would have even mentioned this if you had been a man?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      That’ll do it! Practice makes perfect! I totally agree, I don’t think men like women being confident. There’s NO way he would have said it to a man.

  3. Jess Carey 4 years ago

    Tip #3 – so simple, most easily forgotten! We all get so caught up in our own shit that we forget everyone else is doing the same!

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