How To Be Confident Not Arrogant

In the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with the difference between confidence and arrogance. Usually I err on the side of encouraging people to sell themselves more because Australians are notoriously bad at it but I’ve been on the receiving end of some serious diva/divo behaviour recently and sometimes I think it’s good to take a step back, observe our own behaviour and make sure we aren’t acting like total wankers. I’ve been asked several times how to be confident without being arrogant and it’s a weird topic to cover but I thought I’d give it a crack.

how to be confident

As a business owner, I spend a lot of my personal development time watching entrepreneur keynote speeches at conferences and major events. The key message in the majority of these speeches is a fake-it-till-you-make-it-razzle-dazzle-them-say-yes-and-figure-it-all-out-later mentality and while I love a bit of Tony Robbins fist bumping, it can be damaging to people who already have a fairly strong wanker gene.

For example, I recently had a random guy offer his discounted rate to speak at Little Blog Big – $10,000 a day plus expenses. I didn’t even bother replying to his email. I knew exactly the type of guy he was. He forked over an obscene amount of money for a conference where a charming guy in a suit told him ‘You are WORTH $10,000 a day – all you have to do is DEMAND it!’ and he lapped it up, believed it and started selling himself as a top-tier expert in absolutely nothing.

I know most people aren’t as extreme as that but I think even on a basic level, a healthy dose of realism is needed every now and then, especially in the entrepreneurial world. I want nothing more than everyone to reach their full potential and healthy self-promotion is essential to getting ahead in life. I’m just concerned by the alarming amount of people who constantly seek public validation for not really doing very much.

I try to think about this every time I suffer a disappointment. I don’t love losing but it happens to me often because I work in a creative and competitive field and it comes with the territory. There’s a fine line between being confident enough to strive for your goals and behaving like the world needs to roll out a red carpet for you everywhere you go.

how to be confident

Confidence is entering the competition, working hard and hoping for the best. Arrogance is entering the competition, expecting to win and being genuinely pissed off when someone else takes the grand prize. We can all slip into the land of wankerage accidentally though so here are a few things I like to keep in mind if I’m in danger of turning into a diva…

Never assume that someone knows who are you… unless you’re Oprah.

Just because you like to do something, doesn’t mean you’re good at it.

Self-promotion is awesome, as long as you have something awesome to self-promote.

If you want to create interest, you need to do something interesting.

Aim for the moon but don’t act like a tool if you land amongst the stars.

How are your confidence levels? Are they lacking? Healthy? Or do they occasionally dip into arrogance?

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  1. Bec 7 years ago

    Bahahaha. Gold! Loving the very Australian inclusion of the term wanker and, delightfully, wankerage!

  2. Cilla 7 years ago

    Ugh. So hard. I have to ask for lots of things in my job, and put myself out there. I just ask nicely and work hard and have the attitude that all they can do is say no. Fall down, get up, brush self off and do it all again cheerfully.
    Not about confidence or arrogance but just giving big things a crack.
    It’s harder for women to be confident and assertive without being labelled cocky, arrogant or strident, I must add.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh definitely that’s why I was so specific about what constitutes confidence and arrogance. It’s a very difficult topic to cover because the last thing I want to do is shatter anyone’s confidence but there are some people that need to hear that the universe is around to worship them. x

  3. Wankerage! That’s a thing! I think my confidence levels are about as low as my tolerance for wankarrogance, that is, pretty low! Once again, you’ve totally nailed it!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Thanks love! I’ve got pretty good confidence but that’s only comparative to lots of people with shit confidence. I don’t think I’m a loser when most people do think they’re losers! 😉

  4. That’s food for thought, my vary depending on the time of the month – true story! But I know when to hold them and when to fold them….. (sorry for the ear worm) x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Urgh! That’s going to be stuck in my head for days now!

  5. Johanna 7 years ago

    I so get this. Wankers have more front than Woolworths and you can generally spot them a long way off, but there is a fine dividing ‘best of’ line between brash and confident, I think.

    I’m not generally very confident and I’m always doubting my self worth, so a little bit of fake-it-till-you-make-it has to come into the equation for self preservation. But I agree, being self confident is entering the game, having a go, and being kindly bold – then turning away with resolve to do better next time if you lose a game or two. When I’m with arrogant wankers though it is sometimes fun to take a deep breath, turn on the acting diva, and play them at their own game – just for a laugh!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 7 years ago

      I definitely do a bit of faking until you make it – you have to sometimes to get ahead! – but I’ve just met a lot of big-noters recently and it needed to be said.

  6. Belinda Jacobson 7 years ago

    Absolute Gold! There are so many times that I read your block and think that you should totally have the click to tweet plugin so I could tweet quote you with the nuggets of gold you write such as “Aim for the Moon but don’t act like a tool” or “it can be damaging to people who already have a fairly strong wanker gene”. Cracked me up! x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 7 years ago

      Oh! I’ve been meaning to install a click to tweet plug-in! On my to-do list for today!

  7. Lisa 7 years ago

    haha I grew up the country and you would get shot down in flames if you even so much as hinted as crossing the line over to arrogance. Great post


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