Humility and Confidence: Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Growing up, many of us were taught to be humble. Don’t talk about yourself, it isn’t attractive. Just work hard and you’ll be rewarded. You don’t want to appear too aggressive, dear.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that a lot of us feel that we can’t be both confident and humble. Because people often equate confidence with showing off or boasting. But that’s not what confidence is at all. Confidence is belief in your abilities. Knowing that you can get the job done. Recognizing and understanding your strengths and using them.

Now, we all know that special someone at work who is overly confident in themselves and wants everyone to hear just how fantastic they are, so they vocalize it vehemently. But believing in one’s abilities doesn’t have to translate to self-aggrandizing behavior. I know that I am good at what I do for a living, but I still recognize my flaws, remain eager to learn, show respect, and have a self-effacing and unpretentious attitude. You don’t have to spend time telling people how great you are at your job if the proof is in your approach to it, the way you prepare, and how you treat others. I say thank you. I acknowledge effort. I share my opinion and speak with candor, but I don’t bully or bulldoze. I encourage others to be more visible and have a voice. Those are the things that can make you appear and feel confident. I’m not shy or timid, but I am modest. I know my strengths and leverage them, but I don’t need to carry on about them.

So, it’s possible to share your knowledge and do it with conviction and grace, without grandstanding. Humility is not weakness. Some of the most courageous people are unassuming yet confident in their delivery. I think of Bren Brown as a great role model. If you haven’t yet watched any of her TED talks, get on it.

I encourage you to think differently about confidence and humility. How can they co-exist for you?

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

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